Van Taylor scored twice and Ashton Tait put in a three point performance as the Prince Albert Mintos eased past the Swift Current Legionnaires 7-3 Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre.
With offensive contributions coming from all four lines in the win, head coach Tim Leonard was happy to see some depth players put up points.
“It was good to see some secondary scoring,” Leonard said. “Instead of having to rely on that top group, other guys chipped in. Taylor banged in two, I thought that was awesome. It’s good for those guys, and maybe we’ll get some confidence and get rolling here.”
Things didn’t start according to plan for the Mintos, with the Legionnaires scoring just 3:11 into the game. Matt Ripplinger was on the doorstep to tap in the rebound after a Nick Smolinski shot came loose in the crease, giving Swift a 1-0 lead.
Prince Albert bounced back right away with a pair of goals 42 seconds apart. First, Karson Blanchette tied the game at 1-1 on a breakaway, slipping a shot five hole on Liam Ernst. Ashton Tait scored to make it a 2-1 game, tallying his first of three points on the night. Simon Garchinski, a 14 year old defenceman who plays on the Martensville Marauders U15 AA team, dressed for the Mintos, filling the absence of Carter Hanson. He picked up an assist on Tait’s goal for his first point in the SMU18AAAHL.
“We started pretty slow,” Minto forward Van Taylor said. “The first five minutes wasn’t the best, but we fought back and kept pushing. We got scored on but we came back and got the two next goals, so that was nice.”
Ripplinger scored another goal in the second period on the powerplay for the Legionnaires, but Danton Cox responded 17 seconds later, restoring Prince Albert’s one goal edge. Zach Bansley struck three minutes later with his 11th of the year, giving the home team a 4-2 lead with 12:13 to go in the period.
Jett Lamb scored for the Legionnaires with 8:58 left in the middle frame, and Van Taylor tallied his first of the night with 4:06 to go, and the Mintos held a 5-3 lead heading into the third.
Midway through the final period, Taylor scored his second of the night, 10 seconds after a Swift penalty had expired. With tired bodies on the ice for both teams after the Mintos controlled the puck in the Legionnaires zone for the entire duration of the man advantage, Taylor capitalized. Travis Swanson’s pass found Taylor right in front of the net and he buried his second goal of the contest, putting Prince Albert on top by three. Taylor had scored just one goal coming into the game.
Ryland Martin rounded out the scoring for the Mintos as they won by a convincing 7-3 margin. Ty Shumanski made 20 saves, as the Mintos improved to 15-11-0-1 on the year.
“The more scoring we can get, the stronger we’ll be,” Leonard said. “(Swift Current) is a good hockey team. We had to be ready to play, and I thought the first five minutes we were a little slow. After that, I thought we got going, and we did pretty good.”
The Mintos play their final game before the Christmas break on Sunday afternoon against the Yorkton Maulers. It will be the first meeting of the season between these two teams.