By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros host a new opponent for the first time this season as the Kenai River Brown Bears come to the Magic City to help ring in 2014. Despite being in the NAHL together for the last two plus seasons the clubs have never met. The Bears come in 15-14-3 and in fifth place in the Midwest Division, while the Tauros have fallen to 14-16-3 while on a three game losing streak.
The Tauros recent slump has come for the same reason the club struggled in October, struggles on offense. While the Tauros have post only three goals over the last three games the difference from earlier struggles is that this time the Tauros are still getting offensive chances. Over the three game losing streak the Tauros have fired 100 shots on goal including 41 in last Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Aberdeen. Jake McCann is the only Tauro with two goals over the last five games which has him once again tied for the team lead at seven with Colton Kramer. .
Alec Butcher leads the Brown Bears’ offense with 12 goals and 24 assists on the season; his 36 points also leads the entire NAHL. Despite having the league’s leading scorer the Kenai season has been a bizarro version of the Tauros. While Tauros started slow and have gone 11-3-1 since November 1st, the Bears started strong before going 3-10-3 over the same time.
In net both clubs have given their starter about two thirds of the work and both Brandon Wildung and Zach Quinn have posted a .919 SV% in those games. The difference has been that the Tauros allow 2.39 fewer shots per game than the Brown Bears, which is why Wildung has posted a 2.51 GAA compared to Quinn’s 2.55.
Tickets for both games are still available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page. These two games mark the last home games for the Tauros until January 18th and 19th. Puck drop on New Year's Eve is at 7:35 p.m. and on New Year's Day at 7:00 p.m.