The Prince Albert Mintos scored three times in the second period, but needed an empty-net goal in the dying seconds to hold off the Saskatoon Contacts for a 4-2 victory in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action on Tuesday at the Art Hauser Centre.
The win was Prince Albert‚Äôs fifth straight and extended their unbeaten streak to eight games. The victory also gives the Mintos a four-point cushion over the Contacts, Regina Pat Canadians and Tisdale Trojans for first place in the overall standings.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôve been a rival for a long time,‚ÄĚ said Mintos‚Äô goaltender Tanner Burgardt. ‚ÄúIt was a huge win. We had good tempo in the first and second period, but they came on in the third.‚ÄĚ
The second-year netminder from Kerrobert says playing the Contacts is always an exciting game, but getting the result was important based on goals the team set prior to the start of the season.
‚ÄúWe set some goals before the start of the season and the first was to make the Mac‚Äôs tournament, which we did, and the second goal was to be in first place,‚ÄĚ said Burgardt, who saw his goals-against average move to a sparkling 1.70 with his 25-save performance.
Kylar Hope opened and closed the scoring for Prince Albert, which led 3-0 after 40 minutes of play only to see that lead shrink midway through the third period. Joel Blaquiere and Lance Yaremchuk also scored for the Mintos with Justin Boyer adding two assists.
Hope, Boyer and Blaquiere are all rookies with the team, but after Tuesday‚Äôs game, Boyer is tied with Yaremchuk for the team lead in scoring with 21 points each while Hope is just one point back. Blaquiere‚Äôs tally was his fourth of the season to go with 12 assists.
Tate Olson and Terrell Draude tallied for the Contacts in the third period to narrow the score to 3-2, but Burgardt shut the door the rest of the way.
Prince Albert Raider prospect Rylan Parenteau tended the Saskatoon goal and the 16-year-old turned aside 30 shots in suffering the loss. Parenteau just returned to Saskatoon late on Sunday night after joining the Raiders in Alberta on the weekend as an emergency back-up. Andy Desautels, Prince Albert‚Äôs regular back-up goaltender, was sidelined with a broken finger and unable to dress for games in Edmonton and Red Deer.
The Contacts, who had won the only previous meeting between last year‚Äôs league finalists, which Saskatoon won in four games, was short-staffed on Tuesday as league scoring leader Kolten Olynek was suspended for the game after receiving a checking-from-behind penalty during overtime in a 1-1 draw with the Saskatoon Blazers on Friday.
Also missing from the Saskatoon line-up was defenseman Nelson Nogier, who is presently with the Saskatoon Blades on their west-coast swing. Nogier, who began the year with the Blades, was summoned to the Western Hockey League squad when the Blades incurred a rash of injuries among the defensive corp and he will likely remain with the team until they return from British Columbia next week.
The Mintos will now have a couple of days off before they return to action on Sunday when they will host the Moose Jaw Generals at 1:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.