Taking the lead

Prince Albert Mintos forward Austin Lamotte takes a swing at a loose puck in front of the Saskatoon Contacts net. P.A. leads the best-of-five playoff series 1-0. (File photo)

Mintos start SMAAAHL playoffs with 5-2 road win against Contacts

The Prince Albert Mintos have come out to a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five quarterfinal playoff series against a the Contacts following a 5-2 win in Saskatoon on Thursday night.

“The Schroh rink … is not an easy place to go in and win and we’ve done it twice now here in the last little bit so it’s a credit to the boys,” Mintos coach Ken Morrison said.

“Maybe they didn’t realize how tough it was to go in there and win.”

Mintos Kyrell Sopotyk and Austin Lamotte both had three-point nights as P.A. outshot the Contacts 53-27 and scored two power play goals for the win. Morrison said it was important for the team to begin the series with a win on the road.

“It’s kind of like a bonus when you can go in there and win one,” he said.

“We missed having home-ice advantage by one point in the league, so that win in there kind of gets rid of that (disadvantage). Now if we can win two games at home, then we’ve got the series.”

The Contacts were first on the board, with forward Chance Adrian netting the inaugural goal of the series. Lamotte tied the game for P.A. later in the frame. After one period the score was 1-1.

Logan Barlage scored the lone goal in the second period, giving P.A. a 2-1 lead on the power play heading into intermission.

Saskatoon’s Adrian stuck back, scoring a shorthanded goal in the opening minutes of the third period to tie the score but Minto Alex Moar responded shortly afterwards on the power play to restore the P.A. lead. Later in the period Barlage added his second goal of the night and Kyrell Sopotyk, who on Friday was named February Player of the Month after racking up 21 points in seven games, scored an empty netter to bring the final score to 5-2.

The match was the SMAAAHL playoff debut for 15 Mintos rookies but Morrison said that lack of experience wasn’t a factor in the game.

“We’ve been trying to play playoff hockey for the last while … so I think they’ve kind of realized what how they need to play and have done that over the last while, so it’s not a huge adjustment,” he said.

“We’ve just got to work hard and compete and play smart because one play can change the whole momentum of the game in the playoffs, whether it be a big goal or a bad penalty. So it’s working hard but thinking of the team and being smart.”

Game 2 is Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.


Game Summary

Prince Albert 5, Saskatoon 2

Prince Albert leads the best-of-five series 1-0.

First Period

  1. Saskatoon, Adrian 1 (Lieffers, McNeilly) 6:40
  2. Prince Albert, Lamotte 1 (Sopotyk, Matechuk) 14:04

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Barlage 1 (Matechuk, Mosimann) 15:14 (pp)

Third Period

  1. Saskatoon, Adrian 2 (unassisted) 1:42 (sh)
  2. Prince Albert, Moar 1 (Leicht) 4:05 (pp)
  3. Prince Albert, Barlage 2 (Lamotte, Sopotyk) 14:18
  4. Prince Albert, Sopotyk 1 (Zimmerman, Lamotte) 19:55 (en)

Goalies: Prince Albert —­ Cale Elder, 25 saves (W, 1-0-0); Saskatoon — Rayce Ramsay, 49 saves (L, 0-1-0).

Stars of the Game: Home Star — Chance Adrian, Away Star — Logan Barlage.