By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – As the regular season winds down the Minot Minotauros are locked with the Bismarck Bobcats in battle for the Central Division’s top spot; meanwhile the Minnesota Magicians a fighting for their playoff lives trailing the Aberdeen Wings for the division’s fourth and final playoff spot. The Tauros come in as one of the hottest teams in the league riding a four game win streak, having won their last six home games, and a 13-1-2 record over the last 16 games overall. The Magicians however are struggling in their attempt to make the postseason going 4-6-3 since the start of February. This weekend will be the final meeting of the regular season for the two teams who have split the first six meetings of the year.
The Tauros have been red hot since the calender turned to February going 9-1-2 and out-scoring opponents a combined 42-21. The offensive production has been keyed in part by newcomers reigning Central Division Easton Hockey Star of the Week Matt Jennings (14g 23a) has 12 points in nine games since joining the Tauros. Max Reisinger (12g 25a) has also been a force since joining the Tauros with seven goals and 13 assists in 19 games. Christian Mohs (15g 28a) leads the Tauros with four goals and four assists against the Magicians and Troy Degler (6g 13a) has three goals and three assists against them.
Beating the Magicians will require the Tauros finding a solution for Casey Jerry (16g 26a), Brady Heppner (14g 16a), Pierce Crawford (14g 19a); the trio has combined for 14 of the Magicians 23 goals against the Tauros. One weapon that the Tauros will not have to worry about for the Magicians is Joe Nathe (5g 15a) who was acquired via trade by the Tauros on February 3rd. Nathe was fourth on the Magicians in scoring against the Tauros with a goal and four assists.
In net Gunner Rivers has been among the best in the league since coming to Minot posting a 7-1-2 record. His 1.87 GAA as a Tauro would be second best in the NAHL and his .942 SV% would be tops among NAHL goaltenders if carried over a full season. Will Ulrich (15-16-4) has played the majority of the games for the Magicians though Daniil Gerasimov (2-2-1) has the last two starts for Minnesota.
Friday night is Sports Specialties Night at the Maysa Arena, the crew from Sports Specialties will have some of their Utility Vehicles on display outside the arena. Then on Saturday night is Tauros Teachers Appreciation Night sponsored by Tesoro Dakota Square; teachers get in free with their school ID and fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used book for the Tauros book drive. The books will be given to local schools and fans who donate will be entered into a raffle for a chance at several prizes. Tickets for all remaining Tauros home games can be purchased by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page.