The Prince Albert Mintos and Saskatoon Contacts didn’t hit a single bump in the road on their way to the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League finals.
After sweeping the Notre Dame Argos, the Mintos knocked off the Saskatoon Blazers in three straight.
The Contacts also pulled off a double sweep, besting the Battlefords Stars in the first round and the Regina Pat Canadians in the second.
Here is a preview of the SMAAAHL championship, which is set to kick off on Thursday, March 21 in Prince Albert. The winner of the series will move on to the Telus Cup Western Regionals in Kenora, Ont., at the start of April. From there, the winner of that event moves on to the Telus Cup National Tournament in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in the latter half of April.
(1) Prince Albert Mintos (34-7-3-0, 71 points) vs. (2) Saskatoon Contacts (28-8-7-1, 64 points)
Season series: 2-1-1 Mintos. Prediction: Mintos in 5.
Why the Mintos should win: Prince Albert was the highest scoring team in the regular-season and has continued that trend in the playoffs. They have notched 31 goals in their six post-season games, sitting 14 goals ahead of the Contacts. The biggest reason for the Mintos’ scoring success has been the elite performances of Jason Duret, Lance Yaremchuk, and Joel Blaquiere, who have combined for 16 goals and 34 points.
The Mintos’ back end has racked up a handful of points. Bryton Sayers, Eric Young, Lochlan Morrison, and Zack Harms have combined for two goals and 18 points.
In between the pipes, Lane Michasiw has been flawless, maintaining a 1.12 average and .943 save percentage in three contests.
How the Contacts could win: Rylan Parenteau, who happens to be a Prince Albert Raiders prospect, has been the top goaltender on paper throughout the playoffs, posting a 1.06 average and a .967 save percentage in all six of the Contacts’ post-season games. The 5-foot-11, 177-pounder already has two shutouts under his belt, one for 39 saves and the other for 33.
Vukie Mpofu and Kolten Olynek are undoubtedly two of the top scorers in the SMAAAHL after leading the league in points. Mpofu, who is a Red Deer Rebels prospect, and Olynek, who is a Lethbridge Hurricanes prospect, both notched 31 goals in the regular-season, while Mpofu potted 40 assists and Olynek added 38.
Unexpectedly, Mpofu and Olynek aren’t leading Saskatoon in post-season scoring, Rodney Southam is. The 5-foot-11, 167-pound centre, who is a Tri-City Americans prospect, has netted three goals and eight points in six games.
Branden Scheidl has been one of the Bridge City Boys’ top scorers from the blueline in the second season, racking up one goal and five points.