Mintos roll over Stars in final home game of 2019

Prince Albert Minto defenceman Chase Pauls (right) puts pressure on a Battlefords Stars forward during Thursday night’s game at the Art Hauser Centre. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The scoring came in waves at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday.

The Prince Albert Mintos and visiting Battlefords Stars combined for five goals in the first period and five more in the third, as Prince Albert skated away with an 8-3 win in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action.

Turner McMillan led the way for the Mintos with three points while Joel Favreau made 29 saves for the win. Kyle Heintz led Battlefords with two assists, while goalies Jackson Fellner and Ethan Hein combined to make 31 saves in a losing cause.

“It’s a big two points for us,” Minto coach Danton Danielson said afterwards. “It’s good to finally be able to put some goals on the board because that’s been something that we’ve been struggling with. Otherwise I’d say it’s a good game, (but) not a great game for us.”

The scoring started almost immediately after the opening faceoff.  Battlefords forward Mason Bueckert scored on the first shot of the game when he beat Favreau five-hole on a breakaway just 57 seconds into the contest. However, the lead didn’t last long.

The Mintos tied it up roughly four minutes later when Josh Peppler scored on a wraparound, then took a 3-1 lead after the halfway mark on goals from Chase Pauls and Dawson Springer just 20 seconds apart.

The Stars had multiple chances to get back into the game, but forward Austin McLean’s shorthanded breakaway goal with 4.8 seconds left in the first period proved to be a back-breaker.

“After we gave up that weird one to begin the game, I thought we really had a pretty good first period,” Danielson said. “We controlled the play pretty well, played pretty much the way we wanted to and got rewarded for it on the score sheet.

“There’s probably a couple of goals that their goalie wanted to have back, but some of that comes from being there and being able to take advantage of those opportunities too.”

The wide-open play continued in the second period, with both teams trading chances, forcing Favreau and Fellner to make a number of point-blank saves. Fellner was the busier of the two, stopping 14 shots during the period, but Favreau had the best save of the evening with a diving stop while Peppler was in the box for tripping.

The Mintos scored the only goal of the period when Chase Bertholet kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and beat Fellner high to the glove side.

While it proved to be an entertaining period for hockey fans, Danielson said he’d prefer to see his team play with a bit more discipline. Still, he was happy with the win.

“I thought at the midway point when the score got a little lopsided we maybe started to play a little too individualistic,” Danielson said. “Some of the bad habits from early in the year started to creep back in, and a little bit of individualism and selfishness that I didn’t really like, but it’s two points.”

The teams traded goals early in the third period with McMillan scoring Prince Albert at 17:33, only for Jake Southgate to reply just 14 seconds later.

There was no further scoring until the final four minutes of the period, when Ashton Ferster made it 7-2 with 3:59 to play. Bertholet scored his second of the game to make it 8-2 at 2:23.

Matthew Henry closed out the scoring by making it 8-3 with 1:22 to play.

The win means the Mintos move within two points of the Saskatoon Blazers for fourth in the SMAAAHL standings. 

Results from Friday’s game between the Mintos and Tisdale Trojans were not available by press time.