Mintos outpower shorthanded Maulers with strong 5-0 shutout win

Minto forward Karson Blanchette crashes the net for a shot on goal in the first period against the Yorkton Maulers on Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Five different Mintos found the back of the net while Jayden Kraus picked up his second shutout of the season, as Prince Albert blanked the Yorkton Maulers 5-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Art Hauser Centre. With only 13 skaters on the Yorkton bench, Mintos head coach Tim Leonard said it was a lot easier to control the game from start to finish.

“Those guys were a little tired coming here today, and we wanted to play a fast paced hockey game,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of that for most of the game. We battled all game and we pulled through.”

Ashton Tait opened the scoring 4:03 into the first period with a shot near the low slot. A loose puck came out to the Minto rookie, and he took a half slap shot that fooled John MacPherson five hole. Receiving a pass from beneath the goal line from Carter Hanson, Tait scored his 26th goal of the season to make it a 1-0 lead.

Zach Bansley added to that lead with 6:54 to go in the first. Less than a minute after a Yorkton penalty expired, Bansley was left alone in the slot and he ripped a shot from point blank that also beat MacPherson. The Mauler goaltender got a piece of the shot, but it just trickled past the goal line to make it a 2-0 Minto lead. Tait was right on the doorstep trying to bang the puck past the line for his second of the contest, but was too late., as Bansley notched his 15th goal of the year.

With 1:33 left in the first, Ryan Lepitzki got in on the fun, banging home a puck on the doorstep making it a three goal lead. From the point, Rhett Ravndahl took a shot that was deflected, but the puck came right to the stick of Lepitzki, who was able to finish off the second chance opportunity. After a dominant first period leading 21-4 in shots, Prince Albert took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

Jacob Cossette made it a 4-0 game on a shorthanded odd man rush. Danton Cox chipped the puck down the left wall and broke in with Cossette, sending a pass across the Mintos’ leading scorer. With MacPherson committed to the shooter, Cossette had a wide open net to one time a shot, and he did just that.

Rhett Ravndahl made it a five spot in the third period with a shot from the point. The Minto captain let a wrist shot go through traffic that went untouched on the way to the back of the net. With all sorts of bodies in front, MacPherson had no chance to see the shot, and it became a 5-0 game.

Kraus stood tall in goal all game long, making 20 saves for the shutout, as the Mintos improved to 23-15-0-2, tying the Saskatoon Contacts for fifth place in the SMU18AAAHL standings.

“Our efforts been there since Christmas,” Leonard added. “I think we’ve been pretty good. Some nights pucks don’t go in, but today we got the job done.”

Prince hits the road for three straight games starting on Wednesday in the Battlefords. They return home on Feb 21 to host the Saskatoon Contacts in their final regular season game of the year.