Mintos walk away with pair of losses in Estevan

Prince Albert Mintos forward Logan Pickford handles the puck in the offensive zone during SMAAAHL action Oct. 16 at the Art Hauser Centre.

A road trip to Estevan wasn’t kind to the Prince Albert Mintos as they suffered a pair of 4-3 losses to the Bears this weekend.

Mintos head coach Tim Leonard says the team is showing good signs, but mistakes made have been costly.

“We were disappointed. You go on the road, worst case scenario you hope for a split and we didn’t pull that off. We’re still learning. It seems we are outshooting teams; we’re getting some good chances and we are not burying it. When we make a mistake, it seems to end up in the back of our net, (and) that’s not our goalie’s fault.”

It was a strong first period Friday night for the Mintos as they scored twice in the opening frame. Logan Pickford opened the scoring nine minutes into the first period assisted by Carson Olsen and Abinet Klassen.

Estevan would strike back as Carter Skarbon would answer with just over five minutes remaining in the first period to even the game at 1-1.

The Minto power play gave them the lead as Caden Dunn scored with just over a minute remaining in the first period to give the Mintos a 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes.

Estevan would score the lone goal in the second period as Marc Belanger sniped one past Mintos goaltender Jayden Kraus just over six minutes in.

Estevan would take a lead less then five minutes into the third period as Kole Keen found the back of the net for the Bears.

The Mintos would tie the game up at 3-3 with a short-handed goal from Roper Blanchard with just over six minutes left in regulation.

However, the Bears would counter with their own shorthanded goal from Carter Onrait with less then three minutes remaining in the game to give them a 4-3 lead they never would relinquish.

Leonard says that the Mintos have to control the puck in big situations.

“We got to manage the puck better, we have to put in good spots, put it in a better spot then you received it. We’re going to start doing that. We’re young, we don’t have too many returning guys. So, it’s a big change for a lot of the guys that played AA Bantam and Midget. We’ve been working hard; we just need to make smarter choices with the puck.”

Saturday’s action saw a similar box score as the Mintos would strike twice in the opening frame as Van Taylor struck just seven minutes in and Carter Cole scored a short handed goal for Prince Albert. Evhan Allan would answer for Estevan with an unassisted goal with just 1:25 remaining in the first period.

Blaze Gutzke would score the lone second period goal in the contest for the Estevan Bears.

The Mintos would strike to take the lead back early in the third period as Nolan Patterson scored just over thirty seconds in. The Bears would answer with Allan’s second goal of the contest ten minutes later.

Overtime would solve nothing as the Mintos and Bears had to go to the shootout to decide Saturday’s winner.

The three shooters for the Mintos Owen Nelson, Logan Pickford and Konnor Watson couldn’t solve Bears netminder Riley Deck and Evhan Allan recorded the shootout winner for Estevan.

Leonard says the Mintos couldn’t finish on chances to put the Bears away early in the games

“They were almost identical. We had a handful of quality chances early to put them away early when we were ahead. Pucks aren’t going in for us right now, we turn around and make a bad decision with the puck and it turns into an odd man rush. We’re not making teams earn it. If teams score good goals on you, you tip your cap to them. But we’ve got to quit handing stuff over.”

The Mintos are back in action on Wednesday night at the Art Hauser when they welcome the Battlefords Stars.