by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The last time the Minotauros played on the Maysa Arena’s Eck Rink it was a do-or-die Game Four in the best of five Central Division Finals against the Austin Bruins. The Tauros won that night sending their faithful home happy before eventually dropping Game Five in Austin. Tauros fans have had to wait 23 weeks for their heroes to return, the last three weeks of which the Tauros have played on the road. Over 100 could no longer wait for the Tauros to come home and made the trip to Bismarck to watch the Tauros extend their winning streak to four games with a 4-2 over the hated Bobcats just 110 miles from Minot. Friday night the wait finally ends as the Tauros open the home portion of the schedule by hosting the Brookings Blizzard.
The Tauros come in with revenge on their mind for a pair of extra time losses to the Snowmen on the season’s opening weekend. A 5-4 shootout loss followed by a 3-2 overtime final account for two of four standings points the Tauros have missed out on seven games into the season. Familiar names sit atop the Tauros scoring chart with Johnny Walker (4g 4a), Christian Mohs (3g 4a), and Chase Springman (2g 5a) each producing at least a point per game. The trio each finished in the top five in scoring for the Tauros last season and have increased their scoring pace for this year. Through seven games 19 different Tauros have recorded at least one point, 14 have at least three points already. In net Lucas Murray and John Flakne have split time and the Tauros wins with two each. The Tauros success thus far has come from puck possession, leading to the Tauros taking the third most shots on goal per game at 32.39 while surrendering the sixth fewest at 24.43.
While the Tauros have gone 4-1-0 since meeting the Blizzard on the season’s opening weekend the Blizzard have gone 2-4-0 since last seeing the Tauros. The Blizzard have just five goals in their four losses but 13 in their four wins, they have allowed at least three goals in six of their eight games so far. Kane Durment (4g 6a) leads the Blizzard in scoring and had five points (1g 4a) against the Tauros opening weekend. Mikael Hakkarainen (2g 5a) had a goal against the Tauros and Garrett Elmore (3g 1) had two of his three goals against the Tauros. In net Eric Hancock started both games against the Tauros but Josh Kuehmichel has played five of the six games since.
The Tauros strong play since leaving Brookings has them tied for first place in the Central Division with the Austin Bruins. With only one regulation loss the Tauros have the fourth highest point percentage through the first month of the season. A strong weekend against Brookings will not only avenge the opening weekend losses but keep the Tauros on a hot start headed into two long travel weekends to Minnesota.
Tailgating, Tickets, and Streaming: Tickets for Friday and Saturday night’s game are available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page. Friday there will be a tailgate party starting at 5:00 p.m. hosted by First International Bank and Trust, Superior Cleaning Service, and the Hyatt family. Food, drink, and live music will be provided, please RSVP here by to ensure there is enough for everybody. Fans who can not make it to the Maysa can watch live on pay-per-view through fasthockey.com or can listen live at prostlyeproduction.com.