Min­tos re­main un­de­feated

Scriven emerges as hero with game-win­ning, third pe­riod goal

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - SPORTS - EVAN RADFORD @EvanRad­ford • sports@pa­her­ald.sk.ca

De­spite play­ing slug­gish and sloppy through the first pe­riod, the Prince Al­bert Min­tos re­main un­de­feated af­ter a 3-2 win over the Saska­toon Con­tacts in Midget AAA boys hockey.

The Min­tos gained the lead, gave it up, gained it again, al­lowed a tie and then waited un­til the game’s last two min­utes to take and keep the lead on a Dylan Scriven back­hand shot to se­cure their third goal and the win.

Po­si­tioned in the low slot and just be­hind Saska­toon’s de­fence, Scriven found him­self open in front of goalie Rayce Ram­say as his team­mates dug the puck out of the cor­ner, away from the other Con­tacts.

Josh Pil­lar man­aged to bat the puck over to Scriven, who used the few ex­tra sec­onds af­forded to him in the open slot to do a quick deke and force Ram­say down to cover the lower por­tion of the net.

Scriven went the op­po­site way, flicked the puck quickly over Scriven’s shoul­ders and cel­e­brated the goal.

The game clock counted 1:19 un­til the fi­nal buzzer.

“Luck­ily enough I got a good chip from Pil­lar out front, and I just tried to put it on net, and it went in,” Scriven said af­ter the game.

It was his first Midget AAA goal.

“It al­most felt un­real – in front of my home­town, get­ting the game win­ner, first home game; it was just a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m just happy it hap­pened,” he said.

With the win, the Min­tos im­prove to 4-0. They now sit in se­cond place, down one point, be­hind the Tis­dale Tro­jans and ahead of the Notre Dame Hounds in the pro­vin­cial stand­ings.

Thurs­day’s game, the Min­tos’ home opener for the year, was a close one for both teams.

Saska­toon re­lied heav­ily on its big­ger play­ers and their check­ing abil­i­ties, which man­aged to foil sev­eral Min­tos’ rushes through the neu­tral zone.

As the Con­tacts re­lied on their phys­i­cal prow­ess, the Min­tos found holes on the ice that al­lowed them to speed through as they cre­ated sev­eral turnovers and rush op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Still, P.A. head coach Ken Mor­ri­son said the game was the team’s weak­est of the sea­son.

“On the other hand, we stuck with it. Good teams will find a way to win, and we found a way to win. I don’t re­ally know if we de­served to win or not tonight,” Mor­ri­son said.

The Min­tos started the game with a sloppy pe­riod that saw the team com­mit sev­eral er­rant passes and failed play set­ups on the few times that they man­aged to get and keep the puck in the Con­tacts’ zone.

Mean­while, Saska­toon came out hit­ting, us­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity it had to fin­ish body checks.

The pe­riod ended 0-0 with Saska­toon lead­ing the shot count at 9-7.

As the se­cond pe­riod pro­gressed, the Min­tos found their legs and some rhythm as their speed play­ers com­pleted more of their passes while mov­ing the puck down the ice and into the Con­tacts’ zone.

Puck pos­ses­sion was mostly even through­out the se­cond frame, and P.A. DA-A07-07102017-Min­tosGameER1 for­wards Kishaun Ger­vais and Luke Nk­wama pow­ered their team’s of­fence. The pair skated around and through Saska­toon’s de­fence us­ing their speed, and adding more pres­sure to Ram­say as the night pro­gressed.

The pair’s hus­tle paid off as Parker Fo­fonoff scored af­ter a Ram­say re­bound, thanks to Nk­wama, who car­ried the puck into Saska­toon’s zone around two de­fend­ers.

At the pe­riod’s end, the Min­tos were up 1-0, but still down in the shot count at 17-14. Phys­i­cally, Saska­toon was win­ning the body check­ing bat­tles, but speed-wise it was begin­ning to tire.

“They do a good job of play­ing the body for sure. We gotta get on the body a lit­tle bit more on the forecheck,” Mor­ri­son said of the game’s phys­i­cal­ity.

The third pe­riod leaned more to the Min­tos’ favour in terms of scor­ing chances and puck pos­ses­sion, but Saska­toon man­aged to take the lead and go up 2-1 with 9 min­utes left in the game.

The Min­tos kept press­ing and tied the game with five min­utes re­main­ing: Ger­vais sped down the ice, split the Con­tacts’ de­fend­ers just over the blue line and back­handed the puck over top of Ram­say; it bounced off of his back­side and into the net.

Soon af­ter, Scriven pot­ted the win­ner.

The game’s fi­nal shot count was 34-32 for the Min­tos.

Mor­ri­son chalked up his team’s fa­tigue to its re­cent busy sched­ule over the past week: The Min­tos played back-to-back games in War­man over the week­end, fol­lowed by a late-night, 8 p.m. game against the Saska­toon Blazers on Wed­nes­day night.

He said Fri­day would be a rest day, and to­day would be a light work­out day in prepa­ra­tion for his team’s 7 p.m. game against the vis­it­ing Regina Pat Cana­di­ans this evening.

EVAN RADFORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Prince Al­bert Min­tos for­ward Luke Nk­wama shoots on Saska­toon Con­tacts goalie Rayce Ram­say, who turns aside the shot at the Art Hauser Cen­tre on Thurs­day evening.

EVAN RADFORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Prince Al­bert Min­tos for­ward Kishaun Ger­vais at­tempts a shot on the Saska­toon Con­tacts’ net.

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