By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Brookings, SD – The Minotauros went to Brookings hoping to cut the Blizzard’s lead over the Tauros in the standings down to one point. Instead the a pair of close loses push the Tauros nine points back of the Blizzard for third place in the division. The good news is that the Tauros still hold a 17 point lead on the Coulee Region Chill for the final playoff spot in the Cental.
Friday’s game started well for the Tauros. Just 0:58 into the game Cameron Rowat was able to pick up a loose puck that Drew Weigman misplayed behind the net and beat the goaltender back to the front to give the Tauros a 1-0 lead. Thomas Williams was able to draw the Blizzard back even with a shorthanded goal after blocking a shot at the point and beating the Tauros down the ice. The Tauros finished the period with a 2-1 lead however as Mason Morelli was able to score on the Tauros second power play opportunity of the game.
The Tauros followed their strong first period in which they outshot the Blizzard 14-9, with one of their worst periods of the season. The Blizzard fired 25 pucks on net compared to the Tauros six, if not for the stellar play of Tyler Parks the Tauros could have been out of the game after 40 minutes. Drew Brevig was able to solve Parks however at the 18:37 mark of the period and the teams went into the third tied 2-2.
The Tauros managed a more even final period but Brandon Parker was able to beat Parks with 5:12 remaining and the Tauros were never able to find the equalizer. An empty net goal with nine seconds remaining pushed the final to 4-2.
Saturday night’s game followed a similar script. The teams exchanged power play goals in the first with Evan Hesse scoring for the Blizzard and Jerry Laakso netting his first as a Tauro. The teams traded goals again in the second period when Williams scored off of Ryan Ruck’s misplay. Lucas Oliver drew the Tauros even, after coming out from behind the net Oliver out-waited Weigman and beat him to the blocker side.
Once again however the Blizzard pulled away in the third, Nick DeCenzo put the Blizzard ahead at the 5:26 mark with a shot from just inside the blue line. The Tauros would get a pair of power plays in the final seven minutes of the game but failed to score on either of them and then with the net empty once again the Blizzard were able to score to make the final 4-2.
Three Stars of the Weekend:
1st Star: Cameron Rowat, goal, assist, fight, even
2nd Star: Lucas Oliver, goal, assist, even
3rd Star: Jake Clifford, assist, even
Next Up: The Tauros get a chance at revenge as the Blizzard come to Minot for a rare weekday game this Wednesday at 7:05. Tickets are still available for the game by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page.