Those who expected a close contest when they walked into the Art Hauser Centre were in for quite a surprise on Saturday night.
The Prince Albert Mintos outshot the Notre Dame Hounds 13-2 in the first eight minutes and had a 4-0 lead when their opponents called a timeout to try and stop the bleeding.
Things only got worse from there for the winners of the last two Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championships as the Mintos held a 6-0 advantage after the opening frame and cruised to a 10-2 triumph.
“It all starts with what we do in practice,” Mintos forward Dawson Springer said. “We really focussed on our compete level this week and I think that really showed in the first period.”
“We didn’t like how we played in the last couple of games, so we just got back to basics, which was being gritty and battling for loose pucks,” Mintos forward Cooper Chisholm added. “Everyone was playing the same way out there and I think it’s good that we kept that level up through the whole game, even after we got out to a big lead.”
Chisholm had two goals and three assists to lead the way for the hosts, while Springer found the back of the net four times as the Swift Current Broncos prospect earned his first career hat trick in Midget AAA.
“I think we all just knew where everyone was out there tonight,” Springer said. “It really helps everyone out when you are all working as a team.”
“When the bounces aren’t going your way, it’s only a matter of time before the puck starts going in,” Chisholm added. “I think that was the case for a lot of us tonight.”
Dawson Brace and Josh Peppler had a goal and three assists each for the Mintos, who last reached double-digits in a 10-3 home contest with the Hounds on Feb. 12, 2017 that saw current Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Logan Barlage score three goals and dish out two helpers.
Chase Friedt-Mohr and Chase Pauls also found the back of the net in the triumph, which saw Spencer Welke make 25 saves.
Saturday’s setback was the worse for the Hounds since their 10-3 loss to the Mintos nearly three years ago and it also marked the most goals they had given up in a game since the opening contest of the 2018-19 campaign when they dropped a 7-3 decision to the Saskatoon Blazers in Warman.
Blake Rasmuson and Trey Funk scored for the 6-4 Hounds, who saw a two-game win streak end on Saturday and are tied with the Battlefords Stars for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Marcus Bjorn was pulled after allowing six goals on 21 shots in the opening frame for the visitors, while Jordan Nicollucci made 18 saves during the final 40 minutes.
In addition to improving their record to 10-3 and picking up their second win in a row on Saturday, the Mintos also solidified a berth into the 2019 Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament, which will be held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 in Calgary.
The Mintos, who are second in the league standings and are one point behind the Saskatoon Contacts, will return to action next Saturday in Wilcox when they will go up against the Notre Dame Argos.
In other news, Mintos forward Gabe Klassen made his Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night in a 2-1 home win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Klassen, who is tied with Springer for the team lead in scoring with 16 points, fired three shots on goal but was held off of the scoresheet.