By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros season has come to end after a pair of losses this weekend at the Maysa arena. After splitting Games 1 and 2 in Austin last weekend the Tauros game home to host the first two home playoff games in franchise history. The Minot fans did not disappoint packing the Maysa with 2,594 over the two games and giving the team a standing ovation after the final horn on Saturday night.
Friday’s game saw the Tauros jump out to a quick lead when Lucas Oliver sent a backhand past Nick Lehr just 1:28 into the game. A Mason Morelli penalty however gave the Bruins a power play and the capitalized for the only special teams goal of the series at the 4:00 minute mark or the first. Early in the second A.J. Reid scored his second of the series to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. The lead held for most of the period until with just 27 seconds remaining in the middle frame Wes Iverson batted Cody Milligan’s pass out of midair and into the net to tie the game. The third period would pass without a goal sending the game into overtime. 7:02 into the extra session Cody Dixon drove towards the Tauros net and slid the puck under Tyler Parks as he made contact with the Tauro keeper. The Tauros bench and fans wanted a goaltender interference call, but it never came and the goal stood to give the Bruins a 3-2 overtime victory.
The Tauros faced a must win on Saturday night and as he had most of the season Tyler Parks put the team on his back. The franchise’s first ever NCAA Division I commit who had posted a .917 SV% in the regular season stopped 31 of 32 shots bringing his playoff SV% to .950. Making his performance even more impressive is the fact that he was playing with a broken thumb on his stick hand. The injury occurred in practice during the week of leading up to the playoffs, and made it difficult for the Tauro backstop just to hold his stick. Unfortunately for the Tauros they were unable to get a puck past Lehr and the 1-0 defeat ended the Tauros’ playoff run.
While any season that ends without a championship is disappointing the Tauros have plenty to be proud of. In just their second season the Tauros won 20 more games than they did the year before and qualified for the post season for the first time. The team sent the second most players to the league’s all-star event the Top Prospects Tournament last February, and was one of the youngest rosters in the NAHL with only three players ageing out. While this season comes to an end, it was just the beginning of great things for the Minotauros moving forward.
What’s next: For the three ’92 birth years on the roster the next stop is college hockey. Tyler Parks, will play for DI St. Lawrence next fall, Matt Audette will play for DIII Wisconsin Superior, and Paul Sorenson is weighing multiple DIII offers. For the rest of the team it is a few weeks off followed by a summer of training for next year. We will get our first look at potential new Minotauros May 17-19 in Las Vegas at the Pre-Draft Camp. Then the NAHL Draft is on June 4th, the Tauros have seven selections in the first three rounds. Keep up with all Tauros news and where you’ll be able to see Tank this summer by following us on Facebook and Twitter.