by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Photo credit: Cuyler Meade
Aberdeen, SD – The Minotauros earned a weekend split for the second weekend in a row, this time in Aberdeen. The weekend set served not only to keep the Tauros in first place in the Central but also added fuel to the Tauros growing rivalry with Aberdeen.
Friday night the Tauros fell behind almost immediately when Jonathan Bendorf scored 1:10 into the contest. Taylor Lantz tied the game just 14 seconds into the second with his sixth goal of the season when his centering feed deflected off of a defender’s stick past Aberdeen goalie Matt Vernon. Riley Murphy restored Aberdeen’s lead in the middle of the period, but 59 seconds later Didrik Henbrant answered for the Tauros. Just as it looked like the game would be tied headed into the final period Kyle Oleksiuk scored his first of the season with just five seconds left in the second to send the Tauros into the locker room with the lead. The Wings benefited from a late power play in the third and were able to tie the game on Bendorf’s second of the game just 3:13 from the end of regulation sending the game into overtime. With less than a minute remaining in overtime Keenan Lund found Fritz Belisle on a two-on-one and Belisle netted his third game winner of the season.
On Saturday night the Wings again struck first early in the game. This time after 5:40 of play from the opening faceoff without a whistle the Wings Shawn Kennedy scored his first of the season. Early in the second period Kennedy would find his way on to the scoresheet again, this time for earning 47 minutes of penalty time for attacking Tauro defenseman Brennan Couet. After Couet delivered an open ice hit on Kennedy, Kennedy regained his feet and attacked Couet earning a pair of 20 minute Game Misconducts for removing an opponent’s helmet and for being the aggressor, he also picked up a five minute fighting penalty, and a two minute instigator call. The Tauros made the Wings pay on the ensuing power play when Lantz scored his seventh of the season. The similarities to the previous night’s game continued as the Wings Joe Strada scored to make it 2-1 Wings in the middle of the period, but unlike the previous night the Tauros answer came into their own net. Connor McGinnis deflected a Connor Beatty rebound into the Tauro net just 10 second after Strada’s goal to make it 3-1 Wings. The Tauros outshot the Wings 13-5 in the final frame but could not pull even as the 3-1 score held.
Next up the Tauros have another home-and-home series with the Bismarck Bobcats. Friday’s game is in Bismarck and followed by Saturday’s game being in Minot. It will be just the Tauros second home game out of the first twelve. Prior to Saturday’s game the Minotauros Booster Club will be hosting a trunk-or-treat tailgate for all fans. Then during the first intermission there will be the Tauros annual OK Automotive Costume Contest with over $500 in prizes to the winners. Tickets for Saturday’s game are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page.