By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros weekend got off to a bang last night when the Tauros went to Bismarck and knocked off their division rivals 6-4; now they look to stay hot against as Aberdeen comes to town. The Tauros have played well in the Central Division starting 5-1-0 against divisional opponents. The run of good play has the Tauros in second place just one point behind division leading Austin who the Tauros are 2-0-0 against on the season.
Last night in Bismarck the Tauros won a battle of wills. Twice the Bobcats fought back to tie the game and every time the did the Tauros had an answer. Blake Lizotte initially gave the Tauros the lead 1-0 just 3:33 into the game when he tipped home a feed from Johnny Walker on a two-on-one rush. Jared Spooner drew the Bobcats even after a Tauros defender had his stick get stuck in a gap in the boards near the zamboni door leading to a turnover. Two minutes later however Jake Howie grabbed the lead back for the Tauros scoring on a slick rush beating the Bobcat defender to the outside before cutting to the goal. Colton Kramer’s first of the season four minutes later gave the Tauros a 3-1 lead headed into the dressing room for the first break.
After outshooting the Bobcats 12-6 in the first 20 minutes the second period saw more level play but no scoring until the 16:16 mark when the Bobcats got goals from Spooner. Then Evan Giesler scored at 17:44 to tie the game. The Tauros answered back however in a wild end to the period. Jon Lizotte score 21 seconds after the Bobcats tied it and then John Snodgrass scored 52 seconds after that to restore the two goal lead headed into the third. The Bobcats tried to mount a comeback again in the third when JM Piotrowski but the lead to one, but Snodgrass again had a quick answer scoring just 8 seconds after play had restarted pushing the final to 6-4 in favor of the Tauros.
Now the focus of the weekend turns toward the third place Aberdeen Wings. The Tauros took the first meeting between the two clubs two weeks ago in Aberdeen by a 4-3 final. In that meeting Jared Brandt and Alexander Kasitsyn each had a goal and an assist for the Tauros, and Quinn Fuchs and Chase Springman each chipped in a goal as well while Tanner Holmes made 23 saves for the win.
Aberdeen is lead offensively by Ronnie Hein’s 12 points on the season (7g, 5a) and Kyle Haak’s 11 (4g, 7a). Two of Bjorn Sigurdarson’s three goals on the season came against the Tauros in the first meet between the two clubs. In net Andrew Shortridge, who the Tauros beat two weeks ago, has the third best save percentage at .940 and second best GAA at 1.55, in the NAHL. Shortridge is backed up by Chad Catt who has struggled early this season but posted strong numbers last season (2.18 GAA, .937 SV%) including a .933 SV% against the Tauros.
No matter what happens this weekend the Tauros can not be passed in the standings, however a pair of wins would begin to separate them from the pack and possibly allow the Tauros to pass Austin and take first place in the standings.
Promotions: Friday night will be the Tauros annual Halloween costume contest with prizes for the top three costumes. There will also be safe trick-or-treating for young fans in costume. The Tauros will also be unveiling their “Hunting Jerseys” this weekend. The alternate jersey will be worn for every home game in the month of November and will be auctioned off after the November 22nd game against the Bismarck Bobcats.