You have to give the Prince Albert Mintos credit for one thing.
They sure know how to build suspense.
The local AAA midget squad won the organization’s third Telus Cup on Sunday in Moose Jaw near the end of the third overtime period. It was the longest game in Telus Cup history, eclipsing the 2006 win.
Dakota Boutin joined some illustrious company when he knocked home a terrific pass by Lance Yaremchuk at 18:36 of the third overtime.
In 2006, Ron Meyers of the Mintos won their first Telus Cup in triple overtime to beat the Calgary Buffaloes.
In 2007, Ryan Fox of the Mintos scored in double overtime as the team won their second in a row when they beat the Red Deer Optimist Rebels.
While the Mintos knew that they would have a chance to compete in the Telus Cup as hosts of the Western Regionals, it wasn’t a year that started out with such promise.
The team went 2-4-2 to start the season and was briefly sitting in the basement of the 12-team Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
They turned it around, however, finishing the season 28-11-4-1, good for third overall.
They showed a flair for the dramatic in the first round of the playoffs, going down two games in the best-of-five series and 3-0 in game three before rebounding to beat the Tisdale Trojans.
The Battlefords Stars made short work of them in the second round, sweeping them in three games and giving them 19 days to prepare for the Western Regionals.
The time off appeared to be useful for them as they lost just once in five games in the Regionals, booking a spot in the national tournament in Moose Jaw.
Given the opportunity, they rode excellent goaltending and some timely scoring to another championship.
It takes more than just the young men on the ice to win the Telus Cup however.
Coach Ken Morrison’s staff included assistant coaches Todd Becker and Brad Bergen, trainer Ben Dennis and team manager Don Fauchoux.
Shortly after the playoffs began, team president Zenon Markowsky had a serious stroke. But he was on the ice with the players in his wheelchair on Sunday celebrating the victory.
Les Karpluk stepped in to help out after Zenon took ill; he and the rest of the board also deserve a hand.
And a large team of volunteers played a key role for the team this year, as they do every year.
Championships reflect both the quality of the athletes and the strength of the organization.
The Mintos have now won three times in nine years; the only team to win a third title in the last 20 years.
Many of us sat glued to our televisions for a great many hours on Sunday. Don’t forget to thank -- and congratulate -- the people who made this happen.
Well done Mintos. Well done.
Prince Albert Daily Herald