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Locked In

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Minotauros are 13-1-2 over the last 16 games, a run that has propelled them back to the top of the NAHL’s toughest division.  A weekend sweep of the Brookings Blizzard by a combined 10-4 score saw the Tauros clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth in the franchise’s fifth season.

Friday night (box score) saw the Tauros get a 9-1 shot advantage to start the game but a Kane Durment (15g 21a) power play goal turned the momentum 11:29 in (highlight).  Just over a minute later Durment double the Brookings lead capitalizing on a turnover (highlight) when he one-timed a shot past Gunner Rivers (14-9-3).  Durment’s two goals came after Rivers had made a spectacular save (highlight) on Zach Mitchell (8g 7a) who appeared to have an open net. Just 32 seconds after Durment had doubled the lead, Matt Jennings (14g 23a) responded for the Tauros (highlight) with a shot that just barely crossed the goalline.  Jennings matched Durment with his second of the game with a no doubter finishing a feed from Christian Mohs (15g 28a) in the final minute (highlight) of the first to make it 2-2 through the first.

The Tauros blew the game wide open in the second period.  Grayson Gavin (5g 9a) (highlight), Max Reisinger (12g 25a) (highlight), and Zach Bross (11g 18a) (highlight); all scored over a 6:04 stretch in the middle of the second to push the score to 5-2.  Brookings pulled back within two goals (highlight) when Mitchell finished a two-on-one rush in the final minute of the second, but that was as close as the Blizzard would get as the final period passed without a goal for a 5-3 final.

Saturday night (box score) saw a flip in the previous night’s script.  Brookings got off to a 6-2 shot advantage lead but it was the Tauros Gavin who scored first (highlight) finishing a feed from Jack Murphy (11g 13a) on a two-on-one.  Colton Berg doubled the lead for the Tauros 10:09 after Gavin opened the scoring when he walked out of the right corner to score (highlight). However similar to Jennings answering less than a minute after Brookings took a two goal lead the night before Mikael Hakkarainen (11g 24a) scored on the power play (highlight) to cut the lead in half.  Unlike the Blizzard however the Tauros were able to protect their lead.  Jennings scored his fifth goal of the week shorthanded (highlight) early in the second to make it 3-1.  Tyler Jeanson (9g 21a) scored later in the second (highlight) to push the Tauros out to a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes.  Brookings, desperate for their playoff lives, pushed hard in the third period but Rivers made all 13 saves required before Berg scored his second of the night into Brookings’ empty net (highlight) for a 5-1 final.

Next up for the Tauros is another meeting with a team fighting for the Central Division’s final playoff spot, the Minnesota Magicians.  The teams have split the season series three wins apiece, though the Tauros have won three of the last four meetings.   Friday night is Sports Specialties Night, they will have a display of utility vehicles at the Maysa.  Then on Saturday it will Teacher’s Appreciation Night brought to you by the Dakota Square Tesoro.  Teachers will get a free ticket with their ID and Tauro fans are asked to bring new and gently used books for a book drive for local schools.  Tickets for all remaining Tauros home games are available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page.