© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Prince Albert Minto forward Jared Blaquiere tries to find a way to get a loose puck in the Tisdale goal during Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoff action on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre. Blaquiere notched Prince Albert's first goal of the game, but the Mintos lost 3-2 and now trail the best-of-five quarter-final series 1-0.
It was pretty evident that the Prince Albert Mintos had a bit of rust in their game when they opened the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Coming off an eight-day break since finishing their regular schedule and with three players returning to the line-up for the first time in a month it took the better part of two periods before the Mintos started to click.
By then, however, it was too late as the Tisdale Trojans jumped out to a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory. The result gives the Trojans a one-game lead and home-ice advantage in the best-of-five quarter-final series.
“We didn’t play a full 60 minutes like we wanted to,” said Mintos coach Ken Morrison after the game. “There are no excuses really. It’s all about momentum and it was too little too late.”
“We need more out of the older experienced guys,” added Morrison. “The young guys just go out and keep it simple. That’s what you need in the playoffs.”
Wyatt Hinson got the Trojans on the board in the first period when his shot from behind the net somehow got past Minto netminder Lane Michasiw.
Kalem Zary and Matthew Perkins, on a gift pass from a Prince Albert defender, extended that lead to 3-0 midway through the middle frame ending Michasiw’s night after the veteran puckstopper allowed three goals on just seven shots.
Jared Blaquiere got one back late in the second period and then Lance Yaremchuk, on a beautiful individual effort, drew the Mintos to within one, but Tisdale netminder Brandon Holtby closed the door after that.
“I just told them it is a long season and it is by no means over,” said Morrison of his post-game talk with the team. “It’s how we respond from now on that counts.”
The next test comes on Sunday when Game 2 is played in Tisdale. The series will return to Prince Albert on Wednesday and will head back to Tisdale the following night only if the Mintos can draw even or pull ahead by that time.
MINTO NOTES: Connor Ingram came on in relief of Michasiw and turned aside all 14 shots he faced. Holtby was tested 30 times in the Tisdale goal…There was a scary moment late in the second period when Tisdale’s Tanner Nagel took a shot in the throat area. Nagel went down immediately and then skated off in obvious distress, but returned for the third period…Yaremchuk, Dakota Boutin and Braden Lozinski all returned to the Prince Albert line-up for the first time in more than a month and it looked at times like they were getting worn down by the tempo of the game. Braxx George is the lone Minto still sidelined with an injury and in his place Prince Albert summoned Jake Hobson from the bantam Venice House Raiders…The only other series to start on Friday had the regular-season champion Notre Dame Argos bomb the Yorkton Harvest 8-0.