by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Austin, MN – The Minotauros face the biggest game in franchise history tonight in a winner takes all Game 5 in the Central Division Final against the Austin Bruins. The winner will hoist the Central Cup and advance to the NAHL Semi-Final while the loser will start their summer vacation.
The team that has scored first has won each of the first four games. The Tauros won Games 1 and 4 while the Bruins took Games 2 and 3. One coincidental trend in the Tauros favor is that the road team has won each of the odd numbered games of the series. Better news for the Tauros is that they were better away from the Maysa Arena than at it with a 21-7-2 road record compared 16-10-4.
After four games over nine days there are few surprises left for the two clubs. While the Bruins offense has been lead by Alex Pettersson (2g 2a) and Alex Jasiek (2g 2a), they have featured a balanced attack with nine different players posting goals in the series. The Tauros meanwhile have had only six goal scorers with Nate Pionk (2g 2a) leading the team with four points. James Mathias (3g 4a) and John Snodgrass (3g 2a) also have two goals for the Tauros in the series; Nick Monfils (3g 4a) has four assists.
In net the Tauros have gone with Atte Tolvanen (2.15 GAA .923 SV%) for every minute of the postseason and after his 41 save win on Saturday night there is no doubt who the Tauros coaching staff will turn to on Monday night. Meanwhile for the Bruins Jake Kielly (1.94 GAA .920 SV%) and Evan Smith (3.00 GAA .889 SV%) have each appeared in four of the Bruins postseason games. Smith has both of Austin’s wins over the Tauros but was pulled from Saturday’s Game 4 after allowing three goals in the first period. There has been no word on whom the Bruins will start in goal.
Should the Tauros win they will advance to play the Janesville Jets in the NAHL Semi-Final and continue what has already been the organization’s most successful season. If they lose, their season will be over. Puck drop is at 7:05, Tauros fans are welcome to attend a road watch party at the Maysa Arena hosted by the Minotauros staff. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details, on the party.