It was a bounce back game for the Prince Albert Mintos on Saturday.
The Mintos capped off their weekend with five goals in the third period as part of a 6-1 win over the U18 Moose Jaw Warriors at the Art Hauser Centre. Jacob Cossette scored three goals in the win, and picked up two assists for his first five point game of the season. Cossette is now first in the SMU18AAAHL scoring race with with 38 points in 18 games.
“I saw a lot of open spots tonight,” Cossette said. “I wasn’t hitting the net as much as I wanted to but I got enough chances and capitalized on them.”
Mintos head coach Tim Leonard saw an excellent response from his group, after losing the night before.
“We probably won 90% of the puck battles tonight and that was the key,” Leonard said. “We won not only battles, but we won a lot of races to loose pucks, and that was the difference.”
Zach Bansley got the party started in the first period on a Minto powerplay. Travis Swanson sent a pass from the left circle into the slot, and Bansley directed a shot past Ethan Fetcher’s glove, putting the home team up 1-0 with 3:07 to go in the first.
The Warriors found the tying goal 6:05 into the second period when Liam Fitzpatrick scored his second goal in as many games against Prince Albert, knotting the game at 1-1. That would be the score heading into the second intermission, with Moose Jaw leading the shots department 21-19 after 40.
Ashton Tait got things rolling again for the Mintos just 3:14 into the final frame, as he beat Fetcher for his 12th goal of the year, giving PA a 2-1 lead.
From there, they never looked back, as Cossette scored his first of three goals in the third period shorthanded. Van Taylor led an odd man rush and kept the puck, taking a shot that was stopped by Fetcher, but Cossette was able to bury the rebound, putting the Mintos on top by a pair with 11:11 to go.
With 7:36 to go, Ryland Martin led another odd man rush and he too kept the puck. Martin sniped a shot over Fetcher’s glove and under the crossbar, making it a 4-1 Minto lead.
Just 1:36 later, the Mintos had their third 2 on 1 break of the third period. Van Taylor skated down the right wing with the puck, and sent a perfect pass to the tape of Cossette, and he redirected it home, scoring his second of the night to make it a 5-1 lead.
Moose Jaw had an opportunity to set up in the offensive zone on a powerplay with just under six minutes to play. They decided to pull the goalie for the extra attacker, but it didn’t pay off, as a turnover led to Cossette breaking down the ice and scoring his third of the night, putting the game even more out of reach at 6-1.
“He’s our goal scorer,” Leonard said of Cossette. “He’s got to be that guy. We rely on him night after night. He’s the top point guy, and it was nice to see him fight through tonight, and pucks started to go in for him. You talk about winning battles, and he was probably a leader in that department.”
Jayden Kraus made 24 stops on 25 shots, picking up his fifth win of the season as the Mintos improved to 11-7-0-1 on the season.
The Mintos welcome the Saskatoon Blazers to the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday night, and both Leanoard and Cossette know that consistency will need to be present.
“We talked about consistency tonight,” Leonard said. “That’s something that’s been lacking in our game. Some nights we’re as good as anybody and the next night we don’t show up. We had a flat game in Saskatoon last night, and we had a good one tonight, so hopefully we can carry that into Wednesday.”
“We know Saskatoon is a fast team,” Cossette added. “We have to come out physical and get on them right away. The first period will be big for us.”
Wednesday’s puck drop is at 7pm.