Minto veterans need to be better after pre-season loss to Blazers
For the past month the Prince Albert Mintos have kept an abundance of rookies in camp so that during some point of the exhibition season they could get a taste of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League experience.
With the club now past the midway point of the pre-season, the numbers have been whittled down and the bulk of the players remaining with the team are veterans, but it was the players that are still fighting to stay with the team that rose to the top in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Saskatoon Blazers at the Art Hauser Centre.
“The rookies are playing to try and make the team,” says Mintos assistant coach Brad Bergen. “It’s the veterans that we’re worried about – not all of them, but some for sure. They think they can just go out and it will be like last year.”
Coming off an easy 8-3 win over the Beardy’s Blackhawks the night before didn’t help matters said Bergen as the club just didn’t having everything working as a unit on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if they were fully prepared,” explained Bergen of his team’s performance. “Beardy’s was an easier game and I don’t know if they thought this was going to be an easy game too.”
For the second straight night, Prince Albert held the distinct advantage in shots on goal. On Tuesday, the Mintos scored eight times on 61 shots, but on Wednesday, they managed just the two tallies on 41 blasts.
Lance Yaremchuk and Jason Duret were the goal scorers for Prince Albert with Yaremchuk easily being the best Minto until he was tossed from the game midway through the third period after a skirmish in the Saskatoon crease.
Prince Albert trailed 2-1 entering the final 20 minutes and after Duret tied the game on a powerplay, the Mintos had their chances to go ahead, but just couldn’t finish off around the net. In fact, Saskatoon’s Jackson Michalenko took a double minor for contact to the head and another two minutes for roughing leaving the Blazers shorthanded for six of the final seven minutes, but it was Keegan Allison scoring a shorthanded goal with just over a minute left to decide the game.
Josh Reinbolt and Tyler Kreklewich also scored for Saskatoon, who have now won both exhibition meetings against Prince Albert.
The Mintos, who are 3-2 in the pre-season, will travel to Saskatoon on Saturday to play the Contacts before returning home on Sunday to face the Tisdale Trojans at 1:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. Prince Albert will then have one final exhibition game on Tuesday when they travel to Beardy’s and with player moves still needed, the coaching staff will be watching everyone closely.
The regular season begins Sept. 29 when Prince Albert will host the Swift Current Legionnaires.