Ryland Martin and Van Taylor both scored goals, and Jayden Kraus made 16 saves, but it wasn’t enough as the Prince Albert Mintos fell 3-2 to the Saskatoon Contacts on Wednesday.
Zach Moore, Braden Nienaber and Carter Mason had the goals for the Contacts, who were missing their most potent offensive weapon after Berkley Catton was called up to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.
“I thought we played good. The game plan drifted there for a little bit on us. We’re just not getting much for breaks,” Mintos coach Tim Leonard said afterwards. “I know you’ve got to work for everything you earn, but man, we don’t get much for puck bounces.”
The Mintos came out flying, outshooting the Contacts 14-4 in the first period, and 34-19 overall, but were unable to beat Saskatoon netminder Chase Wutzke. Leonard credited Wutzke for keeping the game scoreless through the first period.
“We fired a lot of rubber, and hats off to him,” Leonard said. “We fired enough rubber tonight, I thought, to win the game and we came up short.”
The Contacts opened the scoring nearly five minutes into the second when Moore pounced on a loose puck during a goalmouth scramble and fired a shot past a sprawled Kraus on the power play.
Saskatoon extended their lead three-and-a-half minutes later when Nienaber corralled a loose puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot over Kraus’s glove.
The Mintos responded with a power play goal of their own with 8:31 left to play in the period. Jacob Cossette’s pass deflected off a Contact penalty killer’s stick and right onto Ryland Martin’s. The Minto forward used a quick bit of stickhandling to pull Wutzke out of position and lift a backhand into the net.
Carter Mason restored Saskatoon’s two goal lead with 4:42 to play in the second with a quick wrist shot from the slot. However, Van Taylor pulled Prince Albert within one less than two minutes later when he fired a rebound past Wutzke to make it 3-2.
That was all the scoring either team could muster. Action slowed down in the third period due to a large number of icings, and while the Mintos outshot the Contacts 7-4, many of their best chances were blocked.
“They probably blocked about 10 shots in that third period, and again, hats off to them,” Leonard said. “They’re committed. They’re blocking shots for their goalie to help them out. Again, we’re just a bounce away from winning hockey games, and sooner or later it will come our way.”
The Mintos are back at it again on Friday when they take on the Tisdale Trojans at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.
Prince Albert then takes on the Yorkton Maulers on Sunday. Game time is 1:30 p.m.