Minot, ND – The best rivalry in the North American Hockey League has never been better in its five year history. The Minot Minotauros and Bismarck Bobcats come into the weekend’s home-and-home series as two thirds of the three way tie atop the NAHL’s Central Division. A sweep by either team would ensure a four point cushion over the other, a split would open the door for the Austin Bruins to jump two points ahead should they sweep last place Aberdeen.
After five meetings between the Tauros and Cats in the month of December the names and strategies are familiar for both teams. The Tauros win when the game is played five-on-five, outscoring the Cats 13-10 over the first seven meetings when at evens. Bismarck however holds a decided power play advantage converting 10 of 32 extra man chances compared to the Tauros 3 for 25 conversion rate.
Alex Strand (14g 13a) and Jarde Pike (10g 9a) lead the way against the Tauros for the Cats with five goals each, while Jack Murphy (10g 6a) and Derek Frentz (9g 8a) each have a team high three goals against the Bobcats.
The Tauros come in on a busy stretch, these games will be their fifth and sixth games in eleven days coming out of the Christmas break. The Tauros dropped the first three out of the break before winning 6-3 over the Minot State University Beavers on Tuesday night in a charity game to help fund the Maysa Expansion Project. The game raised 27,971.25 for the project. The Tauros are also selling special “This is Our House” t-shirts that and have added a $1 charge to adult tickets for the season, 100% of which goes to the Expansion Project.
Roster Moves: The Tauros completed a pair of trades late Thursday. The first saw the Tauros acquire Max Reisinger (5g 12a) from the Wichita Falls Wildcats in exchange for a tender. Reisinger is playing in his third season in the NAHL and has 29 goals and 34 assists in 127 career games; he also has four goals and three assists over nine games playing for his native Austria in international competition. Reisinger plays on both special teams units and has a goal and six assists on the power play this year. In order to make room for Reisinger on the roster the Tauros traded Jake Gammicchia (1g 3a) to the Minnesota Magicians along with the fourth round pick acquired from the Magicians for Owen Larson (5g 6a) for a third round pick this summer and a conditional pick in the 2017 NAHL Draft.