Red Deer Optimist Rebels 0 - Prince Albert Mintos 2
MINTOS PLAY STREAK-BUSTERS IN WIN OVER OPTIMIST REBELS
After 207:34 of shutout hockey, someone finally got to Marc Boulanger and the Red Deer Optimist Rebels.
Tyler Fiddler scored the first goal on Boulanger and the Optimist Rebels at the 2007 TELUS Cup, converting on a powerplay close to the midway point of the second period in what ended up as a 2-0 win for the Prince Albert Mintos on Thursday night.
In addition to snapping Boulanger’s shutout streak, the Mintos also snapped Red Deer’s 27-game home-ice winning streak, handing the tournament hosts their first loss at Red Deer Arena since the 2006 Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Fiddler took a pass from Brandon Herrod and beat a stretching Boulanger for the game’s first goal.
Mitchell Peeke got the insurance goal for the West Region champions eight minutes later, tipping a Herrod shot through the legs of Boulanger. Fiddler picked up his second point of the game with an assist on the goal.
The Mintos extremely aggressive forecheck was present up until midway through the third period, when they dropped back to protect the lead.
The Optimist Rebels failed generate any sustained momentum, and the Mintos aggressive forecheck and physical presence enabled them to get the all-important two points.??That was us (on the ice tonight),” said Mintos head coach Tim Leonard following his team’s 11th consecutive win at the National Midget Championship, dating back to last year. “When we play like that, you can see the results. I am extremely proud of out boys for the way they played tonight. This is a tough building.”
Prince Albert goaltender Carsen Chubak was named his team’s Player of the Game after stealing the show with a 24-save shutout. Defenseman Kaare Odegard, who was a physical presence all night, picked up the honour for the Optimist Rebels.
The Mintos will look to wrap up their second consecutive perfect round-robin at the TELUS Cup when they face the winless Sault Ste. Marie North Stars on Friday afternoon, while the Optimist Rebels face the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard on Friday night, in what will be a battle for semi-final positioning.
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PREVIEW: UNBEATEN VS. UNBEATEN – OPTIMIST REBELS TAKE ON MINTOS
The 2007 TELUS Cup round-robin’s marquee match-up – a battle of two unbeaten teams – take place on Thursday night at Red Deer Arena as the host Optimist Rebels take on the Prince Albert Mintos.
The defensive clinic continued for the Optimist Rebels on Wednesday night as they recorded their third straight shutout in a 5-0 win over Vancouver. They are just the second team in the last 12 years to record three shutouts at a National Midget Championship. The other? Last year’s Prince Albert Mintos.
Red Deer has really spread around the scoring, much as they did during the Alberta Midget Hockey League season. Fourteen players have recorded at least a point, led by tournament scoring leader Kyle Reynolds’ seven (four goals, three assists).
The Mintos may not be the dominating team they were in 2006, when they went 7-0 on the way to their first national championship, but they are undefeated and in a great spot to try and be the first team ever to go back-to-back.
The two-headed monster of Carsen Chubak and Jordan Washburn between the pipes for Prince Albert has been spectacular, allowing only four goals in three games, while the powerplay is the second-best at the TELUS Cup, converting at a 17.4 per cent clip (four goals in 23 chances).
One impressive streak will end on Thursday night – the Optimist Rebels are unbeaten in 27 games on home ice, while the Mintos have won 10 games in a row at the National Midget Championship. The winner has the inside track at first place, while the loser faces a tougher test in Saturday’s semi-final.