Prince Albert Mintos head coach Ken Morrison says it is time to move forward.
Having kept 36 players around after training camp, the Mintos have dressed several variations in their first three pre-season games with the most recent being in a 5-3 loss to the Tisdale Trojans on Saturday. Morrison says there were a number of reasons for doing this, but the biggest was to get some of the younger players a bit of experience at the Midget AAA level.
“We had three ’97 (born) defensemen playing on Saturday with Zack Harms being the only veteran (on the blueline),” said Morrison. “We held our own in the second and third and got better as the game went on.”
“We will be making some cuts in the next three days,” continued Morrison. “We told them after camp we could get them in a game and get some experience for next year, but I’m done with that. It’s time to move on.”
Adam Osczevski led the Mintos’ attack with two goals on Saturday with Keegan Kjargaard adding a single. Ryan Duret chipped in with two assists and 15-year-old netminder Connor Ingram stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced. Morrison says he was very pleased with the play of the young netminder.
The Mintos return to action on Tuesday when they will host the Beardy’s Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. The Saskatoon Blazers will be the visitors the following night and Morrison says by then the final roster should be a lot clearer.
“It should be pretty close to where the team will be by Wednesday,” says Morrison.
Prince Albert will still have three more exhibition games – Saturday in Saskatoon against the Contacts, Sunday at home to Tisdale and Sept. 25 in Beardy’s – before the regular season begins on Sept. 29. Those final three pre-season games should feature the regular line-up, which will have as many as 10 players returning from last year’s club that went to the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League final before losing to the Contacts in four games. There will still be a battle for a few of the spots, but the numbers in camp will certainly be smaller.