By: Ken Oda, Minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros are red hot of late going 7-2-1 over their last ten games while out-scoring opponents 39-22 over that span. Tonight they will get a chance to avenge the one shootout loss from that stretch as the Bismarck Bobcats return to the Maysa Arena.
The last meeting between these clubs was one of the most exciting games in the history of the series. With the Tauros coming off of a 7-0 victory the night before in Bismarck the teams came out and traded punches both literally and figuratively. The Bobcats lead 1-0 after the first, the Tauros 2-1 after a wild second which saw a fight between Troy Degler and Jared Spooner as well as Bobcat Head Coach Layne Sedevie being ejected. Then after the Bobcats went up 4-2 and looked in position to hold on the Tauros struck twice in the final 2:31 to force overtime. The Tauros eventually fell in the eighth round of the shootout.
The Bobcats come in off of another shootout win last night at home against the Aberdeen Wings. Cullen Willox returned from injury for his first game since November 11th and had the game tying goal as well as a shootout marker in the win. Despite missing six games Willox (9g, 12a) is still tied for the team lead in points with Evan Giesler (14g, 7a) at 21 points. In net Alex Bitsakis and Hunter Shepard have split the starts since the 7-0 loss to the Tauros, Bitsakis had been given most of the work until that point.
After both picking up a pair of assists in Thursday’s win in Brookings reigning NAHL Forward of the Month Blake Lizotte (8g, 25a) moved into second overall in the NAHL in scoring and Christian Mohs (9g, 19a) moved into 10th place. However the hottest member of their line right now is Johnny Walker who has five goals and an assist over the last two games. In net Atte Tolvanen has carried the load for the Tauros playing in a league best 21 games, however Tanner Holmes shutout the Bobcats in his one start against them.
For the Tauros, tonight’s game marks a run of eight consecutive games in North Dakota thanks to the only two road games being against Bismarck. The Tauros will not leave the state until January 9th when the Tauros head to Austin. Tickets for tonight’s game against Bismarck and every Minotauros home game are available by clicking here, or on the “Tickets” tab atop this page. Pepsi of Minot is the sponsor of Saturday night’s game and will be distributing Pepsi, Tauros, and Gatorade giveaways throughout the night.