Sunday, 7 October 2018

After further review, Soyko gets Bears career points record

Abby Soyko, right, and the Bears celebrate an OT win on Saturday.
    BATTLEFORD, Sask. – Abby Soyko was prepared to wait for another day to capture the Prince Albert Northern Bears career regular season points record.
    On Saturday night, the Bears were locked in a 2-2 tie with an inspired Battlefords Sharks side at the Battleford Arena in a second five-minute overtime period in Battleford. The visiting Bears were awarded a power-play opportunity in that frame.
    Working with an extra skater, Soyko blasted a shot on the Sharks net, which was tipped home by linemate Kate Ball to give the Bears a 3-2 victory in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season clash.
    Assisting on Ball’s goal would allow Soyko to become the Bears all-time leader in career regular season points.
    Originally, the lone assist on Ball’s tally was given to Bears rookie forward Lauren Willoughby, who wasn’t on the ice and isn’t part of the Bears power-play unit.
Abby Soyko tops the Bears in career regular season points.
    After hearing the goal announcement over the public address system, Soyko skated to the on ice officials and meekly told them she was the one that took the shot that Ball deflected into the Sharks goal for the overtime winner.
    The Bears captain wasn’t too sure how the officials were receiving what she said. Knowing the night had been a long one with the game going into a second overtime period and a lengthy delay due to an injury to Sharks defender Keera Tiringer, Soyko decided to not press too hard on getting an assist on Ball’s overtime winner.
    At game’s end, Soyko was aware the online scoresheet had Willoughby assisting on Ball’s extra time goal and was genuinely alright with that development. Showing no disappointment during a post-game interview, Soyko said the off-ice volunteers that keep track of the scoresheets and the on-ice officials work hard trying to ensure they get everything right.
    She didn’t want to be “that” person that got on their case for making a mistake, because mistakes happen as everyone is human.
    “I know that happens a lot and people get super upset,” said Soyko. “I can just get it back (in Sunday’s) game or whatever and just move on.”
Kate Ball scored the overtime winner for the Bears on Saturday.
    The Bears and Sharks are slated to go at it again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Battleford Arena, but as it turns out, Soyko won’t have to wait to play in that contest to capture the Bears all-time career regular season points record.
    After the Prince Albert side left the rink late Saturday night, it appeared the on-ice officials did hear what Soyko told them after the contest. A change was made on the scoresheet and Soyko was correctly given the lone assist on Ball’s overtime winner.
    With that assist, Soyko, who will turn 17-years-old near the end of this month, became the Bears all-time leader in career regular season points at 102. She piled up those points on 53 goals and 49 assists in 111 career regular season games.
Haylie Biever made 50 saves on Saturday for the Sharks.
    Soyko passed the old mark of 101 points held by Kelly Regnier. Regnier, who is from St. Louis, Sask., recorded her 101 points on 50 goals and 51 assists playing 83 career regular season games between 2010 and 2013.
    Actually, Soyko drove home the Bears first goal of the contest on Saturday at the 3:42 mark of the third period from the front of the Sharks net. That tally was awarded to Bears defender Tobi Fontaine, who was on the ice positioned beside the right boards in the Battlefords zone.
    Soyko said she didn’t hear that goal announcement and wasn’t aware the tally was given to Fontaine until the end of the contest. The SFMAAAHL doesn’t review video to correct goals and assists, and it is up to the players on the ice to make the officials aware that a mistake might have been made.
    The Bears were down 2-0 at the time their first tally went into the Sharks goal to cut Battlefords’ lead to 2-1, and Soyko was focused on trying to spark a comeback.
Miranda Heidt, right, fired home the equalizer for the Bears.
    “It is alright,” said Soyko, who stands 5-foot-5. “A win is a win. It doesn’t matter who puts the puck in the net.”
    Soyko said she believe her team came into Saturday’s game thinking that success was just going to happen due to the fact the Sharks have struggled in recent years in the SFMAAAHL. She was more concerned about that development.
    Saturday’s clash happened to be the regular season opener for the Sharks, and they transition up the ice quickly and played a sound team game. The hosts jumped ahead 2-0 on a first period single from Brooklyn Rowley and a second period single from Madison Sansom.
Nicole Girolami controls the puck in the defensive zone for the Sharks.
    “We just came into the game thinking we were just going to walk all over them, and that is never a good mindset to go into a game,” said Soyko, who is in her fifth and final season with the Bears. “There are still 20 other girls on the other team that want to do the same as you, and that is to win a hockey game.
    “(On Sunday), we just need to come and compete better than them. They definitely improved from last year, and that is good for them. We need to just be better and play to our level.”
    After the Bears cut the Sharks lead to 2-1, it seemed like the rally was going to stall. With 12:09 to play in the third period, Bears winger Jasper Desmarais drove Tiringer into the boards with a hard hit.
    Tiringer was down on the ice for a lengthy stretch before being taken to hospital on a stretcher. Her injury was bad enough that the officials sent the two teams to their respective dressing rooms until she was taken off the ice.
Paris Oleksyn (#11) breaks into the offensive zone for the Bears.
    Tiringer’s status wasn’t known by game’s end.
    Desmarias was accessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. The play will likely be reviewed by the SFMAAAHL for a possible suspension.
    The Bears killed off the major penalty. With 6:17 to play in the third period, Bears 17-year-old forward Miranda Heidt drove home the equalizer to the top left corner of the Sharks goal to tie things up at 2-2 and ultimately force overtime.
    After a scoreless five minute overtime period of four-on-four play, Ball got her power-play winner on a second five-minute overtime period with three-on-three play.
Sharks D Keera Tiringer left Saturday’s game due to injury.
    Lexi Beuker made 27 stops to pick up the win in goal for the Bears, who improved to 3-0. Haylie Biever was spectacular in the Sharks goal turning away 50 shots.
    “It was kind of a different game obviously with the 2-0 lead that they had and our slow comeback,” said Bears head coach Jeff Willoughby. “I thought we got better as the game went on.
    “Obviously with the injury and everyone was off the ice for about 20 minutes, it was a little different feel for the game.”
    Willoughby said Desmarais was very distraught over the fact Tiringer left the game on a stretcher.
    “I know our player was upset that was involved with the collision,” said Willoughby. “She doesn’t feel good about it either.
    “I hope (Keera) Tiringer is OK and has a good recovery.”
    Willoughby was pleased with Soyko’s play on Saturday.
    “We expect Abby (Soyko) to lead this team,” said Willoughby. “She sets a good example just walking around.
Abby Soyko (#19) has 102 career regular season points for the Bears.
    “Just in the room, she is a good example. She has been here for five years. She knows how to get things done.
    “She has playoff experience. She has played in a lot of tough games, lots of tough situations even as a young player. She is just a leader on and off the ice for us, so it has been excellent.”

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