Mintos halfway through their longest road swing of the season

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Mintos netminder Joel Favreau, seen here during a game against the Saskatoon Blazers in November, has been carrying the load in goal for the team while Spencer Welke recovers from an injury.

It’s been an up and down run for the Prince Albert Mintos since their trip to the quarter-finals of the Mac’s Midget Tournament in Calgary at the end of December.

After starting a seven-game road swing before Christmas with a 4-2 setback against the Tisdale Trojans on Friday, Dec. 20, the Mintos rattled off 2-1 and 4-3 wins over the Beardy’s Blackhawks last Thursday and the Swift Current Legionnaires on Saturday.

Their winning ways came to an end on Sunday, as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox.

“I would say that it’s been a little bit incontinent for us over the last few games,” Mintos head coach Danton Danielson said. “It’s more with lapses here or there instead of having a good game or a bad game.”

An example of that came in the start of Sunday’s contest against the Hounds as the Mintos were down 2-0 after five minutes of play.

“That was pretty much the difference in the game as it was pretty even until they got a couple of empty netters late,” Danielson said.

“We were really flat and we had some unacceptable individual errors that were mostly due to laziness and a lack of focus. You can’t let that happen against good teams or you’ll end up losing.”

Kody Willick had the lone goal for the 20-12-1-0 Mintos, who received a 37-save performance from Joel Favreau.

Jhett Larson scored three goals and had an assist to lead the way for the 20-8 Hounds, who were one point behind the Mintos for fifth place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League standings heading into Thursday’s slate of games.

Saturday’s game in Swift Current was a dramatic affair as Turner McMillen tied things up with less than a second to go in the third period.

Josh Peppler and Dawson Springer would then score in the shootout to give the Mintos the victory.

“There were a few less down periods in that game compared to Sunday, but then we had a significant stretch in the third where they were able to take the lead,” Danielson said. “We got a little bit lucky to tie it late and then win the game in a shootout.”

McMillen also had an assist for the Mintos, who also got goals from Gage Helm and Chase Bertholet to go along with a 30-save showing by Favreau.

Brandon Von Hagen, Riley Dekowny and Quinn Strange countered for the 15-12-2-1 Legionnaires, while Jacob Herman stopped 28 shots.

Favreau, who was named the top goaltender at the Mac’s Tournament, picked up right where he left off in Calgary with a 49-save performance last Thursday against the Blackhawks.

“We were down from a lineup standpoint with (Chase) Pauls and Bertholet both with their WHL teams (the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Winnipeg Ice) so having those guys away from us left some big holes out there,” Danielson said. “I thought we did a really good job of grinding that one out.”

Helm lit the lamp twice in the third period to give the Mintos the victory over the 10-18-0-1 Blackhawks, who got a goal from Holden Doell and a 32-save outing from Matthew Hennessey.

The Mintos will continue their slate of games away from the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., as they’ll take on the 23-10-1-0 Saskatoon Contacts in a neutral site game in Shellbrook.

“It’s a big honour for us to be involved with the Hockey Day in Shellbrook weekend,” Danielson said. “Shellbrook Minor Hockey is a big feeder system for our team and I think we have four guys that have spent time playing there, so it will be a big day for them.

“It’s also an important game for us as the Contacts are one of our rivals and they are close to the top of the standings right now.”

They will then travel to North Battleford on Sunday to face the 11-18-1-2 Battlefords Stars before wrapping up their road swing next Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against the 16-14-1-0 Trojans.

The Mintos will return to the Art Hauser Centre at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 for a matchup with the Legionnaires.