By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros February slump came to an end last weekend with a shootout win in Brookings. The victory stopped an 0-3-1 skid to start the month and showcased the Tauros ability to dig deep as injury and illness prevented the Tauros from skating with a full line-up. The Blizzard now come to Minot trailing Aberdeen by five points for the final playoff spot in the Central Division and 21 points behind the Tauros. The result is that with just one win on the weekend the Tauros would clinch their third consecutive playoff spot.
The Tauros come in with just nine goals over the five games in the month of February; a stark contrast to the 22 goals the Tauros had scored in the last five games of January. Christian Mohs (15g 30a) and Jake Howie (12g 11a) are the only Tauros with multiple goals over the last five games with two each. While the Tauros offense has struggled Atte Tolvanen (22-1-6, 2.03 GAA, .919 SV%) has not. The Tauro goalie has raised his game of late with a 1.76 GAA and .929 SV% in February despite only earning one win. Johnny Walker (16g 14a) could be the key to breaking out of the Tauros scoring slump; he has six goals against the Blizzard on the season and lead the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in scoring with three goals in two games this week.
The Blizzard come in a desperate team, with just 12 games remaining to catch Aberdeen for the final playoff spot. Zach Glienke (16g 20a) has been the engine of the Brookings offense against the Tauros with a goal and six assists. The Tauros have done a good job limiting the Blizzard’s leading scorer Beau Michaud (14g 30a) holding him to just two goals and two assists in eight contests. In net Ryan Kubic (8-9-5, 2.43 GAA, .915 SV%) and Eric Hancock (8-10-4, 3.01 GAA, .894 SV%) have split time this season and that trend continued against the Tauros with each appearing in five games.
This weekend’s two game set at the Maysa kicks off a run of seven consecutive games in Minot for the Tauros. A solid run could see the Tauros lock up not just a playoff spot, but any combination of six Tauros wins or Bismarck Bobcat losses would give the Tauros home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Single game tickets for the remaining Minotauros home games are available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page. Fans can also get tickets to all remaining Minotauros home games and a Tauros road jersey* for $100, for more info on the season ticket special email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Road jersey sizes limited to availability.