By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros are just one win away from advancing to the second round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They have reached this point thanks to a pair of wins last weekend first a 4-1 Game One victory in Minot on Friday followed by a 4-2 win the next night in Bismarck. The series returns to the Maysa Arena for Game Three Friday night in what is expected to be another sellout.
The Bobcats offense has struggled to get much against Atte Tolvanen (1.50 GAA, .930 SV%) and the Tauro defense. Tolvanen has allowed just three goals to the Bobcats, one of which came on a strange deflection off of the Maysa glass in Game One. Evan Geisler (1g 0a) and Oskars Batna (1g 0a) have the other two Bobcat goals this post-season. In net, just as they did during the season, Hunter Shepard (3.05 GAA, .842 SV%) and Alex Bitsakis (4.26 GAA, .875 SV%) have split time each getting a start against the Tauros. The Bobcats will have Tony German in the lineup for the first time as he returns from suspension for shooting a puck at the official in the final game of the regular season.
For the Tauros the eight goals in the series have come from six different players, mirroring the balanced and productive attack they had in the regular season. Nick Monfils (3g 0a) hat trick lead the way in Game One of the series and James Mathias’s (1g 4a) four point night keyed the victory on Saturday. John Snodgrass’s (1g 1a) shorthanded game winner on Saturday was the fourth shorthanded goal the Tauros have scored against the Bobcats this season.
Friday night’s game is sponsored by Liechty Homes and they will be giving out 200 rally towels to Tauros fans during the game. Tickets are still available for the game by clicking here or the “Tickets” tab atop this page. Fans coming to the Maysa are encouraged to arrive early and attend the Official Tailgate Party sponsored by Superior Cleaning, Central Cab, and Morelli’s Distribution. The party kicks off at 5:30, drinks and sides are provided, just bring something to toss on the grill.