Mintos complete epic comeback with thrilling 5-4 win in decisive match

Dave
Dave Leaderhouse
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So, the first series of any playoff season is supposed to be the easiest!

Statisticians will often compare first-round pairings and based on what happened in the regular season will come up with some formula for success for the team ranked higher in the standings.

Those results obviously weren’t shared with the Prince Albert Mintos and Tisdale Trojans as the No. 3 seeded Mintos had to dig incredibly deep to eliminate the No. 6 seeded Trojans.

In fact, they had to climb from the deepest of chasms to finally win the best-of-five Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League quarter-final series with a 5-4 decision in the deciding match on Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre.

“I have to give the guys a lot of credit,” said a relieved Ken Morrison, the Mintos’ head coach moments after the win on Sunday. “To get down 2-0 in games and down 3-0 in the first period in the third game they found a way to come back.”

“We eventually got a bit of momentum and went with it,” added Morrison.

The Minto coach said the turning point in the series was the second period of the third game when his troops scored three times to get back on even terms and eventually win that contest early in overtime.

The next night they drew even in the series when Ryan Duret (not Jared Blaquiere as previously reported) tallied in double overtime and on Sunday the Mintos had to persevere through a string of penalties to eventually hold off the Trojans, who just never gave up until the final buzzer sounded.

“When games are this tight it is anybody’s game,” explained Morrison. “You knew they just weren’t going to hand it to us.”

Tisdale opened the scoring on Sunday when Cole McBride notched his fourth of the series, but Prince Albert rallied with goals by Kody White, Josh Roberts and Lance Yaremchuk before the first period was finished.

Wyatt Hinson scored the only goal of the middle frame to bring Tisdale back to within one and when Yaremchuk, with his fifth of the series, and Teal Sobkowicz scored to make the score 5-2 it appeared that the Trojans’ bubble had finally burst.

Wrong!

With 6:57 left, Prince Albert was given their eighth minor penalty and Tisdale coach Darrell Mann opted to pull goaltender Brandon Holtby in an unorthodox move for an extra attacker giving the Trojans two extra bodies for the ensuing power-play.

The move paid off rather handsomely as Brennan Riddle scored just seven seconds into the man-advantage situation bringing Tisdale to within two.

Then, with less than a minute remaining Tanner Nagle scored to close the gap to one, but Minto goaltender Connor Ingram shut the door for the rest of the game.

Ingram, the reigning Midget AAA goaltender of the year, said this is an exciting time and that he is fortunate to be a part of what is going on.

“This is fun,” said Ingram, who was still beaming after the epic comeback was completed. “It’s exciting to get a chance to play.”

“It’s so easy to play here,” added Ingram, who came on in relief of Lane Michasiw midway through the first game and never relinquished the starting role. “I have great billets and great coaches. It’s so easy playing when you have nothing to worry about.”

The Mintos will now move on to the league semifinals where they will face the Battlefords Stars. That best-of-five series is expected to start on Tuesday in the Battlefords with Game 2 tentatively scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. The final dates for the series are to be released today.

MINTO NOTES: Ingram finished the game with 32 saves while Holtby was tested 26 times in the Tisdale goal…Still on the mend for the Mintos are Braxx George and Carson Cayer. Both are sidelined with shoulder injuries and are doubtful for the semifinal series with the Stars…Prince Albert called up Brody Madarash and Jake Hobson to fill in roster spots, but both were used sparingly…The other semifinal will feature the regular-season champion Notre Dame Argos against the Regina Pat Canadians. That best-of-five series could also start as early as Tuesday.

 

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