Mintos return home to host Warriors for first time this season

Ty Shumanski was the emergency back up goalie for the Warriors on Wednesday. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

For the first time since Oct. 31, the Prince Albert Mintos will play a game at home on Friday night. They welcome the Moose Jaw U18 AAA Warriors to the Art Hauser Centre for the first time this season.

The Mintos are fresh off of a 2-1 overtime win in Regina against the league’s top team, and are feeling good heading into Friday’s matchup.

“We haven’t seen Moose Jaw yet this year so we don’t know a whole lot about them,” Mintos head coach Tim Leonard said. “They’re usually a tight checking, hard working team so we have to come and be ready to play. We’re at home so that should be an advantage, and we have to take care of that and make sure we get the job done.”

Friday’s game will mark the first time the Mintos have played at home since Halloween. However, Leonard said that can be a positive thing since it can help teams bond and get closer.

“We’ve put on a few miles here lately, which is good,” he said. “The boys get to spend a little more time together and have different roommates on different nights. They get to know everyone better and get closer. It was fun being on the road and I think the kids gelled. They did extremely well, but it’s going to be nice coming back home and playing where we’re familiar.”

The Warriors currently hold a one point edge over the Mintos, sitting in fifth place in the SMU18AAAHL standings. Moose Jaw is coming off of a 4-1 win on Tuesday over the league’s third place team Notre Dame Hounds.

Moose Jaw has seen balanced scoring this season, with 10 out of 18 players having 10 or more points, compared to the Mintos’ four players. Rowan Calvert leads the way for the Warriors with 23 points (11G, 12A), including a goal against the Hounds on Tuesday. Right behind him is Jackson Allan with 20 points (8G, 12A). He had a goal and an assist in the win against Notre Dame.

With 76 team goals this season, the Warriors are third in the league in terms of offensive. Only the Notre Dame Hounds (92) and Warman Wildcats (87) have scored more times.

If there’s one thing for the Mintos to capitalize on this weekend against the Warriors, it will be the powerplay. Moose Jaw has taken the fifth most penalties in the league so far this season with 250 PIM in 18 games. Prince Albert’s powerplay trended at 17% during their road trip (6/35), but at home this season they have been better, scoring on 23% of their powerplays (9/39), including four straight home games with at least one goal on the man advantage (5/22 in that stretch).

The Mintos and Warriors will see each other in back to back days, as they face off on Friday and Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

Puck drop for both games is at 7pm.

News and notes:

Despite being property of the Portland Winterhawks, Ty Shumanski was in the lineup for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors against the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night. Shumanski served as an emergency backup goalie for the evening since Warriors backup Jackson Unger is in Ottawa for the Capital City Challenge.

Shumanski was a big factor in the Mintos win over the Regina Pat Canadians last Sunday. He made 23 saves on 24 shots as the Mintos improved to 10-6-0-1 on the season. Good news for the Mintos as Shumanski will be rejoining Prince Albert this weekend.