Trojans edge Mintos in shootout

Tisdale Trojans goalie Tanner Martin (1) turns aside a shot from Prince Albert Mintos' forward Brandon Von Hagen (18) in SMAAAHL action on Oct. 24, 2017 from the Art Hauser Centre. Evan Radford/Daily Herald

For their second straight game, the Prince Albert Mintos faced a solid goaltender and couldn’t make him crack.

But this time, the Midget AAA team managed to squeeze a point out of their opponents after losing to the Tisdale Trojans 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night from the Art Hauser Centre.

“I was happy with our play. I thought we played well. I thought we outplayed them, out-chanced them. It was just one of those games where we struggled to score a bit, and I thought our guys did well to stick with it,” Mintos head coach Ken Morrison said after the game.

The Mintos played their first game since losing to the Saskatoon Blazers in regulation 3-2 on Oct. 14.

That night, Blazers’ goalie Matthew Pesenti stopped 48 of the 50 shots he faced and nixed any hope of the Mintos tying or winning the game.

Against the Trojans, the Mintos played more of a cohesive, team-oriented game, and the results spoke for themselves, according to Morrison.

Prince Albert Mintos forward Josh Pillar (10) watches as his teammates cycle the puck in the Tisdale Trojans’ zone in SMAAAHL action on Oct. 24, 2017 from the Art Hauser Centre. Evan Radford/Daily Herald

“We started feeling the pressure of maybe losing (against Saskatoon). Then we started to do too much individual stuff, and it just snowballed and created a bit of frustration.

“But this game I thought we played a better team-game for the whole time. It’s one of those games that could go either way.”

Despite finding themselves in a 3-0 hole through nearly 40 minutes of play, the Mintos used their speed and quick passing abilities to find holes in the Trojans’ defence and break goalie Tanner Martin’s chance of a shutout.

At 15:47 of the second period, Austin Lamotte scored on a wrist shot from Martin’s left side, beating the Tisdale goalie cleanly. The score was 3-1 for the Trojans.

It was Lamotte’s first goal of the season, and he said it felt good to finally crack the goose egg.

“After I scored, all the boys kind of got their hopes up and realized we can do this and we came back pretty good,” he said.

His goal seemed to spur his teammates on the offensive side of the puck.

The Mintos dominated the Trojans in the third period, cycling the puck in their opponent’s zone and firing 11 shots on Martin.

Their work paid off.

Early in the frame Jaxon Tait tipped in a floater wrist shot from Parker Fofonoff on the powerplay, cutting the deficit to one goal. Defenceman Alex Ozar was also credited with an assist.

Then, with less than nine minutes to go in the game, Kishaun Gervais skated with the puck along the goal line to Martin’s left side.

Gervais squeezed the puck between Martin and the goal post, prompting the black rubber to bounce off of the netminder’s back and into the net; game tied 3-3. Fofonoff and Tait were credited with the helpers.

The Mintos fired six shots on Martin in overtime, while the Trojans shot two times on Mintos goalie Cale Elder. The extra frame solved nothing; the two teams headed to a shootout.

The Trojans’ Kalen Ukrainetz wound up potting the winner for his side; he scored on a deke move that opened up Elder’s five-hole.

Neither Josh Pillar nor Gervais could beat Martin on the dekes they tried.

Tisdale Trojans defenceman Landon Kosior (5) carries the puck behind his net while Prince Albert Minto Tanner Robin pursues him in SMAAAHL action on Oct. 24, 2017 from the Art Hauser Centre. Evan Radford/Daily Herald

“I liked our chances with the shots and the puck possession we had,” Morrison said.

“But I mean give them credit – they scored on their chances when they had to. They didn’t have a whole lot and they did score when they had a chance.”

The Trojans managed only 20 shots on Elder through the four periods of play. The Mintos tallied 40 shots on the Trojans’ netminder.

Morrison complimented his team for its resiliency.

“We just kept telling them ‘keep playing the same way, keep playing our game. Don’t try to do too much yourself.’

“Because we have guys that want to make a difference and sometimes they have a tendency to try to do a little too much on their own. And then we get away from our game, and we’re not as successful when we do that.”

In light of that, the game was a good learning experience for his team, he said.

The Mintos now sit in fifth place in the 12-team provincial league. Their record is 5-1-0-1-0. Their next game is Thursday evening against the Beardy’s Blackhawks at 8 p.m. on the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation at the Willow Cree sports arena.