Barlage’s double-OT heroics lift Mintos past Contacts and into the semis
The Prince Albert Mintos are moving on to the SMAAAHL semi-finals.
Logan Barlage scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of double overtime to give P.A. a 4-3 win over the Saskatoon Contacts in front of a hometown crowd at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday night. The goal came at the end of a two-man rush with Barlage and Kyrell Sopotyk, P.A.’s most potent scorers.
“I thought I was alone and Sops was just there so I gave him a pass and he made an awesome pass right to me back-door. All I had to do was tap it in. That was a really awesome play by him,” Barlage said following the match, shortly before his teammates emptied their water bottles on him in celebration.
“It was a frustrating game, (there were) hard bounces, it just felt so good to get that goal. Winning here was so important because that’s such a hard barn to play in back in Saskatoon … I don’t know what would happen if they would have got that ‘W.’”
It seemed appropriate that Barlage should net the game winner. Before the opening faceoff, a SMAAAHL award presentation was made and Barlage received Rookie of the Year, Top Forward, and League MVP honours. He was also name a First Team All-Star. He said he’s already looking ahead to the semi-finals and beyond.
“It’s a fun group and team and I’m really excited with everyone and I just want to do it all this year. I just want to end it all here and, Telus Cup, I think we’re on our way. Six more wins and we’ve got a championship, so I’m really excited for that,” he said.
The score was tight throughout the match. Cael Zimmerman opened scoring to give P.A. the lead in the first, but later in the frame Quinton Ong responded for Saskatoon, tying the score 1-1 after one.
In the second period Jacob Leicht restored the lead for P.A. with a shorthanded marker, but Saskatoon fought back on the power play with Cole Beamin evening the score for the visitors. About half-way though the period Connor Zary gave the Contacts their first lead of the game. After 40 minutes, it was 3-2 Saskatoon.
The Contacts maintained the lead throughout the third period, but just as it looked like a Game 5 would be required, Beamin was sent to the box for interference with one minute left in regulation. The Mintos pulled their goalie and called a timeout.
“We just had Zimmerman’s line playing their regular power play and then we told Barlage just to go in front of the net just so we had another guy in front of the net and then we just wanted to get pucks to the net and jab home a rebound,” Mintos head coach Ken Morrison said.
“It worked out.”
With 7.4 seconds remaining in the game the Mintos charged the crease and in the heart-stopping chaos that followed Austin Lamotte found the puck and scored the tying goal.
One period of overtime wouldn’t be enough to settle the match. It took until the 19:37 mark in double overtime for Barlage to put the game away.
“Our guys worked hard. I thought we got better as the game went on and battled back. We spotted (Saskatoon) a couple goals there on errors that we’d like to not see, but we kept at ‘er and tied it up near the end and the way we were playing I felt pretty confident going into the overtime. They were pretty focussed on winning,” Morrison said.
“We’ll enjoy it for tonight and that’ll be about it. (We’ll) re-focus, maybe have a day off tomorrow and then get ready for the next series. It’ll be a tough one, too.”
Prince Albert 4, Saskatoon 3 (2OT)
- Prince Albert, Zimmerman 1 (Sopotyk, Lamotte) 9:50
- Saskatoon, Ong 1 (Adrian) 13:15
- Prince Albert, Leicht 1 (unassisted) 0:33 (sh)
- Saskatoon, Beamin 2 (Michell) 4:21 (pp)
- Saskatoon, Zary 2 (Adrian, Morozoff) 10:09
- Prince Albert, Lamotte 2 (Zimmerman, Barlage) 19:52 (pp)
- Prince Albert, Barlage 3 (Sopotyk) 19:37
Goalies: Prince Albert – Cale Elder, 30 saves (W, 3-1-0); Saskatoon – Rayce Ramsay, 51 saves (L, 0-2-0).
Stars of the Game: Home Star – Logan Barlage, Away Star – Rayce Ramsay.