The Prince Albert Mintos made sure they didn’t need extra time on Tuesday to defeat the Saskatoon Blazers.
After a marathon opening game in which over 33 minutes of extra time was needed before Prince Albert prevailed with a 4-3 triumph, the Mintos grabbed a 2-0 advantage in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League semifinal with a convincing 4-1 victory in Saskatoon.
Lance Yaremchuk got the Mintos on the board in the first period and Justin Boyer increased the lead with a second-period marker, but it wasn’t until Adam Osczevski netted an shorthanded empty-net tally with 2:30 to play that Prince Albert could savour the win and move to within one victory of their third straight trip to the league championship series.
Joel Blaquiere also scored for the Mintos while Lane Pederson replied for the Blazers.
Tanner Burgardt stopped 26 shots to record the win in the Prince Albert goal while Evan Weninger, the hero of the opening match when he faced 52 blasts in the overtime loss, was tested 31 times on Tuesday.
The Mintos will be looking to complete their second straight series sweep on Thursday when they host the Blazers at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. Prince Albert swept the Notre Dame Argos in the opening round.
Similar to last year, the playoffs are taking their toll on the Mintos as three affiliate players were needed on Tuesday to fill the roster for three regulars who were out with various injuries. Taking a spot in the lineup were Chris Stubbs, Brody Senger and Blair MacFarlane while sitting out the contest were Teal Sobkowicz, Kody White and Braxx George, who left the opening game with the aid of teammates after crashing into the boards when he missed a check at centre ice.
Stubbs and MacFarlane played this season with the Liteway Electric Raiders while Senger was with the Humboldt Broncos of the Centre-Four Hockey League.
Should the Blazers win on Thursday the series would revert back to Saskatoon on Saturday with a Game 5, if necessary, scheduled for Monday in Prince Albert.
The other semifinal series between the Saskatoon Contacts and Regina Pat Canadians got under way on Tuesday with Contacts narrowly holding on for a 1-0 triumph.