By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – After an emotional win on Thursday night the Minotauros came out of the gate slow on Friday afternoon in a quick turnaround game. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights outshot the Tauros 12-7 in the first and scored the period’s only goal when Jimmy Elser got loose on a breakaway and beat Austin Park for a 1-0 lead.
Elser’s goal to open the scoring was the first time that the Tauros trailed all season, and after a bad first period the team deserved to be behind on the scoreboard. But the Tauros bounced back in the final two periods, in outshooting the Knights 33-17 over the final 40 minutes. Still it took until the final minute of the second period for the Tauros to break through the solid goaltending of Colt Hanks. Reid Stefanson scored his second goal of the season from below the goal line with the Tauros on the power play. Stefanson appeared to be trying to pass to Nolan Sawchuk, who had snuck in from the point, at the back post but the puck bounced in to the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tauros finally took the lead with just 6:18 to play when Zack Bross created space for Spencer Zwiener to score on the rush. Bross made a smart play in the neutral zone faking that he was going to play the puck back to the defense before turning to attack. After Zwiener received the puck Bross continued to drive the net taking a pair of defenders with him and Hanks never saw Zwiener’s shot through the traffic giving the Tauros a 2-1 edge.
Park made all 17 saves required of him in the final two periods to protect the lead and the Tauros scored their first comeback win of the season.
Next Up: Now the Tauros move on to Day 4 of the NAHL Showcase and the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Tauros and the Amarillo Bulls are the only remaining undefeated teams at the Showcase, meaning an Amarillo loss to 4-1-0 Janesville would set the Tauros up for a chance to be the only undefeated team at the Showcase. Amarillo currently holds a one goal edge in goal differential meaning if the Bulls win tomorrow the Tauros would need to win by a larger margin to be named Showcase Champions. The Ice Dogs swept a three game set with Topeka before the Showcase and then won on the opening day in Blaine. Since then they dropped an overtime game to Austin and lost 3-0 to Odessa. Season Ticket Holders can pick up their tickets, watch the game, and enjoy a complimentary meal from Delissimo tomorrow starting at 5:30 at the Maysa Arena. Puck drop is at 6:15 on the Minotauros Network.
Showcase Signed Pucks: The Tauros are auctioning off signed pucks by every goal scorer on DASH Digital Auction Showdown. Dash the official auction partner of the NAHL and the Tauros will have unique memorabilia and fan experience opportunities for fans throughout the season. Go to www.dashapp.io or search “Dash Auctions” in the app store to win today. Make sure to get the Dash App before Monday when the Tauros will announce a unique fan experiences for the home opening weekend!