Last-second heroics

The Prince Albert Mintos beat the Saskatoon Contacts 4-3 in a shootout at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday night. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Mintos come from behind to defeat Saskatoon in a shootout

The fate of the game changed at the last possible moment.

Connor Pyne tied the game with 1.3 seconds left in regulation and Cael Zimmerman scored the winner in the shootout as the Prince Albert Mintos defeated the visiting Saskatoon Contacts 4-3 at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday night.

Mintos coach Ken Morrison said, “It was probably a good game to watch.”

“It’s a huge win,” he remarked after the match.

“The guys played hard in Tisdale the other night and it’s nice to put a couple games together instead of win one, lose one, win one, lose one. So hopefully we can kind of get on a roll here… It’s always a nice win when you can come back and beat a good team.”

Saskatoon’s Chance Adrian opened the scoring in the first, putting the Contacts up 1-0. Mintos leading scorer Logan Barlage responded for his team in the second period with a shorthanded tally, putting an end to a two-game pointless streak – his longest scoreboard absence in his rookie SMAAAHL year.

“We need out best guys to be our best guys and he’s been pretty consistent all year,” Morrison said of Barlage.

“He’s learning he’s got to move the puck. Sometimes he hangs on to it a little too much and other teams give him a lot of attention. You notice when he gets the puck there’s two guys coming to him and they’re making life tough on him, so I thought he did a better job in the third of giving the puck up and then working to get it back and he’s got to keep doing that.”

Late in the second period P.A. rookie defenceman Braden Schneider was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing Contact player Ethan Hill, who had to be helped off the ice once play was stopped.

“(Schneider)’s young and he can hit hard and that’s part of his game. He’s just learning when to pick his spots and when not to,” Morrison said.

“He’s just got to play smart.”

In the third period the Contacts pulled ahead 3-1 with two consecutive goals by Quinton Ong and Brodie Girod. Zimmerman replied for the Mintos 36 seconds after Girod’s goal to pull his team to within one.

With less than one minute remaining in regulation and the Mintos trailing 3-2, Morrison pulled his goalie and called a timeout to give his players a bit of a breather and ensure they knew their assignments for the final push.

P.A. forward Pyne was sent onto the ice for the final minute. He said the message on the bench was, “Just keep going, the game’s not over ‘til it’s over so you always keep pushing and just get out there and work and try and score. Try and get that goal.”

After winning the faceoff in the Saskatoon end the Mintos swarmed the crease and Pyne put the puck past goalie Rayce Ramsay with less than two seconds left on the clock to send the game to overtime.

“I was kind of late getting out there so I just skated right into it, but it was kind of a simple chip by Barlage there and I just kind of banged ‘er in,” he said.

The extra frame wasn’t enough to decide a winner so the game went to a shootout. Barlage and Contact Eric McNeilly scored for their respective teams. It all came down to Zimmerman, with the game-deciding puck at the end of his stick and a familiar face at the end of the rink.

“I played with (Ramsay) in spring hockey for quite a few years so I kind of knew what he was like,” Zimmerman said.

“I’ve kind of got one move that I stick to and coming down I saw a little opening and it just happened to go in.

The Mintos’ next game is this Saturday in Shellbrook where they will take on Beardy’s Blackhawks. Puck drop is 4 p.m.


Game Summary

Prince Albert 4, Saskatoon 3 (SO)

First Period

  1. Saskatoon, Adrian 11 (unassisted) 12:25

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Barlage 23 (Robertson, Matechuk) 13:08 (sh)

Third Period

  1. Saskatoon, Ong 22 (Thackeray, McNeilly) 6:36 (pp)
  2. Saskatoon, Girod 9 (Morozoff, Thackeray) 11:35
  3. Prince Albert, Zimmerman 5 (Matechuk, Sopotyk) 12:11
  4. Prince Albert, Pyne 7 (Zimmerman, Barlage) 19:58 (pp)

Shootout: Prince Albert – Logan Barlage (score), Kyrell Sopotyk (miss), Cael Zimmerman (score); Saskatoon – Quinton Ong (miss), Eric McNeilly (score), Chance Adrian (miss).

Goalies: Prince Albert –­ Tye Morin, 32 saves (W, 10-10-0); Saskatoon – Rayce Ramsay, 37 saves (L, 9-6-0).

Stars of the Game: Home Star – Cael Zimmerman, Away Star – Rayce Ramsay.