The Minotauros continue their final long road swing of the season with a trip to Austin, Minnesota, to take on the rival Bruins as the pair battle for playoff position in the jam-packed Central. Minot used a weekend sweep of the Minnesota Wilderness to move one point ahead of the Bruins whom were swept by Bismarck last weekend. The sweep of the Wilderness continues the Tauros best run of the season giving them five wins in a row for the second time this year, the Tauros have lost just once in the last nine contests. The Bruins meanwhile have struggled since the start of 2019, going 3-6-3 with their only wins coming over Brookings and the Midwest Division’s Minnesota Magicians.
For better or worse the Tauros season has pretty much been determined by their first periods. When leading or tied after the first the Tauros are 23-4-0, when trailing after the opening period the Tauros are 3-13-1. The difference is even more dramatic after two periods when the Tauros are the NAHL’s only perfect team going 23-0-0 when leading or tied after 40 minutes but are just 3-17-1 when trailing going into the third.
The Tauros offense remains among the league’s best netting 3.45 goals per game (4th) on 34.50 shots per game (7th). That offense should see a boost with the return of leading scorer Keenan Lund along with the additions of Patrick Choi and Quinn Warmuth at last week’s trade deadline.
Defensively the Tauros have moved back into the top 10 thanks to resurgent play from the goaltending duo of Ben Garrity and Nicholas Grabko. Over the last nine games the pair have combined to go 8-1-0 allowing just 1.55 goals per game while stopping 94.68% of the shots they have seen.
The Bruins looked to add depth to a top heavy offense by trading for Odessa’s top two producers adding Jared Christy and Kyle Hebster. The duo paid immediate dividends posting three goals and eight assists in a weekend sweep of the Minnesota Magicians, but the Bruin offense managed just 50 shots and two goals last weekend while being swept by the Bismarck Bobcats. Leading scorer Dante Sheriff remains a force posting 47 points (18g 29a) in 42 games including four goals and five assists against the Tauros this season.
Defensively the Bruins have fallen off after ranking near the top of the league for much of the season. The Bruins now rank eighth overall after allowing just 54 goals against through their 28 games before Christmas break the Bruins have allowed 57 goals against in just 15 games since. The difference, an average of 1.93 goals against prior to the break compared to 3.80 since.
Watch and Listen
The Farmers Union Pregame Show starts at 6:50 on Friday and Saturday night for 7:05 puck drops both nights on the Minotauros Network, HockeyTV.com and gotauros.com/listen-live.