The Minot Minotauros host the first place Austin Bruins this weekend for just their third and fourth home games of the season. The Tauros are tied with the Odessa Jackalopes for the fewest home games played this season. The Bruins meanwhile come in having lost just once in regulation all season long, at 10-1-3 the Bruins are three points ahead of the Tauros for the division’s top spot. The last time the Bruins came to the Maysa the Tauros completed a playoff sweep to win the Central Cup and advance to the Robertson Cup Final Four.
The Tauros come in off of a road sweep of the Brookings Blizzard by a combined 12-4 margin. Since the road trip the Tauros have had a bit of a makeover. Gone are Ryan Green and Nicolas Petruolo who have been traded to Brookings and Jamestown respectively, while University of Maine commit Levi Kleiboer arrives from the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. The Tauros had been one player over the roster limit prior to the deals and now sit at the mandated 23 players.
Overall the Tauros have the top ranked offense in the league scoring 4.21 goals-per-game though that total is inflated by a 6.25 goals per game average against Brookings in four meetings. Against everyone else the Tauros have managed a still respectable 3.4 goals per game which would rank fifth in the NAHL. The Tauros offense already has nine players with double digit point totals thanks to a balanced attack which has seen production from three lines.
Defensively the Tauros have been almost as good allowing just 2.14 goals per game. Again the Blizzard effect has helped as the Tauros have allowed just four goals over the four meetings with Brookings, however excluding games against Brookings and the outlier of seven goals allowed in the season opener the Tauros have allowed just 2.11 goals per game in their nine games. The Tauros opponents have struggled to score however they have not struggled to shoot, the Tauros rank 17th in shots against per game allowing 32.64 shots against per game. The difference has been stellar goaltending from the duo of Nicholas Grabko and Ben Garrity whom have almost identical save percentages of .932 and .931 respectively.
Austin is off to the best start in the league capturing 23 out of a possible 28 points. The Bruin offense has lacked the depth of the Tauros however with just four players in double digits. Dante Sheriff leads the veteran team (11 returners) with 15 points on six goals and nine assists. The other three players in double figures; Dante Zapata (3g 9a), Jed Pietila (2g 9a), and Andrew Willis (2g 8a) are all veterans as well.
Like the Tauros the key to the Bruins success has been defense. Allowing just 1.79 goals against per game the Bruins are the only team to do a better job at keeping the puck out of their net than the Tauros. Unlike the Tauros the results are partially the result limiting chances against. The Bruins are second best allowing just 25.07 shots against per game.
Tickets and Promotions
Tickets for this weekend’s games are available under the “Tickets” tab atop this page. Friday night marks the start of the Tauros’ “Month of Giving” during which the Tauros ask their fans to support several local causes. First, all month long the Tauros will be accepting donations to the Circle Sanitation Coat Drive. The Tauros ask that fans bring any new or gently used winter coats or clothing and place them in the Circle Sanitation bins at Minotauros games.
Friday night Heart of the City will be on hand collecting nonperishable food items for local pantries. They will also be collecting at games on November 12th and 16th.
Saturday Essentials for Learning will be collecting personal hygiene products for needy kids at McKinley Elementary. Items like toothbrushes, body wash, laundry soap, hair brushes, toilet paper, and shampoo can make a huge difference in a child’s life and education. This program and private distribution work similarly to Backpack Buddies. Monetary donations to the Souris Valley United Way are also used to support the program as well.
Fans who wish to donate to any of these causes but can not bring their donation items to the games can bring donated items to the Minotauros office during normal business hours.