After dropping a pair of weekend games on the road, the Prince Albert Mintos bounced back in a big way, shutting out the Battlefords Stars 6-0 Wednesday night at the Art Hauser Centre.
After losing 5-0 and 5-1 to the Notre Dame Hounds and Moose Jaw Warriors, head coach Tim Leonard was pleased with the performance on Wednesday.
“We came prepared to play tonight,” he said. “That was the biggest difference from this weekend. We had a tough couple games, but we had a good skate yesterday, and I was pretty happy with the response tonight.”
Carter Hanson opened the scoring with a wrister from the slot early in the first period. After intercepting a Stars pass, Hanson found himself alone in front, wiring his third goal of the season past Rhett Harkot, putting the Mintos up 1-0 with 17:24 still to go in the first.
Chase Hansen added two goals of his own in the first. With 11:32 to go, Hansen let a shot go from the point that was heading wide, but deflected off a Stars stick and into the net. Just 1:21 later, Hansen put the home team up 3-0, for his third goal of the season. The Mintos went into the first intermission with the three goal lead, and a 21-2 shots on goal advantage.
“We played hard and outworked them,” Hansen said. “We were first to pucks and forced them in their zone a lot, and we were able to create a lot of chances.”
In the second period, Ryland Martin took a pass from Ryan Lepitzki and broke down the middle of the Battlefords zone. He zipped a shot top shelf past Harkot, knocking the water bottle off the net. His fifth of the year gave the Mintos a 4-0 lead with 9:28 left in the middle frame.
With just under six minutes left in the middle frame, Jacob Cossette got in on the scoring fun. He found a loose puck at the side of the Stars crease and tucked it home, scoring his 14thgoal of the year, tying Ashton Tait for the team lead in goals. Prince Albert went into the third period with a 4-0 lead.
Scott McLean had his fair share of chances in the game to score his first SMU18AAAHL goal, but was held off the scoresheet until the 17:44 mark of the third. With the Stars hemmed in their own zone once again, McLean chased a puck in the slot and ripped a shot that found the back of the net. His first goal put the excited Mintos up 5-0, and that would be the final score.
Jayden Kraus had a quiet night in goal for Prince Albert, but he made all the saves he had to, making 18 stops for his first shutout of the season.
“It was a big game,” Leonard said. “We talked about coming out early, and we really wanted to control the puck. We did a really good job of that in the first period. We didn’t score on all of our chances, but we had a lot of them, which was a good thing.”
With the defence stepping up tonight as well, led by Hansen’s two goals, Leonard wasn’t shy to talk highly of the Mintos core.
“We have a great d-core, that’s no secret. I don’t mind them jumping up into the play. I want to make sure that we cover our d-zone first, and look after our own end. After that they can go have some fun.”
The Mintos have Thursday off before hosting the Notre Dame Hounds on Friday night.
Puck drop is at 7pm.