The Prince Albert Mintos have a chance to jump up two places in the SMU18AAAHL standings on Wednesday night, but have a difficult task ahead of them to do it.
They welcome the Saskatoon Blazers to the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday in their second meeting of the season. The last time these teams met, the Blazers won by a convincing 5-1 margin on Nov. 14.
One thing the Mintos have been preaching over the last few weeks is consistency, something the team has struggled with all season. Head coach Tim Leonard is confident that if they continue to show up for every game, they will be a dangerous team down the stretch.
“Some nights we’re as good as anybody, and the next night we don’t show up for whatever reason,” Leonard said. “If you only get half the guys going, you’re not going to have success in this league. We had a flat game in Saskatoon last time we played them, and hopefully we can carry the momentum from our last win into Wednesday.”
Leonard said Mintos “didn’t show up” when the two teams met last time in Saskatoon. With home ice advantage this time around, they’ll hope to turn the tables and grab a big win.
“Hopefully we learned a lesson in that game,” Leonard said. “If you’re not ready to go you’re going to pay the price. To be the best in this league you can’t just show up and expect to win.”
Last weekend, Prince Albert put in one of their best performances of the season on Saturday night, downing the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 6-1. Led by Jacob Cossette, who scored three goals in the third period for his first career hat trick in the league, the Mintos improved to 11-7-0-1.
With a win on Wednesday, they can leapfrog both the Warriors and Saskatoon Contacts, and move into fifth place in the league. The Blazers currently holding the fourth spot with a 13-3-0-1 record, but are coming off of back to back losses. A 2-0 defeat to the Notre Dame Hounds and a 5-4 shootout setback against the Warman Wildcats gave them their first two game losing streak of the season. Prince Albert can pull to within two points of the Blazers with a regulation victory.
The Mintos played some of the best hockey of the season following their loss to the Blazers. They narrowly lost to the Hounds in a wild 4-3 finish and beat the Regina Pat Canadians the very next day in overtime. The Hounds and Pat C’s are second and third in the league respectively, and the Mintos put in strong efforts in both games, which were both played on the road.
Wednesday night’s affair at the Art Hauser Centre between the Mintos and Blazers will be a difficult night. In light of the tragic passing of Matt Swaby over the weekend, the Mintos organization will be holding a pre game ceremony in honour of Swaby and his family. Swaby spent two seasons playing with the Mintos from 2002-04. He also played in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans for three seasons from 2004-07, before becoming the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2007-08 season.
Wednesday night’s puck drop is at 7pm.