By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – It took two tries but the Minotauros finally broke their losing streak and clinched a playoff spot with a win on Saturday night. Having lost five in a row coming into the weekend while the Aberdeen Wings had won six in a row the Tauros still needed just one point to eliminate the Wings from the playoffs. Aberdeen pushed their win streak to eight, while Friday night’s loss pushed the Tauros losing streak to six. The Tauros then bounced back on Saturday with a big win at home.
On Friday night, Jake O’Borsky got the Tauros going early with a goal just 6:12 into the game. Drew Brevig answered back for Brookings a minute and a half later to leave the game tied after one period. Not long after Aiden Cavallini put the Blizzard up 2-1, Craig Lindegard ran over Tyler Parks. Parks tried to stay in the game but surrendered a pair of goals in the final three minutes of the period before admitting in the locker room that was unable to continue. A late second period goal for Zach Holstrom cut the lead down to 4-2 after forty minutes. Lucas Oliver scored at 8:40 of the third to make it 4-3, but the Tauros could only find the post late with the net empty and fell 4-3 in Brookings.
Saturday night saw the Tauro get going even earlier in the game. Collin Abitz’s shot went in off of Jake McCann’s foot just 3:07 into the game. Oliver doubled the lead at 6:59 when he scored on the power play. Already leading 2-0 after the first the Tauros stepped on the gas in the second. Steven Sherman scored 2:02 into the period and McCann picked up his second of the night at 5:46, again from Abitz. Nikita Sokolov tried to pull the Blizzard back into it with a pair of goals in the middle of both the second and third periods cutting the lead to 4-2, but Ryan Ruck was able to stop every other Brookings shot making 35 saves on the night. Then with only 1:27 remaining McCann hit the empty net for the first hat trick in Minotauros history clinching a 5-2 win and the clubs first ever playoff spot.
Next Up: The Minotauros close out the regular season with a home and home set with the rival Bismarck Bobcats next weekend. The Central Division standings are set, so the games mean little more than bragging rights. That said the recent losing streak dropped the Tauros below the .500 mark, and a pair of wins would get them back to even on the season.
Playoff Tickets: Playoff tickets go on sale at noon on Monday 3/25/13. For more information call the Minotauros office at (701)852-0101.