It seemed they did just about everything right: they played aggressively, drew countless penalties, and generated plenty of scoring chances.
The only problem for the Battlefords AAA Sharks in game two of their opening round Saskatchewan Female AAA Hockey League against the Prince Albert Northern Bears was they couldn't score, and their power play went 0-for-11.
In playoff hockey, the final score is all that matters, and after the Sharks fell 2-1 at Battleford Arena on Wednesday, they now face elimination heading back to P.A. for game three on Friday.
"There's some games that happen where you're the better team and you don't win; well that was tonight," Sharks head coach Gary Berggren said after the tough loss. "We had so many scoring chances. We just couldn't put the puck in the net. Their goalie [Lexi Beuker] played great but we really needed to bury some of those chances."
The Sharks outshot the Bears 31-27, including 23-15 in the second and third periods combined.
Near the end of the second period, the Bears took four consecutive penalties, which gave the Sharks over five minutes of power play time and nearly three minutes of 5-on-3 time. Yet still, they couldn't score.
"It didn't show on the scoreboard, but if we keep playing like that, it's eventually going to come," Berggren said. "That third period that we had today was probably the best period we've played all season. So coming into the playoffs and playing like that, that's all I can ask for from the girls."
The Sharks did get a third period goal from Madison Sansom.
The Bears were already up 2-0 at that point, thanks to scoring two goals in 49 seconds early in the second period. The first was a shorthanded marker from Alli Soyko, followed by a goal from Camryn Amundson, which held up as the game-winner.
What also stood out from Wednesday's game was a second period disagreement between Sharks rookie Sydney Rowley and Bears forward Brooklyn Anderson, which resulted in the two tackling one another to the ice, where they wrestled until the linesmen broke it up. Each were given five minutes for fighting.
"[Tonight] probably wasn't as rough as the first game," Berggren said. "The first game in P.A. was a little bit rougher but they let everything go in P.A. And then here, they were calling everything.
"We want to be aggressive, absolutely. All year we've played that way. We like that style and it works for us."
The Sharks did go a perfect 5-for-5 on their penalty kill.
After a 5-1 loss in game one on Monday, the Sharks are now facing elimination in the best 3-of-5 series.
Last year, they were in the same situation against the same opponent, and were swept after a 7-3 loss in game three. But last year, they lost 5-0 at home in game two.
"We came to play today," Berggren said. "[Friday] will be exactly the same. The way we played, we're just going to carbon copy it. We're just going to score some more goals in game three."
Friday's game is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert.
Rest of the series (Bears lead 2-0)
Game 3: Sharks at Bears, Fri. March 2, 7 p.m., Art Hauser Centre
Game 4: Bears at Sharks, Sat. March 3, 8:30 p.m., Battleford Arena (*If necessary)
Game 5: Sharks at Bears, Mon. Mar 5, 7 p.m., Art Hauser Centre (*If necessary)
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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