Minot, ND – The Minotauros close out the month of February by hosting the Aberdeen Wings after getting last weekend off. While the third-place Tauros were off the other four teams in the Central Division playoff race all battled with each other. The fourth-place Austin Bruins took three of four points from the first-place Wings and the second-place Bismarck Bobcats split with the fifth-place Minnesota Wilderness. The end result is that the Tauros remained in third-place in the Central six points behind the Bobcats, tied with the Bruins with two games-in-hand, and eight points ahead of the Wilderness who would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today.
The Tauros come into the weekend well-rested, and they will need it with 15 games in 37 days to close out the regular season. Kyler Kleven has been red hot on a 14 game point streak which includes nine goals 15 assists. Kleven’s linemate Dan Russell is on a six game goal scoring streak with seven goals and four helpers since January 31st. The third member of their line Jay Buchholz leads the Tauros with nine points on three goals and six assists against the Wings this year. Sam Skinner has three goals and nine assists over the last 10 games from the blue line. Meanwhile in goal since New Year’s Eve the Tauros goaltending duo has righted the ship. In 29 games before NYE Tauros goaltenders had combined for a .896 SV% and 3.47 GAA which would be 18th in the NAHL, meanwhile in 16 games since NYE Ben Garrity and A.J. Ruskowski have combined to post a .927 SV% and 2.28 GAA which would be fifth in the NAHL over the course of a full season.
The Wings meanwhile have gone 6-4-0 over their last 10 games, their worst stretch since the first 10 games of the season. Their 3.70 goals-per-game is the second best in the Central behind the Tauros’ 3.91; the teams rank fifth and second in the league respectively. Jakob Breault leads the Wings and is eighth in the league in scoring with 52 points on 16 goals and 36 assists. Former Bismarck Bobcat Cooper Haar is second on the team with 42 points and leads the Wings against the Tauros with three goals and four assists. Between the pipes Henry Welsch has been dominant all season posting a 1.99 GAA and .927 SV%.
As the Tauros look to lock up playoff position the weekend looms large as the Bobcats and Bruins face each other and the Wilderness play the Midwest Division’s Chippewa Steel. With the Tauros celebrating their annual family weekend and players’ families in the stands points will be imperative.
The Tauros ask fans to wear orange on Friday night as we celebrate the life of our honorary coach Grantley Johnson who lost his battle with AML Leukemia on February 6th. Tickets for both games are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page.