© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Prince Albert Mintos goalie Lane Michasiw gets his paddle down to stop this attempt by Moose Jaw Generals forward Braydon Delorme Thursday night in Telus Cup action at Mosaic Place.
MOOSE JAW - When the Prince Albert Mintos qualified for the 2014 Telus Cup they had set some lofty goals.
They wanted to be competitive with the best Midget AAA hockey teams in the country; they wanted to qualify for the playoffs and of course they wanted to win a third national championship in nine years.
They can now cross off the first two as they are undefeated through four days of the competition and Thursday’s 2-0 triumph over the host Moose Jaw Generals has secured them a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.
“We knew if we got the win we would be in the semis,” said a beaming Teal Sobkowicz, the Mintos’ captain. “We knew it was going to be a tough one since we’ve played them before, but it’s nice to knock them out.”
The Generals aren’t officially eliminated, but with just two ties in four starts they are down to their last life today when they play the Grenadiers de Chateauguay in the final round-robin contest of the tournament beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Prince Albert, with its 2-0-2 ledger, goes up against the Halifax McDonald’s at 1 p.m. today and Mintos’ assistant coach Todd Becker says they will play their same game, but the pressure is definitely off.
“We talked about that during the second intermission; we have 20 minutes left and we are going to the semifinals,” said Becker, who along with Brad Bergen, was running the team in place of head coach Ken Morrison who was suspended for one game for actions following Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against the Okanagan Rockets. “If that isn’t enough motivation then I don’t know what is.”
The Mintos once again had a very strong first period, but fell into a rut during the middle frame and if not for the goaltending of Lane Michasiw they could have been in big trouble. As it turned out, Michasiw was brilliant and a knuckleball shot from the point by Loch Morrison with 12 seconds left gave Prince Albert a lead they never would relinquish.
“The play of Lane Michasiw tonight was extraordinary,” said Becker emphatically. “We have the two best goaltenders in the country as far as I’m concerned.”
The 17-year-old Michasiw had some help from his best friend however, as Moose Jaw rang a blast off the post with just over a minute to play and Prince Albert turned that gift into some insurance when Lance Yaremchuk fired the puck into an empty net in the dying seconds.
Michasiw, who was winless in three playoff appearances before this week, now has a win and a tie and an incredible 0.50 goals-against average in his two starts at the Telus Cup. Prince Albert’s other netminder, Connor Ingram, who also has a win and a tie with a 1.00 GAA, skated right across the rink at the end of the game on Thursday to fetch the game puck and present it to Michasiw for his shutout.
TELUS CUP NOTES: Prince Albert finished the game with 25 shots on Grant Naherniak in the Moose Jaw net while Michasiw was tested 30 times in the Minto goal…Michasiw was Prince Albert’s player of the game while Braydon Delorme got the nod for Moose Jaw…The Generals, who had beaten Prince Albert in three out of four meetings in the regular season, will be cheering for the Mintos today as a Prince Albert win over Halifax and a Moose Jaw victory over Chateauguay will keep the Generals in the running for the fourth and final playoff spot. Moose Jaw will also be pulling for the Toronto Young Nationals in today’s opening game as a Toronto win over the Okanagan Rockets would also keep the Generals’ pulse alive…The Young Nationals, who beat Chateauguay 3-1 on Thursday, are 3-1-0 and lead the way followed by Prince Albert at 2-0-2. Chateauguay and Halifax, who scored four times in the third period on Thursday to edge Okanagan 5-4, are 1-1-2 followed by Okanagan at 0-1-3 and Moose Jaw at 0-2-2…Morrison will be back behind the bench today as his suspension was just for the one game…Prince Albert has allowed just three goals in four games meaning they could set a new mark today and remain on pace to eclipse another. The fewest goals every allowed in the round-robin series was four set by the 2007 Red Deer Rebels while the Lions du Lac St-Louis in 1992 had just eight goals scored against them in the entire tournament.