Mintos explode in home opener

Todd Pruner
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Josh Manson hat trick

Jesse McDonald did a good job of proving himself to Mintos head coach Tim Leonard on Thursday night, but he'll be sure to thank his forwards.

Mintos explode in home opener

Jesse McDonald did a good job of proving himself to Mintos head coach Tim Leonard on Thursday night, but he'll be sure to thank his forwards.
McDonald made 28 saves in Prince Albert's 8-1 victory over the Beardy's Blackhawks at the Art Hauser Centre, helped along by an offence that was obviously pumped for its home opener.
Josh Manson tallied a hat trick, including a breakaway goal seconds into the third period for an 8-0 lead. After opening the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League schedule with three road games, the Mintos improved to .500 at 2-2.
"It's a big win, the first game of the season here, to get the fans all going," McDonald said.
Prince Albert is home for the 17-year-old netminder, but he played his first two years of midget hockey in Tisdale with the Trojans. He couldn't refuse the opportunity to play for the Mintos during the last year he'd have that chance, though.
"It's just great being able to sleep in my own bed and eat the old parents' food," McDonald said.
The Mintos already had a returning goalie in Spencer Laycock, 17, but Leonard didn't hesitate to welcome back McDonald when he brought it up.
"He's proven himself in this league and it was a good game for him tonight to play in a Minto uniform, in front of the P.A. fans, and put on a good show," Leonard said.
McDonald has no problem with how the goalie situation is shaping up early in the season.
"We're two pretty strong goalies, so we'll go back and forth until someone gets hot and then we'll just keep going from there," he said.
McDonald didn't get the start against the Trojans on Tuesday in Tisdale, where the Mintos lost 5-1, but got the nod for Thursday's home date.
It was his second appearance of the season after making 20 saves on 21 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Legionnaires in Swift Current.
McDonald made 11 saves in Thursday's first period, including a huge save on a two-on-one with nine minutes left where he quickly slid across the length of a net for the pad save.
Bryce Gervais opened the scoring just 2:54 in the game on a two-on-one where the Blackhawks defenceman went to occupy Taylor Fauchoux and left Gervais open. Just 32 seconds later, Jordan Swenson's shot was blocked but Sean Aschim was there to put in the rebound.
The Mintos exploded for five goals in the second period and cruised to the win.
The Blackhawks spoiled McDonald's shutout bid with 6:43 remaining in the game when Todd Fiddler sent a pass across the slot for T.J. Constant and McDonald couldn't get over in time.
"I'm just more worried about winning right now than getting shutouts," said McDonald.

tpruner@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Blackhawks, Prince Albert, Art Hauser Centre Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League McDonald's

Geographic location: Tisdale, Swift Current

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