Kraus, Tait lift Mintos to shootout victory over Contacts

Kraus, Tait lift Mintos to shootout victory over Contacts

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald Prince Albert Mintos goalkeeper Jayden Kraus comments during the SMAAHL promotion at the Art Hauser Center on February 1, 2023

The Prince Albert Mintos scored at just the right time en route to a 2-1 shootout win over the Saskatoon Contacts on Wednesday night at the Art Hauser Center.

Minto head coach Tim Leonard says Prince Albert has put in a solid performance up and down the line-up

“I thought we played well. Everyone pitched in and it was a solid performance. Again problems with scoring and we had to pull the goalkeeper. We found a way to win, which is great.”

The Minto pre-check was strong all night as it would blunt a high-scoring offense in the contacts.

Leonard says that the forecheck made contacts uncomfortable, which Mintos took advantage of.

“I liked our forecheck. We found it early on, they’re a team that likes to play fast and airmail pucks. We tried to take care of that and force the guys to move pucks into their zone. I think we made a bit of a mess doing it.”

Both teams would play strong defensively in the first period and the Contacts would break the seal with just 1:10 in the second period.

Ronan Buckberger would fire a point shot through traffic and past Minto netminder Jayden Kraus to give Saskatoon a 1-0 lead after two periods of play.

The clock was ticking until the last minute and it seemed that the Mintos would suffer another loss on penalties, but with just 54 seconds left Ashton Tait would score his 9th goal of the season to level the Mintos 1-1.

60 minutes and overtime were not enough to determine a winner between Mintos and Contacts, so a shootout would be required.

Each team’s first shooter failed to find the back of the net and second shooter for the contacts, Kanye Huang, was thwarted by Jayden Kraus.

That set the stage for Ashton Tait, who used a nifty backhand movement to defeat Kontakt goalkeeper Chase Wutzke to give the Mintos the penalty shoot-out advantage.

Ronan Buckberger, the Contacts’ regular-time goalscorer, had a chance to send the penalty shootout to another round. But Jayden Kraus would stand tall at the net, averting an attempt to secure victory for the Mintos.

Leonard says Kraus, along with fellow goalkeeper tandem Brady Holtvogt, has been solid for Prince Albert all year

“You can always count on him, if we make a mistake he’s usually there to close it. He and Holtvogt have been solid for us all year. I can’t remember a game where they let us down all season. They give us a chance to win every night and that’s expected.”

Kraus made 25 saves from 26 contact shots on average and stopped all three shooters on penalties to ensure Mintos victory at the net.

Kraus says the Mintos have benefited from each other’s energy and hope to string more wins in February

“Our whole team was good in the line-up tonight and we all just built on each other. A big win tonight and that’s just one of many to come. Big night for us and we’re all super pumped.”

Chase Wutzke stopped 21 Minto shots typically for contacts.

The Mintos return to action on Saturday night when they welcome the Yorkton Maulers to the Art Hauser Center. Puck falls at 7 p.m

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