Weekend Series Schedule
Friday 10/5 @ Bismarck – 7:15 p.m. (CST) – HockeyTV.com and minotauroshockey.com/listen-live
Saturday 10/6 in Minot – 7:35 p.m. (CST) – AM 1390 KRRZ, HockeyTV.com, and minotauroshockey.com/listen-live
The Minotauros and Bobcats renew their rivalry for the 8th season. The Cats controlled the early days of the Highway 83 rivalry but the recent years have belonged to the Tauros including the Tauros taking each of the first two Subway North Dakota Cups. The Tauros went 7-4-1 against the Cats last season including a pivotal 4-1 at the Pepsi Rink on March 7th to begin the push for the Central Division’s final playoff spot. Going into that game the Tauros trailed the Bobcats by six points for fourth place, the Tauros won that night and the next five games as well to pull away from the Cats and finished the season eight points ahead of the Bismarck.
After Friday’s game in Bismarck the Tauros will return to the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena for the first time since clinching the first Central Cup last spring. Five months and two days will have passed since Nolan Sawchuck’s double overtime winner against the Austin Bruins to send the Tauros to the Robertson Cup Final Four for the first time in franchise history.
The Tauros are the hottest team in the league, while it’s true that the Amarillo Bulls winning streak is one game longer, but it has not been anywhere near as dominant as the Tauros five game run. The Tauros have outscored opponents 28-2 over the five-game heater, the Tauros 5.50 goals-per-game are the most in the league by 0.79. The Tauros 1.50 goals against per game is also a league best, 0.33 better than the next club.
Taylor Lantz (4g 5a) and Keenan Lund (3g 6a) are tied for the Tauro lead with nine points each. Their linemate Captain Fritz Belisle (3g 5a) is in the second group of players with eight points with Andrew Kangas (5g 3a) and Kyle Oleksiuk (0g 8a). Lincolne Erne leads Tauro defensemen with seven points on three goals and four helpers. Tied with him is second-year forward David Raisanen (2g 5a).
Defensively, as you would expect from a team that has outscored opponents 33-9, every d-man carries a plus rating except for Sam Skinner (0g 1a) who missed most of the season with an injury. Spencer Kimball (1g 1a) leads the defense corps with a +8 rating. In goal, Reid Waszczenko (1-0-0, 0.00 gaa, 1.00 sv%), Ben Garrity (2-1-0, 1.29 gaa, .956 sv%), and Nick Grabko (2-0-0, 2.35 gaa, .939 sv%) have all played well and each keeper has a shutout. The Tauros have allowed just two power play goals against despite being shorthanded 26 times, their 92.3 PK% is tops in the league.
The Bobcats have been almost as potent as the Tauros posting 3.50 goals-per-game and matching the Tauros 36.4% on the power play (tied for 2nd in the NAHL). They have also been good at limiting goals against allowing just 2.50 per-game despite allowing seven power play goals against in just six games. Overall they have gone 4-2-0 and are tied for third in the division behind the first place Tauros and the Austin Bruins.
Adam Stacho (2g 8a) leads not only the Bobcats but the entire Central Division with 10 points. Ryan Taylor (2g 6a), Alex Pollock (2g 5a), and Hunter Johannes (3g 3a) round out the Cats with at least a point-per-game.
In net John Roberts has started all six Bobcat games and finished five of them posting a 2.65 GAA and .914 SV%. Roberts was relieved for the third period of the Bobcats Showcase loss to the Minnesota Magicians by Kyle Johnson who stopped all eight shots he saw in his only 20 minutes of the season.
Tickets and Promotions
Tickets for Saturday’s Minotauros home opener are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page. On Saturday before the game the Tauros will unveil their 2017-2018 Central Division Championship Banner. Doors open at 6:35 p.m. and the pregame ceremony will begin at approximately 7:20 p.m.