by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
The Minotauros trip to Alaska has given the team a chance to bond off of the ice while continuing their improvement on it. After leaving the lower 48 on a three game win streak the Tauros took three of four points from the Brown Bears in Kenai to increase their point streak to five games. Since Saturday night’s 6-1 win the Tauros have spent time between practices together, spending a day fishing in Kenai as well as catching a movie as a team before heading to Fairbanks for the final two games of the trip.
The Ice Dogs Robertson Cup title defense got off to a slow start. Fairbanks got off to a 2-5-1 start playing all eight of those games away from the Big Dipper Ice Arena. Home cooking however seems to have helped the Dogs who swept the Bismarck Bobcats last weekend. Going into their home opener against Bismarck the Dogs were surrendering 4.625 goals per game yet they held the Bobcats offense to just three goals on the weekend. Patrick Munson started both of those games in net and has been in goal for all four of Fairbanks’s wins. On offense Jacob Hetz (5g 7a) and Chandler Madry (3g 9a) are tied for the team lead with 12 points.
The Tauros start to the season has been just as road heavy with six of the Tauros seven games to this point being away from the Maysa. Despite that challenge the Tauros are 4-2-1 and off to the best start in franchise history. The Tauros top line of Christian Mohs (5g 5a), Blake Lizotte (0g 7a) and Johnny Walker (5g 1a) have combined for 23 points over the first seven games. James Mathias has three goals and an assist in his first three games as a Tauro since being acquired from Wenatchee in a trade. In net reigning Central Division Star of the Week Atte Tolvanen has carried the load for the Tauros ranking sixth in both save percentage (.937) and goals against average (1.63). Tolvanen has surrendered just two goals in the last three games for the Tauros.
The special teams battle will put strength vs. strength and weakness vs. weakness. The Fairbanks power play comes in ranked seventh at 20.8% while the Tauros kill is the second best in the NAHL at 96.7%. Conversely the Tauros power play has converted 15.2% of their chances ranking 17th in the league but Fairbanks ranks 23rd on the kill at 73.5%.
Watch the Games: Both games will be streaming live on fasthockey.com and start at 7:30p Alaska time, which is 10:30p CST. The Tauros will finally return home to the Maysa on October 18th to take on the Austin Bruins. Tickets for that and all Tauros games are available by clicking on the “tickets” tab atop this page.