The Prince Albert Mintos are one win away from advancing to the next round of the SMAAAHL playoffs.
A pair of second period goals from Kyrell Sopotyk, including once on a penalty shot, and 27 saves from Cale Elder helped the Mintos take a stranglehold on the best-of-fives series with a 4-1 victory over the Saskatoon Contacts on Sunday.
The win gives Prince Albert a 2-0 series lead, and a chance to close things out at home on Wednesday.
“It’s where you want to be, going into game three at home,” Sopotyk said. “Hopefully we get a win at home and move on to round two and can focus on that series.”
Unlike Friday’s series opener, where the Mintos heavily outshot the visiting Contacts, Sunday afternoon’s game was a much tighter affair.
Prince Albert made the most of their offensive chances, scoring their four goals on only 22 shots. Sopotyk said the club’s offensive efficiency has been key to their early success.
“I think we’re shooting the puck real well, getting the pucks deep and just sticking to the game plan,” he explained. “Defensively, our goalie’s playing good, we’re getting pucks out and just doing our job.”
Defenceman Alex Moar opened the scoring for the Mintos roughly five minutes into the first period, with assists to Jake Koroluk and Josh Pillar, but the lead wouldn’t last long. Michael Flaman scored just 26 seconds later for the Contacts, tying the game up at one.
Sopotyk put the Mintos up for good early in the second when he scored on a penalty shot, then added another with 6:26 left to play in the period.
“We needed to go forward offensively and get some momentum going our way,” Sopotyk said. “That first goal and the penalty shot got our team going and I had some adrenaline going for myself for a second goal.”
Tanner Robin gave the visitors some additional insurance when he tallied at 14:12 with the lone assist to Moar.
The two teams are back on the ice for what could be the series finale at the Art Hauser Centre on Feb. 28. Puck drop is 7 p.m.
If the Contacts win, the two clubs will meet again on March 2 in Saskatoon.
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