The wait is over!
The Prince Albert Mintos found out on Wednesday who their next opponent will be in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs after the Saskatoon Blazers surprised the Moose Jaw Generals with a 3-2 overtime victory to claim that best-of-five quarter-final match-up in four games.
The Mintos will now host the Blazers on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre in the first game of the best-of-five semifinals with other dates for the series yet to be finalized.
Prince Albert, which finished first in the regular season, completed a three-game sweep of the Notre Dame Argos on Tuesday, but with other match-ups still in progress they had to play the waiting game, with a number of different opponents possible for the next round.
That was all settled when the Blazers, the No. 6 seed, upset the third-place Generals. The Saskatoon Contacts, who finished second behind the Mintos in the regular season, were also forced to sit and wait after sweeping the Battlefords Stars and they still are not sure who they will play as the Regina Pat Canadians and Yorkton Harvest continue to do battle in the opening round. Going into Thursday’s action, Regina held a 2-1 advantage with the winner of that series going directly to Saskatoon to face the Contacts.
Prince Albert and the Blazers met four times this year with the Mintos winning on three occasions. Two of those victories ended in a shutout including a 4-0 Prince Albert triumph during the inaugural Flaman’s Outdoor Classic in January.
Adam Osczevski enjoyed the most success against the Blazers during the regular season scoring four times and adding one assist. Jason Duret had a goal and five helpers against the Blazers while Lance Yaremchuk had a goal and three assists as did Justin Boyer. Bryton Sayers, the league’s top defenseman this season, chipped in with a pair of goals and two assists in the four games.
Tanner Burgardt registered both shutouts against the Blazers and he was the goaltender of record for the series-clinching win against the Argos. Lane Michasiw recorded the other two wins against Notre Dame as the rookie came on in relief of Burgardt in the opening game and then turned in a solid performance in a 3-2 win at Wilcox.
The Blazers were 8-2-0 in their final 10 games of the regular season and have carried their fine play over to the post-season. Keegan Allison was the Blazers’ leading scorer in the regular season and he continues to be the top offensive threat in the playoffs recording six points in the four games against Moose Jaw.
Saskatoon has turned the goaltending reins over to rookie Evan Weninger and the 16-year-old has responded by posting a 1.22 goals-against average in his three victories against the Generals.
It will be a tough series and could very well be a long one.