Mintos run at Mac’s Tournament ends with quarter-final loss

An excellent run at the Mac’s Midget Tournament ended one day earlier than the Prince Albert Mintos would have hoped for.

After finishing first in Pool 1 with a 2-0-2 mark, the Mintos dropped a 5-2 decision in the quarter-final round to the Saskatoon Blazers at the Max Bell Centre in Calgary on Tuesday morning.

“We didn’t like our game in the first despite having a 1-0 lead, but I thought we had a really good second period, even though the Blazers won the period and had tied things up at two,” Mintos head coach Danton Danielson said.

“We just ran out of gas in the third period. We were relying on a short bench this week due to injuries, so that caught up with us a little bit, and we just didn’t have much left in the tank as we played our fifth game in five days. It wasn’t quite the finish we wanted, but full credit goes to the Blazers as they deserved the win.”

Austin McLean had both goals for the Mintos, who received a 33-save showing from Joel Favreau.

Liam Bell scored twice for the Blazers, who also got offensive contributions from Nolan Flamand, Parker Lalonde and Will Blake.

Despite the loss, it was still a successful tournament for the Mintos, who were making their first trip to Calgary since 2017 and reached the quarter-final round for the first time since 2016.

“We talked after the game about the amount of gratitude that we all have for the opportunity and the experience that we had here this week,” Danielson said. “We had lots of exciting games and challenges along the way.

“I think the highlights were the game against the AK Bars Academy (from Russia) as we were able to pull out a tie in an incredible atmosphere at the Father David Bauer on Sunday, and then our game on Monday against the Calgary Buffaloes as we played really well to earn a spot in the playoffs.”

Members of the Mintos were also honoured for their efforts during the tournament, as Favreau was named the event’s top goaltender and earned a spot on the first all star team.

Blueliner Chase Pauls was also named a first team all star, forward Chase Bertholet made the second all star team and forward Dawson Brace received a $1,500 scholarship.

“Those are all things that reflect well on our entire organization,” Danielson said. “It’s tough for guys to get those individual awards if there isn’t a great support network around them, which is their families, their teammates and the entire community.”

The Mintos are now off until Thursday, Jan. 9, as they will return to Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League action with a road game against the Beardy’s Blackhawks.