The Prince Albert Mintos out-possessed, out-skated, out-shot and out-scored the Yorkton RawTec Maulers Saturday afternoon in a physical affair.
The two teams got out to a feisty start. With the Mintos ahead 2-1 and time ticking down in the first period, all hell broke loose out on the ice. Nine of the ten skaters on the ice at the time were issued penalties.
On P.A.’s side, Turner Rea, Jake Koroluk and Hunter Schnell each received 10-minute misconducts, as did Yorkton’s Keanan Sperling, Beau Stevenson, Matt Millette and Austin Dycer.
Jordan Repsch from Yorkon and Austin Lamotte from P.A. each also received five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. Lamotte got the extra two minutes for holding.
When the referees sorted things out, both penalty boxes were full, and only seven players remained on each team’s bench.
The Mintos killed off the penalty and headed into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead, outshooting their opponents 11-7.
P.A. controlled play in the early minutes of the second, holding the Maulers off the shot clock for five minutes.
But a few bad passes and turnovers later, it seemed like the Maulers were on the verge of grabbing momentum.
Mintos goalie Carter Woodside kept his side in the game, making huge stops on a turnover in front, a pair of breakaways and a three-on-one chance in tight.
But as the period wore on, the Maulers began to tire and the Mintos took advantage.
With about four and a half minutes left to play in the frame, the Mintos dumped the puck in and forechecked hard, picking off an errant pass to gain possession in the offensive zone. Brandon Von Hagen found Hunter Schnell, who fired on Yorkton goalie Jordan Schmuland, who made the save. But the puck bounced right to Jaxon Tait, who tapped it home to double P.A.’s advantage.
After two periods, the score was 3-1 with Prince Albert outshooting their opponents 26-17.
The Mintos continued to press in the third. Using their speed, the Mintos drew a hooking minor against Mauler Aiden Bulych. It didn’t take them long to take advantage. They dumped the puck deep, winning the battle along the boards.
Tanner Robin picked up the loose puck, walked out in front and fired the puck home to increase the advantage to 4-1.
Yorkton wouldn’t go down without a fight. They gained a two-on-one advantage. Keanan Sperling took the shot, which was handled easily by Woodside. But the rebound bounced right to Beau Stevenson, who slid it home for his side’s second of the game.
With about nine minutes to go on the clock, it was 4-2 Mintos.
But for Yorkton, the celebration was short-lived. While the goal was being announced on the public address system, the Mintos used their speed and strength again, winning another battle along the boards. Dylan Scriven got the puck to Josh Pillar, who found Luke Nkwama wide open in front.
Nkwama launched a one-timer into the top of the twine to restore Prince Albert’s three-goal lead.
From there, it was all Mintos. It was almost like a game of keep away. The Mintos would gain possession, dump the puck into the zone and send three men in to chase. Two defenders would hang out in the neutral zone, picking off stretch passes and sending the puck back down the ice.
Prince Albert made a scheme of it, until, with three minutes on the clock, Yorkton pulled their goalie.
Parker Foffonoff tapped in an empty-netter from Kade McMillen to seal the game with less than a minute left.
Final score: Prince Albert 6, Yorkton 2.
Four of the Mintos — Robin, Nkwama, Pillar and Fofonoff, finished with two points each. Nine other P.A. players earned single points. Woodside made 21 saves on 23 shots to earn the victory.
Schmuland stopped 34 of 39 shots he faced in the Yorkton net. The teams combined for 102 penalty minutes.
They’ll meet for a rematch Sunday afternoon. Game time is 1:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.