For the second straight game, the Prince Albert Mintos had to dig themselves out of a two goal deficit, but this time the Notre Dame Hounds were more than up for the challenge.
Fresh of a come-from-behind victory over Swift Current on Saturday, the Mintos gave up two goals in the first minute of the game on route to a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame on Sunday.
Andrew Stuckless led the way with a goal and an assist for the Hounds, while Jared Picklyk make 23 saves to secure the win. Josh Peppler and Chase Bertholet scored for Prince Albert, while goalie Joel Favreau made 24 saves.
Mintos coach Danton Danielson said he liked his team’s effort, but couldn’t overcome a few temporary breakdowns.
“The game kind of boiled down to some bad moments,” Danielson said afterwards. “Not really even bad stretches, I didn’t think, but just some plays where there was a little lapse.”
The Hounds scored just 10 seconds into the game following a turnover in the Prince Albert end. Stuckless corralled the puck in the slot following a bad bounce and fired it over Favreau’s glove hand for a quick 1-0 lead.
The visitors extended the lead 43 seconds later. Thomas Chafe’s wrist shot handcuffed Favreau and fluttered into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Despite finding themselves in an early hole, the Mintos recovered and played a hard-checking game for the rest of the period.
“Obviously, it’s a kind of an unfortunate, maybe not well thought through play right there in the first 10 seconds, and they get one,” Danielson said. “Then they get one again. I’ll have to watch the video to see what even happened on the second one, but they got another one there quick and then we’re in a hole. But, from that point forward I thought we were good.”
Prince Albert rallied in the third thanks to some fortunate puck luck of their own. Peppler’s shot from the side boards caught Picklyk off guard and bounced of his pad and into the net to make it 2-1. Bertholet then tied it at two when he fired a one-timer through past a heavily screened Picklyk near the midway point of the second.
The two teams seemed destined to head into the third period tied, but a slashing penalty to Peppler with 1:16 to play gave Notre Dame an opportunity they eagerly took advantage of. Hounds forward Trey Funk tipped in a point shot with just three seconds to play in the period, giving Notre Dame the lead for good.
“A player takes a bad penalty at the end of the second period and then an individual on the PK makes kind of a soft play to not get in a shooting lane and then they’re up going into the third,” Danielson said. “That’s a bad goal to have to give up late in the second period when your team’s playing pretty well and you think you have a chance in the third.”
The Hounds increased their lead with 4:22 to play when Connor Keough was left all alone in front and slapped a one-timer into the top left hand corner.
Any hope of a Minto comeback ended when Bertholet took a cross-checking penalty with 48 seconds left in the game.
The loss ends Prince Albert’s three game winning streak, and means they fall two points behind the Hounds and Saskatoon Blazers for fourth place in the SMAAAHL standings. Their next game is on Thursday, Feb. 6 when they take on the Beardy’s Blackhawks at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.