The Prince Albert Mintos continued their hot start and picked up their eighth victory of the season, downing the Saskatoon Blazers 3-2 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on Wednesday night.
The Minto power play lifted the team to victory as Prince Albert would finish 3 for 6 on the man advantage in the contest.
Prince Albert bench boss Tim Leonard says the speed of the Minto power play has improved as the season has gone on.
“It’s been getting better here as we go. The guys are moving the puck a little quicker. We’re selecting what we want to get done and capitalizing on it. We’re getting lots of quality chances. It’s good to see the kids put in the work, and it’s paying off.”
Prince Albert opened the scoring at the 11:41 mark of the first period whenVan Taylor struck for his second tally of the season on the man advantage. Owen Nelson and Kale Margolis assisted on the play.
The Mintos struck twice in the middle frame, the first coming courtesy of Kale Margolis’ seventh goal of the campaign just 0:35 into the period. Taite Donkin provided the lone helper.
Kelan Simmonds expanded the Minto advantage to 3-0 with his third goal of the season at the 5:28 mark. Jordon Abrametz had the only assist on the play.
Saskatoon pushed back in the third period as Lethbridge Hurricanes 2023 first rounder Dayne Bueker found twine for the fifth time this season on the power play at the 8:58 marker to cut the Blazer deficit to 3-1. Everett Silvertips prospect Caine Wilke had the lone assist.
Wilke would pick up his second point of the night with his third goal of the season with 3:27 to go in the third period. Beuker and Emerson Clark assisted on the play.
Josh Henry picked up the win between the pipes for the Mintos, as the 16-year-old netminder turned aside 33 Saskatoon shots to earn his second victory of the season. Grayson Malinoski made 34 saves for the Blazers.
With the win, the Mintos improved 8-2-1 on the season, good enough for top spot in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) standings and five points clear of the second place Estevan Bears.
Leonard credits a lot of the early season Minto success to the work the team put in during the offseason.
“We had a good group last year; they were just young. This year, everybody’s come back a little bigger, a little stronger, a little quicker. They worked hard this summer. All the guys that came back and the guys we picked up. They put in the work. It’s good to see that they’re off to a good start and feeling good about themselves, hopefully we can continue.”
The Mintos return to action on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Saskatoon Blazers at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 1:30 p.m.