On the eve of the Prince Albert Mintos’ second-round opener at home against Tisdale, head coach Ken Morrison knew it would a tough fight ahead.
“They can skate, they’re physical and they’re good defensively. We’re going to have a good challenge,” he said.
On paper, the Mintos are the clear favourites.
They finished the season 13 points ahead of the Trojans, with eight more wins, and a goal differential of +60, far from Tisdale’s -12.
Rookie skater Logan Barlage has lit the lamp for Prince Albert, notching 76 points, while teammate Kyrell Sopotyk scored a league-leading 42 goals in 42 regular season games. Goalie Cale Elder finished near the top in league goals against average and save percentage.
But don’t count the Trojans out.
They matched up in the first round against the Moose Jaw Generals, who finished significantly higher up the standings than Prince Albert.
In fact, upsets were a theme in round one of the SMAAHL playoffs. The Mintos defeated the Contacts. The Trojans knocked off the Generals and Yorkton upset the Notre Dame Hounds.
The Regina Pat Canadians, the league’s far-and-away best team, barely escaped round one, taking five games to down the Saskatoon Blazers.
“There are no easy games in our league,” Morrison said.
For more on this story, see the March 8 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.