The Prince Albert Mintos did everything but put the puck in the net.
After a long pre-season schedule that saw the Mintos win their final three games for a 5-3 record, the provincial finalists from last season opened the 2012-13 Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against the Swift Current Legionnaires at the Art Hauser Centre.
‚ÄúThe bottom line is we didn‚Äôt play hard for 60 minutes,‚ÄĚ said rookie head coach Ken Morrison. ‚ÄúThe guys have to learn that it is a tough league and they have to be ready to play every night. If that doesn‚Äôt happen it‚Äôs a toss up (as to who will win.)‚ÄĚ
Prince Albert fired 40 shots at the Swift Current goal during regulation time, but only Adam Osczevski found the back of the net when he scored late in the first period. The Mintos added another four shots during the five-minute overtime session, but they couldn‚Äôt get anything past Luke Grassl in the Legionnaires‚Äô net.
‚ÄúAt times I thought we did some good things, but when you take penalties, you lose momentum,‚ÄĚ said Morrison.
Blake Fournier evened the game with an unassisted marker in the first minute of the third period and that was the only shot to beat Tanner Burgardt, who was seeing his first action since being injured while at the Regina Pats training camp a month ago. Burgardt finished the game with 22 saves.
The Mintos had 10 rookies in the line-up and Morrison said that some of the players were jittery, but he wasn‚Äôt using that as an excuse. Hard work is what is going to win games and the Mintos will have all week to get ready for their next test as they head to Moose Jaw and Regina on the weekend.
MINTO NOTES: Third-year forward Jason Duret is the captain this year‚Ä¶The Mintos next home game is Oct. 11 when the Tisdale Trojans will visit the Art Hauser Centre‚Ä¶An organizing committee is in place to get ready for the 2014 Telus Cup western regional championship that will be hosted by the Mintos. Volunteers will be needed for that event, which will feature the provincial champions from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the champion from Northern Ontario and the host Mintos. The winner of that event will advance to the national Telus Cup event to be held in Moose Jaw.