Daily Herald Staff
The Prince Albert Mintos have more than a playoff race on their mind these days. They also have to be wondering if they are going to have enough players to fill a line-up card the next time they take to the ice.
The Mintos, already short four regulars due to injury, lost their top defenseman Loch Morrison late in Saturday’s 7-1 loss to the Tisdale Trojans when the 16-year-old was given a pair of 10-minute misconducts and a game misconduct.
With the game misconduct coming in the final 10 minutes of the game, Morrison will likely be sitting out Prince Albert’s next game when they host Tisdale in a rematch on Thursday at the Art Hauser Centre. The additional penalties might draw a stiffer sentence.
Morrison is expected to be added to a lengthy list that already includes defenceman Braden Lozinski and forwards Ryan Duret, Dalin Graham and Dakota Boutin. Duret is the only one that might be ready for Thursday’s game, but even he will be a game-time decision.
The depleted roster was filled with a number of affiliate players as Landon Leonard, Austin Odnokon and Riley Dupre were all summoned from the Midget AA Dmyterko Enterprises Raiders and Daven Smith was brought in from the Midget AA Warman Wildcats.
The lopsided loss on Saturday wasn’t indicative of the level of play by the patch-work roster as Prince Albert outshot Tisdale 33-32, but special teams sure tell a better story.
The Trojans scored four times on 16 manpower opportunities while Prince Albert was 1-for-15. Rarely were the teams at even strength and with a line-up already being tested, the Mintos couldn’t respond in what would be their worst defeat of the season.
Captain Teal Sobkowicz had the lone goal for Prince Albert, which remains tied for third place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League standings thanks to the Battlefords Stars.
The Stars, who are tied with the Notre Dame Argos for first place, defeated the Moose Jaw Generals in a shootout on Saturday and then battled the Generals to a 2-2 draw on Sunday. With just the two points they garnered on home ice this weekend, Moose Jaw pulled even with Prince Albert, but they also maintain one game in hand.
With just six games remaining on the schedule, the Mintos could finish anywhere from first to fifth although the Argos and Stars appear to have the upper hand on the top two spots as they are four points in front of Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.
Prince Albert begins a three-game homestand with the match on Thursday against Tisdale and with the Trojans just four points back and holding a pair of games in hand, the Mintos are going to have to be ready for a battle. Prince Albert then concludes its home schedule on the weekend with another key head-to-head contest on Saturday against Moose Jaw. The Notre Dame Hounds are the guests on Sunday.
The top four teams at the end of the regular season get home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Prince Albert is going to have its hands full to secure one of those spots especially with the injury problems and the fact that they play their final three games on the road.
Its one game at a time, however, and being better than the last one should be no problem for the Mintos.