The Prince Albert Mintos put more personal emotions aside and went out on the ice and did what they had to do – win.
It has been a tough season for the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League club as a number of players have had to deal with the passing of close relatives and, collectively, the team is still recovering from the serious illness long-time equipment manager Dan (Cobra) Taylor suffered while on the bus enroute to the Mac’s Invitational tournament in Calgary over the Christmas break.
With starting goaltender Tanner Burgardt away for the second time this season to deal with a death in the family, the Mintos went out and recorded a pair of convincing victories on the weekend to stretch their lead atop the league standings to six points.
On Saturday, the Mintos outscored the Regina Pat Canadians 5-1 and on Sunday, Prince Albert scored four unanswered goals in the third period to cruise to a 7-1 triumph over the Swift Current Legionnaires.
“It seems like every second day someone has a family member sick or pass away,” said Mintos’ captain Jason Duret, who scored three goals in the convincing win over Swift Current. “You could say the guys did it for Cobra, but it was for everyone’s family members.”
“It makes it that much more special how well we are doing,” added Duret.
The weekend success improves Prince Albert’s record to 21-5-2-0 on the season with the Saskatoon Contacts and Pat Canadians, who are tied for second place in the standings, getting smaller in the rear view mirror.
Kylar Hope, Teal Sobkowicz, Lochlan Morrison and Justin Boyer also scored for Prince Albert in the win over Swift Current with Hope, Boyer, Duret, Lance Yaremchuk and Ryan Duret providing the offense in the win over Regina.
Yaremchuk also collected four assists in the two games to give him 24 goals and 19 assists on the season. The second-year centre is now firmly in third place in the league scoring race, but has crept to within two points of Vukie Mpofu of the Contacts for second spot. Saskatoon’s Kolten Olynek continues to lead the way with 23 goals and 30 assists.
For Jason Duret, the weekend also saw him make a move in the scoring race as his five points – he also had an assist on Saturday – gives him 10-29-39 totals and sole possession of fourth place in the scoring parade. The three goals on Sunday was his first hat-trick in more than 100 Midget AAA games, but the Minto captain says getting wins are always far more important.
“We turned up the intensity in the second and third periods and really brought it to them,” said Duret. “You never want to use excuses (for the Mintos 0-3-1 record in Calgary), but it was nice to pick up a couple of wins after how things turned out at the Mac’s.”
“It will give us some positive momentum going for the rest of the season,” added Duret.
With Burgardt away to be with his family, Lane Michasiw carried the load in the Minto goal. Michasiw stopped 42 of 44 shots he faced on the weekend and in the process lowered his goals-against average to 1.75, second best in the league.
Logan Morhart was summoned from the Midget AA Liteway Electric Raiders to be Michasiw’s back-up for the weekend and Chris Stubbs was also brought up for both games to fill in for Jordan Harris, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury, believed to be a concussion, he suffered in the final minute of a game against the Contacts on Dec. 13.
It is unknown whether Burgardt will be back in time for the Mintos next game, which is a rescheduled match from November that will be played on Thursday in Beardy’s against the Blackhawks.
The Mintos will then have nine days off to get ready for the inaugural Outdoor Classic where they will face the Saskatoon Blazers at 4 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Crescent Heights Arena. The Prince Albert A& W Bears will also play on the outdoor rink that day when they take on the Saskatoon Stars at noon and a pair of atom division games will complete the day’s activities.
Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and can be purchased at the Raider office. Tickets will also be sold at the venue on the day of the event.