Mintos drop back-and-forth affair in Game 2 loss to Regina

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Prince Albert Minto bench during Game 2 of their first round playoff series on Mar. 5, 2023

The Prince Albert Mintos gave the Regina Pat Canadians everything they could handle on Sunday afternoon, but couldn’t walk away with a victory as Regina took a 4-3 Game 2 victory to lead the best of five series two games to none.

Minto head coach Tim Leonard says Prince Albert gave it their all in the loss.

“I thought we played really well. They are a very good hockey club, but our guys answered the bell. We’re short some guys, but we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We went out and worked hard. Unfortunately it was a bounce that cost the game, but I’m pretty proud of the guys.”

It would take just 3:03 for the Mintos to take an early Game 2 lead. Logan Pickford would strike for his third goal of the series to give Prince Albert the early 1-0 advantage. Owen Nelson would pick up the lone assist.

Prince Albert would outshoot Regina 8-3 in the first period.

Regina would come up with several chances in the second period, but Jayden Kraus would be up to the challenge standing tall in the Minto crease.

After putting a total of 16 shots on goal in the second period, it would be the 17th Regina shot of the period that would find the back of the net with just 7.1 seconds to go in the period. Ryan Zaremba would score his second goal of the series to knot the score at 1-1 going into the second intermission. Raider prospect Luke Moroz and Casey Brown would assist on the play.

Regina would take the lead 2:56 into the third period as a sharp angle shot from Ryan McDonald would beat Jayden Kraus and find the back of the net to give the Pat Canadians a 2-1 lead. The goal was unassisted.

After a flurry of activity in front of Regina netminder Taylor Tabashniuk, the Mintos would tie the game as Caden Dunn would put the rebound into the back of the net with 12:34 to go in regulation. Raydr Walington picked up the lone assist.

The crowd became a factor in the third period and Leonard says it was great to have support from the Prince Albert community.

“It’s awesome. These kids deserve it. They’ve come a long way this year. They play a very entertaining brand of hockey and it was good that we got the support from PA. The kids definitely feed off it and I’m glad people are coming out and supporting us.”

The Pat Canadians would strike back as Koen Senft would restore the Regina lead at 3-2 with his first goal of the series with 9:44 to go in regulation. Noel Englot and Colten Bridgeman assisted on the play.

The back and forth nature of the third period would continue as Konnor Watson would find the back of the net with 6:17 to go to knot up the score once again at 3-3. The goal was unassisted.

After a tripping penalty against Prince Albert’s Caden Dunn, Noel Englot would give the Pat Canadians the lead for good with just 1:47 left in the third period. Matthew Ronn and Noah Stevenson would assist on the play.

Taylor Tabashniuk would make 23 saves on route to the victory for Regina while Jayden Kraus would also make 23 saves for the Mintos in the loss.

The Mintos now have their backs against the wall facing elimination. Leonard says he has faith in his hockey club in Game 3.

“We’re 7 playing 2, we’re the underdog. It’s the playoffs and everybody starts with zeroes. We’re going to go down to Regina, I believe in these kids, they’re a fantastic group. We’re going to go down there and play a good game.” 

The Mintos will face elimination in Game 3 of the best of five series on Tuesday night in Regina. Puck drops at 7 p.m.