by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Austin, MN – It is fair to expect that the Tauros and Bruins will play a close game this Friday night as each of the previous three meeting in Austin have gone to a shootout. The Tauros will be looking for revenge as well as a pair of shutout losses late in January sent the Tauros into a five game winless streak which just ended on Wednesday.
Goaltending has been the story of the season series and in a somewhat strange twist, both teams’ backup has out performed their highly touted starter. For the Tauros Ryan Ruck has posted a stellar 1.92 GAA and .947 SV%, compared to Tyler Parks’ still respectable 2.48 GAA and .921 SV%. Meanwhile for the Bruins Jason Pawloski surrendered three first period goals to the Tauros on January fifth, and since has gone eight periods, an overtime, and a shootout without having to dig the puck out of his net.
With such strong goaltending at either end of the ice not many players have posted impressive offensive numbers for either team. For Austin, C.J. Smith has posted seven points (3g 4a) in the teams’ seven contests. Steven Sherman leads the charge for the Tauros with five points on two goals and three assists.
At 33-8-5 the Bruins have already clinched a playoff spot. Despite the Bruins having the second best record in the league the Tauros have had success against them going 4-2-1 in the season series. A good showing is imperative for the Tauros as this game could very well be a playoff preview. The Tauros are just six wins (or Coulee Region losses) away from clinching a playoff spot and should the standings hold would face the Bruins in the first round.
Player to Watch: Matt Audette, the Tauros d-man has a goal and two assists against the Central Division leader and after being snubbed for the Top Prospects roster may want to show Chris Tok what he will be missing next week in Troy, MI.
Watch the Game: Puck drop in Austin is at 7:05 p.m., the game can be seen on www.fasthockey.com with Ken Oda on the call by clicking the “away” button.