Minot, ND – For the seventh consecutive season the Minotauros have clinched a spot in the Robertson Cup Playoffs thanks to a weekend split with the Aberdeen Wings. The Tauros appeared to find some of last season’s Miracle Minotauros erasing third period deficits on both Friday and Saturday nights earning three of a possible four points on the weekend.
On Friday night the Tauros struck first late in the first period, when Andrew Kangas netted his 15th of the season, but the Wings would answer back less than 90 seconds later and the period would end a 1-1 draw. The second period belonged to the Wings and Joe Strada who had two goals in the period. Sandwiched between Strada’s markers was a goal for Aberdeen’s Stepan Pokorny and another for Kangas. Trailing by two entering the final period the Tauros exploded for three goals and kept the Wings off the board to get the win. Didrik Henbrant scored the first early in the frame. Then after Tim Makowski was ejected for checking from behind Fritz Belisle drew the Tauros even on the ensuing power play. With just over three minutes remaining and the Tauros on the power play again Keenan Lund hammered home the game winner.
On Saturday night the Wings pushed back early scoring on the opening shift of the game with John Sladic netting his 18th of the season. Tauro defenseman Connor McGinnis scored his second of the year on a breakaway late in the second but Strada answered just two minutes later to make it 2-1 heading into the final frame. Vince Marino scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season against Aberdeen just four minutes apart early in the third to flip the lead in the Tauros favor. However with just one minute remaining Pokorny found a loose puck and tied the game sending it to overtime. Pokorny repeated the trick in overtime to give the Wings the 4-3 win.
With the three-point weekend the Tauros now know that they will be in the Robertson Cup Playoffs again this year after falling in the title game last season. What they do not know is who they will play and where the series will start. The overtime point on Saturday looms large in conjunction with the Austin Bruins loss to Brookings the same night as it extends the Tauros lead to two points on their Minnesota based rival. The Bruins have one more game remaining than the Tauros a two point lead means at best that game can draw them even. While the Bruins are two points back the Bismarck Bobcats are just three points behind the Tauros. All three teams have clinched their bid to the postseason, the battle now is for second place behind Aberdeen and home ice advantage in the first round. Regardless of the final position the Tauros will open their Central Cup defense on April 12th.