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Gut Check Time

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Minotauros slump as seen their lead on the final playoff spot shrink to just two points over the Brookings Blizzard; and with the Blizzard in town tonight for a game at the Maysa the Tauros have a chance to either double that lead, or see the Blizzard draw even.  That prospect alone should keep the Tauros from looking ahead to a rare Sunday match-up with the hated rival Bismarck Bobcats.

For the Tauros the slump has come mostly as a result of a struggling offense.  Over the last 10 games the Tauros are 2-7-1, and have scored just 18 goals.  Jake McCann and Tyler Shipstead lead the club with five points each over that span.  In net Brandon Wildung and Merrick Madsen continue to split time

The Blizzard come in having won just once in their last five games.  Tonight will mark their third game in as many days after splitting a pair of games in Bismarck the last two nights.  Evan Hesse leads the Blizzard offense with 29 points in 37 games.  His 11 goals ties him for the team lead with Conor Andrle who is second in overall scoring with 26 points on the year.  In net it has been Connor Girard’s job since he was acquired from the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers.  Since December 6th, Girard has gone 5-5-1 with a .931 sv% and 2.36 GAA.

Then on Sunday the Tauros and Bobcats will have all eyes on them as they play the only NAHL game of the day.  The Tauros are 2-3-2 on the season against the rivals from the south.  Stan Dzakhov           and Nate Repensky are tied for the team lead with 32 points each, Dzakhov on both 16 goals and assists, and Repensky on five goals and 27 helpers.  In net Aaron Nelson has dominated the crease playing in 35 of Bismarck’s 38 games.  He’s done so with good reason posting a 2.18 GAA and .921 sv% earning a 22-10-3 record. 

The weekend marks an opportunity for the Tauros to end their slump and strengthen their hold on the final playoff spot and draw even on the year with Bismarck.  Tickets for both games are still available by clicking the “tickets” tab atop this page.  Games start at 7:35 p.m. tonight and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.