Mintos fall to Blazers in first meeting of regular season

Carter Hanson scored his first goal of the season in the Mintos 5-1 loss to the Blazers on Sunday in Saskatoon. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Special teams played a big factor in the Prince Albert Mintos 5-1 loss to the Blazers on Sunday in Saskatoon.

The Blazers scored three times on seven powerplay opportunities, while the Mintos went 0/7. Mintos head coach Tim Leonard said that’s what cost his team the game.

“Their powerplay is very efficient,” Leonard said. “Our penalty kill had been really good until Sunday, but when the effort isn’t there, it’s going to hurt you.”

Trae Wilke got the party started for the Blazers on the powerplay. He opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season with 6:09 left in the first period. The Blazers extended their lead again with 1:58 remaining in the period. Wilke struck again on the power play for his fifth of the season, putting Saskatoon up 2-0.

The damage wasn’t done yet, as with just 10 seconds left in the opening frame, the Blazers brought the puck into Minto territory. Raiden Zacharias received a feed from teammate Cole Peardon, and put another one past Minto starter Ty Shumanski. Saskatoon took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, leading in shots 14-8.

In the second period, the Blazers struck 6:30 in. Zacharias sent a pass to Mitch McEachern, who then fed Tyson Yaremko, who ripped a shot past Shumanski, putting the home team up 4-0 on their third powerplay goal of the game, and scoring his team leading 13th goal of the year.

Liam Rodman made it a 5-0 game with 5:45 left in the middle period, and the Blazers took that lead into the third period.

Carter Hanson scored the only goal for the Mintos on Sunday, taking a pass from Travis Swanson and burying a puck past Blazer keeper Alex Garrett. Hanson picked up his first goal of the season, finally getting the monkey off the back after 10 games with no goals and just one assist.

That’s as close as the Mintos would come, as the Blazers came out victorious with a 5-1 final. Saskatoon (10-2-0-0) leapfrogged Prince Albert (9-5-0-1) in the standings, and now sit one point ahead of the Mintos.

“We just didn’t come to play,” Leonard said. “We didn’t have a lot of jump, and we didn’t win many battles. Saskatoon is a highly skilled team, and we let them roam around.”

The Mintos are back in Saskatoon on Tuesday, but against a new opponent. They’ll take on the Contacts for the first time this season, and for Leonard, he wants to see a better jump from his group early in the game.

“If you’re not ready to go from the start, you’re going to pay the price,” he said. “That’s what happened against the Blazers. Hopefully we learned a lesson.

“Every team is a good team. We’ll show some video and hopefully we can figure it out and get rewarded, because it isn’t going to get any easier. Playing the Contacts in their barn is tough, so we’ll have a good skate in practice and sort things out.”

The Contacts (6-5-0-3) are enjoying a three game winning streak, including a 4-0 win in Regina, handing the Pat Canadians just their second regulation loss this season. It will be another tough test for this Mintos group, and they’ll look to get back in the win column on Tuesday night.

Puck drop from Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon is at 8:30 pm.

Twitter: @kyle_kosowan•