Mintos take early lead in SMAAAHL standings thanks to weekend winning streak

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Prince Albert Mintos celebrate a goal during SMAAAHL action on Oct. 15 at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Mintos made the most of a packed weekend schedule, rattling off three wins in three days to jump into first place in the SMAAAHL standings.

The Mintos downed the Yorkton Maulers in a pair of road games on Friday and Saturday before returning to the Art Hauser Centre for a 6-1 win over the Notre Dame Hounds on Sunday. Mintos head coach Tim Leonard credited his team’s work ethic, conditioning, and special teams play for the success.

“It was a tough schedule, but we came out, had a good game Friday night in Yorkton, got a power play goal, and it carried over into Saturday,” Leonard said. “Our work ethic was fantastic—systems were really good—and we scored again on the powerplay that game. Then Sunday, quick turnaround back home against Notre Dame, and I thought we’d be a little tired, but the kids had lots of energy. I was proud of them. They played really well. Just a full 60 minutes.”

The Mintos defeated Yorkton 4-2 on Friday thanks to three power play goals, including Owen Nelson’s game winner halfway through the third period.

The two teams were tied at two after the first period in Saturday’s rematch before the Mintos blew the game open with four second period goals on route to a 7-3 win.

Back home in Prince Albert, the Mintos never trailed, building up a 4-0 lead before Nortre Dame could get on the board, and cruising to a 6-1 victory.

““Our conditioning’s pretty good,” Leonard said. “Terry Lange does a fantastic job with our kids on off-ice training, so we’re going in the right direction. We skated a full 60 minutes on Sunday. The kids wanted it and were determined and played a great game.”

Brady Holtvogt and Joshua Henry split the goaltending duties in Yorkton. Henry stopped 20 shots to earn the 4-2 win on Friday, while Holtvogt made 24 saves in the 7-3 win on Saturday.

Holtvogt was back in the net on Sunday, stopping 29 shots for the victory.

The trifecta of victories catapulted the Mintos into top spot in the SMAAAHL, five points ahead of the second place logjam where four clubs are tied with 10 points each. They have a chance to extend their first place lead on Wednesday when they travel south for a date with the Saskatoon Blazers, who currently sit second last in the league with five points, but have only played four games compared to Prince Albert’s 10.

Leonard said the club needs to be on an even keel heading into Wednesday’s game.

“It’s never too high, never too low,” he said. “We enjoyed the weekend, but it gets wiped clean and then we’ve got a big game ahead of us Wednesday.

“I think that’s the best thing about our league: there are no easy nights and it makes for better hockey players. We’ll go down there and we’ll give it our best.”

Puck drops between the Mintos and Blazers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the SaskTel Centre.