By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros and Wings sit on opposite ends of the Central Division standings however the feisty Wings have given the first place Tauros all that they can handle this season. After winning the first meeting a week ago in a nine round shootout the Tauros went to Aberdeen and fell 2-1 in regulation on Friday before falling down 2-0 to the Wings Saturday at the Maysa. Two quick goals in the second period however drew them even and James LaDouce found to extra time winner to salvage a weekend split.
Friday night (full box) saw the Wings jump out to a fast early lead. Will Hammer scored on the power play just 2:52 into the game and Christopher Murphy struck at 4:49 off of a turnover to give the Wings a 2-0 lead less than five minutes in. The Tauros pushed back throughout the night sending 38 shots on goal but Gavin Paczosa stopped all but Derek Frentz’s final attempt with 0:03 on the clock to lose the shutout for a 2-1 final in Aberdeen.
The next night in Minot (full box) the Wings once again jumped out to a two goal lead. The Wings scored on their first two power play opportunities when Carter Roo at 9:35 of the first and Kevin Fitzgerald at 6:59 of the second beat Lucas Murray on rebound goals. However this time, with the home crowd behind them the Tauros bounced back finding a pair of power play goals of their own. Zack Bross started the rally when he scored from behind the net at 10:02 of the second. It appeared Bross was going to carry the puck around behind the goal before he stopped and banked the puck in off of the back of Pete Thome. Just 1:20 later Frentz scored his second of the weekend this time muscling in a rebound in front to draw the Tauros even. The score remained tied through the rest of regulation setting the stage for LaDouce’s heroics. In the mad rush that is three-on-three overtime LaDouce was able to finish an across the slot pass from Frentz into a wide open side of the net for the win.
The game winning goal was LaDouce’s third game winner of the season and kept the Tauros three points ahead of the Austin Bruins with two games in-hand for the Division lead. Next up for the Tauros is a home set with the defending NAHL Champion Minnesota Wilderness. The two game set will be the final games in which the Tauros will wear their Dream Catcher’s Baseball jerseys. After the game on Saturday the jerseys will be auctioned off with a portion of the proceeds going to the Dream Catchers. Tickets for both Friday and Saturday’s games are available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page.