Mintos pick up point in overtime loss to Stars, playoff seeding remains uncertain

The Prince Albert Mintos and Battlefords Stars in action on Feb. 2. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

While the Prince Albert Mintos fell 1-0 in overtime to the Battlefords Stars on Wednesday night, they were able to pick up an important point in their climb up the SMU18AAAHL standings

The loss moved their record to 23-15-0-3 on the season, and their 49 points is good for a share of fifth place in league standings. A win and two points would have bumped them up into a tie for fourth place with the Regina Pat Canadians, but at this point in the season, this Mintos team will take all the points they can get to position themselves for the playoffs.

Wednesday’s affair at Access Communication Centre was one that saw few penalties, and an even offensive display from both teams. The three penalty calls to the Stars in the second period were the only ones called in the entire game. Ty Shumanski turned aside 33 of 34 shots in the loss, while Stars netminder Rhett Harkot stopped all 28 shots sent his way, picking up his third clean slate of the season.

Easton Adrian was the overtime hero for the Battlefords, scoring the game winning goal with 16 seconds left in the extra frame, sending the Mintos out with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Prince Albert wasn’t the only team that was hungry for points in the game. With the win, the Stars leapfrogged the Swift Current Legionnaires for the eighth and final playoff spot. With a 17-19-0-4 record, the Battlefords can’t finish any higher than eighth place, which would mean a meeting with either the Notre Dame Hounds or Warman Wildcats. The Hounds currently hold the top spot with 65 points (32-8-0-1), but the Wildcats are just six points behind them (29-8-0-1), and also have three games in hand.

The playoff bracket most likely won’t be sorted out until the final game of the regular season, which means the Mintos will keep having to put their best foot forward to make a claim for home ice advantage. The only position that is still up for grabs for Prince Albert is fourth, and they have a pivotal game coming up against the team that holds the final home ice spot, the Pat Canadians.

With the Hounds, Wildcats, and Saskatoon Blazers all guaranteed to finish in the top three, the task will be even more difficult to nab the final top four position. To add onto that, Regina also has four games in hand on the Minto, which makes the chances of them overtaking the Pat C’s very unlikely.

On the other side of the spectrum, Prince Albert can still drop to as far as seventh by the end of the year. The Mintos, Saskatoon Contacts and Moose Jaw Warriors are all in a tie with 49 points. Prince Albert will face both of those teams in their final two games of the season.