Minot, ND – The Minotauros and Bobcats play the ninth and tenth games of the Subway Cup this weekend with another home-and-home series that kicks off in Bismarck on Friday night and shifts to the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena on Saturday. The Tauros are 3-4-1 against the Cats so far this season and are in danger of letting the Cats win the Subway Cup series for the first time since the trophy’s inception. The Tauros have won the season series in each of the last three years. With just four games remaining in the Subway Cup this season the Tauros need to win three.
The Tauros have been inconsistent of late and it reflects in their record going 4-4-2 over the past ten games. The result is that the Tauros have fallen to fourth place in the Central Division just six points ahead of the charging Minnesota Wilderness; but also just three points behind the second place Austin Bruins. Last weekend the Tauros split with those second place Bruins to kick off a run of nine games in a row against teams currently in the Central Division playoff spots. Just six of the Tauros 23 remaining games are against teams not currently in playoff position.
For the third place Cats the schedule lines up similarly with six of their final 24 games against teams currently in playoff position. Their 4-5-1 record over the last 10 is one point worse than the Tauros but because two of those four wins came against the Tauros they sit ahead of Minot in the standings. Last weekend the Cats were swept by the Wilderness in Cloquet held to just two goals on 58 shots. Despite that they sit just behind the Tauros in offensive ranking with the Tauros ranked third scoring 3.84 goals per game and the Cats fourth netting 3.78 pucks per contest.
The Tauros offensive stars have shined in the season series against the Cats Nik Armstrong-Kingkade has six of his 23 goals against Bismarck while Kleven has added five of his 18 on the season in the eight games against Bismarck. Sam Skinner has had a point per game with three goals and five assists against the Cats; all three of his goals have been big as well as the Tauros are 2-0-1 against the Cats when Skinner gets a goal.
The weekend set will certainly have playoff implications, with both the Wilderness and Bruins playing Midwest Division opponents and Aberdeen facing St. Cloud it is entirely possible that if the Tauros or Bobcats sweep the weekend the loser will be the only team in the Central playoff race not to get points. With the Central Division already 12-1-2 against the Midwest the two North Dakota based members of the Central who do not get to play out-of-division after the Showcase should not count on much help from Chippewa or Janesville this weekend.
Friday’s game in Bismarck starts at 7:15 with Saturday’s contest in Minot starting at 8:05 after the Minot State Women’s game. Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page.