ROCKETS, MINTOS SETTLE FOR DRAW … AGAIN
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – Gen Bryshun and Keegan Kjargaard traded goals as the Okanagan Rockets and Prince Albert Mintos finished in a 1-1 tie Wednesday at the 2014 TELUS Cup.
It’s the third tie in as many games for Okanagan (0-0-3), while Prince Albert (1-0-2) has draws in back-to-back games after a tournament-opening win.
The Rockets are just the second team in the 41-year history of Canada’s National Midget Championship to have three ties in a single preliminary round. The other, the 2011 Winnipeg Thrashers, went on to win the national championship.
Neither team gave up much defensively in the opening 20 minutes, with the Rockets holding a slight 7-6 advantage in shots on goal through one period.
Both power plays had time to work in the opening frame, but both teams took penalties while holding the man advantage, leading to a little bit of four-on-four action.
The offence picked up a little bit in the second period, as did the physical play; neither team was afraid to throw the body, with Prince Albert forward Jared Blaquiere leading the hit parade.
Okanagan had a 13-5 advantage in shots in the middle frame, meaning Connor Ingram was a busy man; the Mintos’ goaltender, who finished with 31 saves, made almost half his stops in the second period, including a few highlight-reel glove saves.
Scoreless after two, it didn’t take long for Prince Albert to find the scoreboard in the third period.
A Mintos dump-in took an awkward hop in front of goaltender Brendan Barry, who quickly kicked out his right pad. But the rebound ended up in the slot and on the stick of Kjargaard, who rifled a shot from the hashmarks over Barry’s glove.
Okanagan pulled even with 6:40 to go; breaking out of his own zone, Tanner Wishnowski fanned on a stretch pass, but the puck ended up on the stick of Bryshun, who walked into the Prince Albert zone and snapped a shot over the glove of Ingram.
The assist gives Wishnowski seven points (on seven Okanagan goals) in three games.
The Rockets finished with a 32-24 shot advantage, and neither team was successful on the power play – Okanagan was 0-for-6, while Prince Albert was 0-for-4.
Okanagan tries again for its first win on Thursday, taking on the Halifax McDonald’s at noon MT, while Prince Albert meets Moose Jaw in an all-Saskatchewan night cap at 7:30 p.m. MT.