Trio of power play goals power Mintos to Sunday win over Estevan

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Prince Albert Raiders forward Logan Pickford attempts to carry a puck past a sprawling Estevan Bears defender during SMAAAHL action at the Art Hauser Centre

A red-hot power play unit helped power the Prince Albert Mintos to a weekend sweep with a victory over the Estevan Bears at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Minto assistant coach Bryan Swystun says it felt good to earn a home sweep after playing an extended stretch on the road

“It feels really good. We’ve played some good hockey over that stretch where we kind of struggled and just haven’t seen any results. This weekend, it was a test for us. It seems we’ve been on the road for a long time. We did  a lot of good things, we worked hard and got rewarded. It’s nice to see and good for the kids.”

The Mintos would get off to a hot start scoring twice on the power play with both goals coming off the tape of Logan Pickford.

The first goal from Pickford came with 6:44 remaining in the first period after Carter Skarbon was sent off for a boarding minor penalty for Estevan.

The Minto power play would strike again in the final minute of the opening frame. With 1:50 to go in the first, Estevan’s Tristan Grohs would be sent off for a two minute minor for tripping and a minute later, Pickford would strike for his second goal of the contest to double the Minto lead. Ashton Tait and Abinet Klassen would pick up assists on the goal.

Swystun says the Mintos rely on Pickford to be a goal scorer and he was rewarded for his effort Sunday.

“He’s the type of kid that brings it every game. He does the right things and gets to the hard places. He’s got a heck of a shot and it’s nice to see him get rewarded. We moved the puck and took advantage of his skillset and he came away with a good game.”

Estevan would answer in the second period with Blaze Gutzke’s 7th goal of the season coming with 9:02 remaining in the period.  Kole Keen would pick up the lone assist.

The Mintos would respond with 5:41 to go in the middle frame. A high sticking call against Estevan’s Jace Konecsi would give the red-hot Minto power play another opportunity and they would take full advantage. Carson Olsen would fire a point shot through traffic past Estevan goaltender Kaden Perron to restore the two goal lead for the Mintos. Pickford and Klassen would receive credit for the assists on the goal.

Swystun says the Mintos were able to use quick puck movement to take advantage of a pressing Estevan penalty kill

“They bring a pressure style on their penalty kill. so, we wanted to move the puck quick and move it fast and take opportunities down low. I think we had some really good looks and the kids made the right decisions. When it comes down to it, when you don’t make the right decisions when you move the puck quick, you don’t really have an advantage.”

Brady Holtvogt would make 27 saves in goal to earn the victory for the Mintos.

The Mintos return to action on Friday night when they travel to Regina to take on the Pat Canadians