Klassen’s OT winner lifts Mintos past Notre Dame

Prince Albert Mintos forward Logan Pickford handles the puck in the offensive zone during SMAAAHL action Oct. 16 at the Art Hauser Centre.

It took an extra frame, but the Prince Albert Mintos got the job done with a 4-3 overtime win over the Notre Dame Hounds in SMAAAHL action Sunday afternoon.

Mintos head coach Tim Leonard said the team played a good 60 minutes.

“ I thought we were solid. We were solid for 60 minutes. We told the kids you got to come prepared to work. Today against a really good team in Notre Dame, that’s a measuring stick because they are always good. I’m very happy with the performance today from the goaltender out, I thought everyone gave us quality minutes.”

Leonard adds that the Mintos are still developing early in the season, but Sunday’s win was a great 

“There’s a big learning curve. There’s lots of new faces to AAA and a lot of guys coming out of Bantam. They’re adapting and they’re a good group. They’re fun to work with, we’ll hit some bumps but we’ll get through it. [This win] does a lot for this group. If we work hard and stick to structure, we’re a pretty good hockey club.”

Prince Albert opened the scoring about halfway through the first period as Carson Olsen potted one past Hounds goaltender Oliver Tuchenhagen.

Antoine Lavigne answered for the Hounds on the power play just over five minutes later after a Scott McClean tripping penalty.

Notre Dame outshot the Mintos 14-8 in the first period

Notre Dame would take the lead just under four minutes into the second as Johnny Lopez beat Minto netminder Brady Holtvogt to give the Hounds a 2-1 advantage.

Just under 10 minutes later, Scott McLean would strike for the Mintos to even up the score at 2-2.

The Mintos would strike less than two minutes later as Konnor Watson would add a short handed goal to give Prince Albert a 3-2 lead.

Notre Dame would even up the score with just under four minutes remaining in the second Joby Baumuller would strike with an even strength goal.

The Mintos outshot the Hounds 16-10 in the middle frame.

The third period saw nothing on the scoresheet on either side, as both teams played well in the defensive zone.

Prince Albert killed off a key 4 minute power play after Carter Cole was sent off for head contact.

The game appeared to be heading to the shootout in the dying seconds of overtime, but the Mintos got one last rush in the dying seconds as Abinet Klassen skated up the right wing and the 16-year-old made no mistake for his first Midget AAA goal and the overtime winner.

Klassen says it was a great moment for his first goal of the season.

“It means a lot. I’m going to keep it for a long time. Hopefully, there is going to be more coming after it.”

After the game, the Mintos passed through a small crowd of younger kids celebrating the team’s win, enthusiastically cheering and high-fiving the players as they walked past into the Minto dressing room. Klassen says he enjoys being a role model to younger hockey players.

“That’s awesome. I love the community, all the kids that are supporting and wanting to be future Mintos. It’s awesome being a role model and showing them how fun it is to be a Minto and that it’s possible if you work hard enough.”

With the win, the Mintos improved to 4-3-0-0 on the season. The Mintos are back in action on Wednesday night at the Art Hauser Centre when they take on the Saskatoon Blazers. Puck drops at 7pm.