By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – With just eight games remaining before the start of the Robertson Cup Playoffs the Minotauros are looking to get back to playing the dominating hockey they played earlier in the season. Injuries and illness contributed to a February slide that saw the Tauros fall out of first place in the Central Division. The Tauros did finish the month with a sweep of Brookings and then kicked of March with a split with the Midwest Division leading Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Now with the Kenai River Brown Bears in town the Tauros look lock up home ice advantage in the first round while gaining ground on Austin for the Central crown.
The Brown Bears will enter the weekend one of just two teams eliminated from playoff contention. They come in with the 23rd ranked offense and defense scoring just 2.19 goals per game while surrendering 4.15 goals per game to their opponents. The Brown Bears low offensive output does not mean that they are not dangerous. Jack Gessert (26g 17a) has lead the team with 43 points on the season. Aside from Gessert, Maurin Bouvet (15g 20a), Tyler Andrews (4g 23a), and Matt Rudin (10g 13a), have each shown the ability to produce offense. In net Kenai has struggled to find a solution with six different goaltenders having suited up for the Brown Bears. Kenai has settled on Alec Derks (6-13-0 3.88 gaa, .878 sv%) and Evan Hauser (1-12-1, 4.12 gaa, .873 sv%) and the pair have pretty much split time since late January.
The Tauros meanwhile come in eighth in offense and fourth in defense. The offense has posted 3.21 goals per game this year lead by a top line of Blake Lizotte (14g 36a), Christian Mohs (18g 31a), and Johnny Walker (18g 20a). Aside from the Tauros top line, depth scoring has been abundant and balanced. Every forward on the roster with at least 10 games played has at least 10 points, and 10 Tauros have at least 20 points. In net Atte Tolvanen (24-12-5, 2.03 gaa, .919 sv%) has appeared in 42 of the Tauros 52 games and is in the NAHL top 7 for every meaningful goaltending category.
Both Friday and Saturday night’s games start at 8:05 p.m. at the Maysa Arena. Tickets for the remaining regular season home games are available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page; for $100 fans can get season tickets for the remaineder of the season and a replica road jersey. Season tickets come with a reserved spot in the bleachers as well as the chance to buy playoff tickets before they are available to the general public. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org.