Depleted Mintos rally for 5-3 victory over Swift Current

Prince Albert Mintos forward Turner McMillan searches for a loose puck amidst a sea of Swift Current Legionnaires during SMAAAHL action at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, Jan. 25. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It took a while for the Prince Albert Mintos to get their offence going, but once they did the Swift Current Legionnaires had no answers.

After falling behind 3-1 in the second period, the Mintos rattled off four straight goals to win 5-3 at the Art Hauser Centre. Chase Bertholet led the way with three points for the Mintos, while Joel Favreau made 21 saves to earn the victory. Legionnaires netminder Jacob Herman stopped 30 shots in a losing cause.

Mintos coach Danton Danielson said he was pleased with his club’s effort, especially after giving up three second period goals in a span of 2:49.

“It was a good game by us for the most part,” Danielson said. “Not a full 60 minutes, but we did a good job of battling hard there in the third period and pulling out a win.”

Both clubs entered Saturday’s contest on a wining streak, and produce a first period of physical hockey without any scoring. That all changed in the second when the two teams combined for six goals, including a four goal outburst is less than five minutes.

Josh Peppler got things started with an unassisted goal 4:50 into the period to give the Mintos and early, but short-lived lead. Spencer Bell tied it at 1-1 just 35 seconds later, and Tyler Council gave the Legionnaires the lead 41 seconds after that. Jaxon Martens capped off the scoring deluge roughly two minutes later when his low wrist shot beat Favreau stick-side.

“We had a couple of frank moments, I guess you’d say, on the bench where we just had to wake up,” Danielson said. “In those situations it’s a matter of doing your job and not trying to get out on the ice and just kind of exist there (or) just being happy with the fact that you’re here. It’s actually going out there, understanding what your job is, and then going out and doing that job and I think the guys kind of did that. Once that third one went in, we kind of woke up and were able to battle back and tie it before the end of the period, which I thought was big for us to do.”

Ashton Ferseter brought the Mintos back within one after he finished off a nice crisscross passing play, with assists to Bertholet and Kayden Skulmoski. Gage Helm then tied it at three after the puck deflected off a Legionnaire defenceman and landed right on his stick at the side of the net.

The Legionnaires had a great chance to retake the lead shortly after the third period started, but Favreau made a nice save of a shorthanded two-man breakaway.

Bertholet put the Mintos ahead for good when he slid a rebound through Herman’s five-hole to make it 4-3 with 6:32 to play, and Ty Bahm clinched the contest with an empty net goal from his own blue line.

The win gives the Mintos a 22-13-0-1 record, and puts them two points behind the Saskatoon Blazers and Notre Dame Hounds, who are tied for fourth place in the SMAAAHL standings. The Mintos take on the Hounds on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 1:30 p.m.

Mintos feel effects of shortened bench

Injuries, WHL call ups, and an unfortunate scheduling conflict had the Mintos playing with only four defenceman during Saturday’s game.

With Zane Florence out due to injury and Marek Schneider playing with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, the Mintos had to rely on call ups from their affiliated clubs to fill out their roster. Unfortunately, all of those clubs were in action on Saturday, making it impossible for the Mintos to fill a full roster.

“You saw at moments why you need more defenceman, for sure,” Danielson said afterwards.

Forward Ashton Ferster took a few shifts on defence, but the Mintos ran with a four-man defensive corps of Tre Fouquette, Kayden Skulmoski, Chase Pauls and Chase Friedt-Mohr for most of the game.

“I think that the guys did a better job in the third after we talked to them in the second about just maybe making more simple plays when they have puck, particularly on breakouts and regroups,” Danielson said. “When you’re a full squad, you look for a perfect play, and when you’re shortened like that, you have to just take the play that’s available, make something happen with it and conserve your energy that way. They did a good job of that, I thought, in the third. All four of those guys want to win and they worked hard for us tonight and got us that win.”

@kerr_jas •