By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – The long summer has finally come to an end for the Tauros as they start the 2013-2014 campaign with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. This marks the beginning of the Minotauros third season in the NAHL, and headman Marty Murray believes the Tauros have what it takes to build on last season’s success. Of course the 2012-2013 version of the Minotauros won 26 games last season and picked up the organizations first two NCAA Division I commitments. Now the team looks to prove that Minot has what it takes to be a consistent contender.
While the Tauros will have several familiar faces up front, there will be a decidedly different look in the back end. Tim Donohue returns for his second season as captain, and lead last year’s squad with 13 goals as well. Jadin Martin returns as well for his fourth season in the NAHL and will be counted on to provide scoring punch as well. Martin a Minot native along with Jack McCann, Scott Dornbrock, and Tyler Shipstad will be one of four players serving as an alternate captain, two at home and two on the road. Wes Iverson had a strong summer and hopes to follow the dominance he showed at main camp with a strong season. Cam Rowat also returns after a strong rookie season and has shown great chemistry early with new comers Krisztian Nagy and Scott Smoot. Second round pick Jack Forbort and Hector Majul have both shown speed and skill that will give the Tauros more offensive depth than they have ever had.
Along the blue line only Dornbrock and Chance Creger return from last season’s roster. The new d-men however should hopefully be able to use talent to mask their inexperience. Highly touted prospect Jon Lizotte will be joined by high schoolers Michael Bigelbach, Brett Robinson, and Johnny Walker. Former Fresno Monster Andrew Herlofsky will bring toughness and experience to young defense corps.
The biggest change for the Tauros will be in the crease, where both Tyler Parks and Ryan Ruck have moved on. Parks will be playing Division I hockey for St. Lawrence this season and Ruck will be in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers. In their place will be Brandon Wildung and Isaak Tjaden. Wildung backstopped the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL last season going 11-6 with a .926 SV%. Tjaden posted a .938 SV% and 19-1 record for the MNJHL’s Twin City Northern Lights.
As for the opposition the Ice Rays have already played a pair of games against the Topeka Roadrunners and are 0-2-0 being outscored 6-1 through their first six periods. Only six members from last year’s team return for the Ice Rays including former Tauro goaltender Ben Myers. Danny Middleton has the Rays’ lone goal on the season.
Fans will be able to watch all 60 regular season games live or on-demand on www.fasthockey.com. The Tauros will be the designated home team tomorrow, so click “watch home” to hear voice of the Tauros Ken Oda on the call. You can also follow the game on the Tauros social media on both facebook and twitter.