by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
(box score, highlights)
Blaine, MN – The Minotauros opened the 2014/15 campaign tonight with a loss dropping a 4-1 decision to the Janesville Jets. Tonight was the second time in three seasons in which the Tauros fell to the Jets on the first night of the season.
The Tauros seemed to control play for stretches in the first period, though the 9-7 advantage in shots still found them trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes. Brandon Shultz scored the first goal of the game at the 12:41 mark of the period when a pass from behind the net found him all alone in front of the Tauro net. Shultz shot quickly and Atte Tolvanen was unable to react quickly enough to make the save.
Midway through the second period Kyle Patava fired a shot from the right wing boards that Tolvanen got a piece of, but the puck still trickled over the line to double the Janesville lead. Then with Zach Yoder in the box for tripping the Tauros were finally able to break through. Christian Mohs scored the the Tauros first goal of the season with assists from Casey Johnson and Kyle Kruenegel. Kruenegel gathered the puck at the Tauro blue line and gave it to Johnson. Johnson skated up the right side before cutting towards the middle as he gained the Jets zone. Johnson eventually found Mohs who cut across the front of the net with the puck and beat Matt Jurusik to cut the lead to 2-1.
That was as close as the Tauros would get however as Zach Lavalle beat Tolvanen at 6:43 of the third and then scored again with the Tauros net empty in favor of the extra attacker late. Despite a pair of power plays in the final frame the Tauros only managed four shots on goal as Janesville went into a defensive shell to protect their lead. The empty net goal pushed the final to 4-1 in favor of the Jets.
Notes: Chase Springman lead all skaters with four shots on goal for the Tauros. Tolvanen made 17 saves in the loss. Jacob Dittle was given a 10 minute misconduct in addition to his two minute minot for his hit from behind early in the second period. The Tauros went one for five on the power play and killed all five of the Jets power plays.
Next Up: The Tauros do not have to wait long to try to break into the win column. A quick turn around sees the Tauros take on the Soo Eagles at 1:15 p.m. tomorrow. The Eagles are coming off of 7-0 defeat of the Bismarck Bobcats on day one of the showcase after splitting a pair with the Jets last weekend in Sault Ste Marie last weekend. Sandis Zolmanis and Bruno Birzitis each have five point over the Eagles first three games and Trevor Cope leads the club with three goals. Goaltender Sean Keating has played all three contests for the Soo stopping 76 of the 82 shots he has faced.