Mintos take care of Stars

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Mintos captain Alex Ozar and teammate Logan Cox skates past the bench after Ozar scored his first of the season Thursday.

The Prince Albert Mintos ended a two-game losing streak in convincing fashion Thursday.

Thanks to a trio of goals in the first and second periods, the Mintos cruised to a 7-1 triumph over the Battlefords Stars at the Art Hauser Centre and improved their record to 10-5 in the process.

“We moved the puck well early and came out strong in the first period,” Mintos head coach Ken Morrison said. “The guys made a couple of nice moves out there and that allowed us go those goals on the board.”

“We were coming off of a couple of tough losses to two really good teams (the Tisdale Trojans and the Regina Pat Canadians) so we knew that we had to come out strong tonight against a team that was lower than us in the standings,” Mintos defenceman and captain Alex Ozar added. “Once we started to bury our chances, that really got our confidence going.”

If there was one downside from the contest, which saw the Mintos outshoot the Stars by a 53-24 margin, it was the fact that the side got into a few ‘bad habits’ according to Morrison.

“Once we pulled away, the game kind of deteriorated a little bit,” Morrison said. “Things became pretty scrambley out there and there were a number of penalties that killed the flow of the game.

“I think that will make it a bit of a tough challenge for our next game as we try to get back to playing a full 60 minutes.”

That next contest, which will be on the road Saturday against the Beardy’s Blackhawks, will be a big one for the team as they try to solidify a berth in the Mac’s Midget Tournament in Calgary over Christmas.

“One of our goals for the first half was to be in the top five in the standings at the time they start to select the teams that go to Calgary,” Ozar said.

“When Battlefords started to get into penalty trouble, we didn’t want to do anything that would cause us to lose one of our guys.”

Portland Winterhawks prospect Gabe Klassen led the way with a four-assist performance, while Kelowna Rockets draft pick Turner McMillen scored twice.

Medicine Hat Tigers prospect Ashton Ferster, Dawson Springer and Ozar had a goal and assist each, with Ozar’s second period marker being the first of the season for the Saskatoon Blades draft pick.

“Finally,” Ozar smiled. “To be honest though, I wasn’t too worried about not having scored yet as I felt like the goals would come eventually.”

“He might have just one goal so far, but Alex’s has had a ton of assists (10) and he’s been doing a great job out there when comes to running the power play,” Morrison added. “He knows what’s expected from us and he’s done great job of leading by example for our younger guys.”

Prince Albert Raiders prospect Cohner Saleski has a pair of assists in the triumph, which saw Spokane Chiefs draft pick Logan Cox and Red Deer Rebels prospect Chase Bertholet also find the back of the net.

Regina Pats prospect Carter Woodside made 23 saves in the contest and had a shutout bid going until the final minute of regulation, when Shayde Peterson got the Stars on the board.

Joseph Young made 46 saves for the visitors, who have lost their last five games and sit in 11th place in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League standings with a 2-11-1-0 record.

With their triumph Thursday night, the Mintos have acclimated 20 points and are tied with the 10-4 Swift Current Legionnaires and the 9-2-1-1 Tisdale Trojans for second place in the league table with 20 points.

Following Saturday’s matchup with the 6-5-3-0 Blackhawks, the Mintos will return home for a rare Monday afternoon affair with the 1-16 Yorkton Maulers.

The opening faceoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.