Prince Albert Mintos 2 - Vancouver NW Giants 1
MINTOS HOLD OFF GIANTS
By Kelsie Fraser
The defending champions got the 2007 TELUS Cup started off on the right foot as the Prince Albert Mintos topped the Vancouver North West Giants 2-1 on Monday afternoon in Red Deer, AB.
The Mintos opened the scoring early in the first on a powerplay goal by Jadon Potter, and pushed the lead to two when Brant Henry-Norton capitalized on a bad giveaway by Giants goaltender Kyle Nielsen.
After the second goal, Giants goaltender Graeme Gordon stepped in to replace Nielsen and was solid the rest of the way, not allowing a puck to cross the goal line.
The Giants almost got on the board in the second after a giveaway by Mintos goaltender Jordan Washburn, but the open net was missed and the score remained 2-0 for Prince Albert through 40 minutes.
Gordon was peppered with shots early in the third but managed to hold his team to only a 2-0 deficit.
Aaron Klatt got the Giants to within one at 2-1, scoring with 1:33 remaining on the clock, but the Pacific representatives could not get another puck past Washburn.
The Mintos may have picked up the win, but they feel it definitely wasn’t their best effort.
“We came out a little rusty and that’s one thing that we will really need to improve on for our next game,” said the Mintos’ Lewis Laczko, a member of Prince Albert’s 2006 championship team.
Laczko was named Player of the Game for the Mintos, while Graeme Gordon earned the honour for the Giants.
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PREVIEW: MINTOS FACE GIANTS TO KICK OFF TELUS CUP
The 2007 TELUS Cup kicks off Monday afternoon in Red Deer as the defending national champion Prince Albert Mintos take to the ice at Red Deer Arena to face the Vancouver North West Giants.
The Mintos, looking to become the first team in the 29-year history of the National Midget Championship to repeat as champions, were the dominant team at the West Regional in Brandon, MB, going undefeated through the round robin and jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the championship game before holding on for a 4-3 win.
Mintos goaltender Carsen Chubak was spectacular through the Saskatchewan playoffs, posting a 1.95 goals against average and .940 save percentage in 12 games as the Mintos won their second consecutive Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship.
The Giants have not played a competitive game since wrapping up the B.C. Major Midget League crown with a 4-1 win over the Cariboo Cougars on March 26. With the host Red Deer Optimist Rebels winning the Alberta championship, the Giants were named the Pacific representatives.
Just like Chubak backstopped the Mintos to a championship, so too did Giants netminder Graeme Gordon, who posted a miniscule 0.50 postseason goals against average, following up on a 2.06 GAA during the regular season.
With just five games before the playoff round begins, both teams will look to jump out to a strong start in the week-long tournament and get a game in the win column.