By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
The Minotauros entered their second consecutive weekend with the Aberdeen Wings riding a six game winning streak and a chance to pull over the .500 mark. A dramatic comeback and overtime victory on Friday pushed the win streak to seven games, and set a new franchise mark for longest winning streak. However a last minute loss in Aberdeen on Saturday ended the streak, and sent the Tauros back to a game under even on the season at 12-13-2. The win on Friday night also served to push the Tauros a full 10 points ahead of Brookings for the final playoff spot in the Central Division, as teams approach the halfway point of the season.
On Friday night the Tauros fell behind early. Erik Baskin got the Wings on the board just 7:43 into the game with a power play strike. That goal would be the only puck that would get past Brandon Wildung however as the Tauro goaltender who earlier in the night had picked up the La Quinta Inn & Suites Minotauro of the Month award for his play in November stopped each of the other 40 shots he saw in his first December start. The Tauros offense which had put up eight goals and 77 shots the weekend before against the Wings continued to pepper the Wings netminder, Chad Catt. Catt did his best to make Baskin’s goal stand, but with just over seven minutes remaining Jake McCann poked a loose puck past him for his fifth of the season. McCann’s marker tied the game at one and sent it to overtime. The extra session saw the teams play careful defense and just as it appeared the teams would go to a shootout Colton Kramer won a battle behind the Wings net and found Jon Lizotte alone in front. Lizotte fired a shot into the top corner of Catt’s net giving the Tauros a 2-1 win with just five seconds remaining in overtime.
Saturday night’s affair in Aberdeen got off to a late start due to travel difficulties for the Minotauros. Once the game finally did get going the Tauros road weariness showed as they were outshot 14-7 in the first period. Merrick Madsen kept the Wings off the board however making all 14 saves required of him in the first frame. Kyle Haak eventually broke through for the Wings at the 12:35 mark of the second. After starting the Wings offense, Haak then got the Tauros offense going as well. The Wings forward took a five minute major for boarding Jadin Martin in the neutral zone. Jake Howie scored 1:29 into the major penalty to draw the Tauros even but that was all that they could get on the prolonged man advantage. Then with just over a second remaining the middle frame Jonathan Grebosky found a loose puck in the slot and shoveled it over a sprawled out Madsen to make it 2-1 after two. Scott Dornbrock fired a shot from the blue line that beat Catt and tied the game at two just 1:24 into the third. Then with under a minute to play as it looked like the teams would head to overtime for the second night in a row, Jake Horton one-timed a failed clearing attempt and beat Madsen through a screen to make it 3-2. The Tauros would get Madsen to the bench for an extra attacker but were unable to draw even taking their first loss in eight games.
Next Up: Now the Tauros have another home-and-home set with the Bismarck Bobcats. Coincidentally both halves of the series will be the home team’s Teddy Bear Toss Night. Bring a new teddy bear to the game and when the Tauros score their first goal of the night toss it over the glass. All of the bears will be donated to charity; those brought to the Maysa for Friday night’s game will go to the Minot Domestic Crisis Center and the Minot Police Department.