Mintos look to add another title

Katie Brickman
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Back-to-back championships in 2006-07 give boost to Prince Albert

The Prince Albert Mintos have proven that when the prize in on the line, they can produce.

The Prince Albert Mintos celebrate their game winning goal over the Notre Dame Argos in the West regional tournament. The Mintos will be one of the six teams competing at the Telus Cup, beginning Monday. TC Media photo by Perry Bergson

The Mintos did go a little further than the Moose Jaw Generals in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) playoffs, but still had a bit of a wait before stepping back on the ice.

The Mintos won their first round playoff series against Tisdale, but then were swept by the Battleford Stars.

“We had a real tough first round with Tisdale that went five games. We battled back from being down 2-0,” said Ken Morrison, head coach of the Mintos. “We had a few guys injured, so we went into the Battleford series with a short bench and a little bit tired.”

Although the Mintos struggled, they knew they had a shot at redemption as west regional hosts.

It was a Saskatchewan showdown in the final game as the SMAAAHL champion, Notre Dame Argos and the Mintos went head-to-head.

“Our guys played pretty good hockey all weekend. We lost a game previously to the Argos in a nothing game because we had both advanced to the final,” said Morrison. “That was a good indication for our guys of where we needed to be if we wanted to win the next one. It worked out well and our guys played their best hockey of they year when it mattered.”

That was the confidence boost the Mintos needed and they hope it will help them succeed at the Telus Cup.

“I think it just showed our guys that if we play well and everybody contributes and works hard, we think we can play with anyone,” said Morrison. “We don’t know much about the other teams coming in, but I’m sure they will be good. I think it showed our guys that if we bond together and play our best, we have a good chance.”

The Mintos organization owns the second longest winning streak in national championship history, at 14 games. They were back-to-back winners in 2006 and 2007. They are just one of four organizations in the tournament’s 40 year history to repeat as champions.

Although Morrison wasn’t a part of the organization during that time, he wants to build a similar persona around this team.

“It was a big couple of years of putting the Mintos on the map. For us, to be looked at as a first class organization in our league … we have been trying to live up to that since then,” said Morrison. “We have done pretty well in the league, but this is a good opportunity to get back there and see what we can do.”

Morrison mentioned that those teams were strong defensively and had good goaltending — two things this team has as well.

“We rely on good goaltending and playing well defensively,” he said. “We have to keep the other teams down to one or two goals to be successful.”

The Mintos open the Telus Cup against the Toronto Young Nationals on Monday (noon, Mosaic Place).

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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