Aberdeen, SD – The Minotauros head to Aberdeen, SD, to take on the rival Wings as the Central Division playoff race heats up. The Tauros sit in third place in the Central two points ahead of the Austin Bruins and two points behind the Bismarck Bobcats. The Wings meanwhile are in first place eight points ahead of the Tauros. The two will play five games in the next three weeks which will set the tone for the final third of the Tauros season.
The Tauros have points in seven of their last ten games including 3-0-1 over the last four games. Kyler Kleven has points in each of the Tauros last ten games with six goals and eight assists. He also leads the Tauros against Aberdeen with three goals and an assist over the first five meetings. Jay Buchholz with two goals and two assists and Cole O’Connell with a goal and three helpers each also have four points against Aberdeen. Ben Garrity has been stellar since his return from injury going 3-0-1 with a 1.935 GAA and .940 SV%, he also committed to play NCAA DI hockey for the University of Wisconsin this week. Backup goaltender A.J. Ruskowski has played some of his best hockey going 1-0-1 with a .928 SV% and 2.56 GAA.
The Wings have cooled off after recording points in 19 of 20 games dropping three of their last four. The Wings are tied with the Tauros with 3.78 goals-per-games which is third best in the league. While the Tauros have been top heavy offensively with two 20 goal scorers and no one else with more than 13 goals; the Wings have been deeper five players with at least 10 goals but leading scorers Jakob Breault and Natan Vertes have just 16 each. Meanwhile in goal after splitting time early in the season with Jake Sibell, Henry Welsch has appeared to take hold of the starting job being the goalie of record in five of the last seven games.
With five of the Tauros next seven games against the Wings the Tauros have a chance to make a run for the top of the division. A poor showing however could push the Tauros back into a fight for their playoff lives however with the Tauros just nine points ahead of the Minnesota Wilderness for the final playoff spot. After this weekend’s games the teams will meet again on Wednesday night on the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena in a make up game from the cancelled game on October 12th. Tickets from the cancelled game are still valid for the Wednesday’s game.