© Herald Photo by Perry Bergson
Prince Albert Minto netminder Lane Michasiw keeps a close eye on the puck as he turned in a brilliant performance despite picking up the loss in a 1-0 setback to the Moose Jaw Generals on Saturday. Michasiw finished the game with 37 saves, some of them of the acrobatic variety.
An old friend made a surprise visit while a new foe reared its ugly head as the Prince Albert Mintos opened the 2013-14 Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League season with a 1-0 setback to the Moose Jaw Generals on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Prior to the game, the Mintos’ long-time equipment manager, Dan “Cobra” Taylor dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off. Cobra had been with the team for a number of years before suffering a debilitating stroke last Christmas when the team was enroute to the Mac’s Invitational hockey tournament in Calgary. It was the first time Cobra had been around the team in almost 10 months and the smile on his face clearly showed his heart is still with the club.
Once the game got underway, however, the mood changed as Prince Albert continued with its recent struggles of finding the back of the net.
The Mintos, who scored two goals or fewer in five of their six pre-season games, managed just 16 shots at Grant Naherniak in the Moose Jaw goal with only five of those coming in the final 40 minutes.
“We may have some trouble scoring goals,” admitted Mintos’ head coach Ken Morrison following the loss. “We have a couple of vets out of the line-up so getting them back will help.”
“We have to work for every goal we get,” added Morrison. “It’s a long season and we have to keep getting better. I think the effort was there; structurally some of the guys have some things to learn.”
If it wasn’t for the play of Minto netminder Lane Michasiw, the score could have been much worse. Michasiw, who had a very strong rookie campaign last year, showed everyone he is the real deal as he made several outstanding saves, especially when the Mintos were down a man – or two, which happened on a pair of occasions.
The only blemish in his 37-save performance was a tip-in goal by Generals’ forward Donovan Neuls with just over five minutes remaining in the second period.
Prince Albert, which was never held off the scoresheet once in all 44 games last year, will try and rebound this weekend when they host the two Notre Dame teams – the Hounds on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Argos on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Both games are at the Art Hauser Centre.
MINTO NOTES: Veteran Zach Paziuk (shoulder) and rookie Carson Cayer (broken jaw), along with rookie Cole Young (undetermined) were scratched from the line-up with affiliate players Jack Green and Austin Odnokon taking a regular shift for the Mintos…The Mintos and Generals have the potential to see a lot of each other this year as Prince Albert is the host city for the Telus Cup western regional tournament in April while Moose Jaw will host the Telus Cup national championship later that same month.