By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – The Minotauros offense struggled on the first two days of the NAHL Showcase, and for the first 30 minutes this morning it appeared to be more of the same. Trailing by a pair the Tauros offense finally woke up and rattled off four unanswered goals to earn the Tauros the first victory of the season. For the second year in a row the Tauros first victory came on the third day of the Showcase at the expense of the Spingfield Jr. Blues.
Tanner Holmes made his first start of the season in net for the Tauros and had to be aleart early. His strong play minimized the damage in a first period that saw the Tauros get outshot 11-5. However defensive zone turnovers lead to a pair of goals for the Blues to give them a 2-0 lead after the first period. On both Blues goals Holmes made the first save but eventually was beaten on scrambles in front of the goal.
About five minutes into the middle frame the Tauros seemed to gain control of play. They kept play primarily in the Springfield zone and outshot the Blues 6-2 over a seven minute stretch but were unable to beat Dryden McKay. Then finally with 8:29 left to play in the period Blake Lizotte was able to tap a rebound in behind McKay and the Tauros were finally on the board. Just 1:21 later Johnny Walker picked up a loose puck just inside the Springfield blue line and walked around a defender before firing a wrist shot that had enough on it to pop up off of McKay’s blocked and find a way into the Blues net. Walker’s first of the season tied the game at two a side, which is where it stood at the start of the third period.
The Tauros did not waste any time getting going in the third. Just 2:53 into the period Blake Lizotte won a draw back to Jared Brandt. Brandt immediately fired towards the net and Christian Mohs put the rebound in behind McKay to give the Tauros the lead. Walker would add some insurance when he got free on a breakaway after Jon Lizotte stole the puck at the Tauros blue line and sent a perfect pass to Walker as he was heading up ice. Walker’s goal made the score 4-2, which is where it held for the final.
Notes: The Tauros won despite being outshot 24-23, though the Tauros outshot the Blues 18-13 over the final 40 minutes. Walker, who had two goals in 24 games for the Tauros last season as a defenseman, had two goals today skating at wing. Mohs was plus three for the day.
Next Up: On the final day of the NAHL Blaine Showcase the Minotauros will face the Wenatchee Wild. Like the Tauros the Wild are 1-2-0 going into the final day looking for a chance to break even. Jake Ahlgren and Jacob Liljaroos each have two goals to lead the Wild on the young season. The Wild are coached by Minot, ND native Bliss Littler.