The Minotauros broke out in a big way this weekend with a pair of statement wins over the Bismarck Bobcats during which the Minotauros never trailed. The wins pulled the Tauros back within 10 points of the second place Bobcats with three games in hand, and pushed the Tauros nine points ahead of the MN Wilderness.
On Friday in Minot the Tauros took a lead each period only to have the Cats draw even. Ethan Schmunk opened the scoring with his fifth of the season on the rush 12 minutes into the game; Logan Anderson and Nikolai Charchenko notched the assists. Thomas Begsland however drew the Cats even with less than a minute to play when his shot deflected off of a defender and through Keenan Rancier. Early in the second Cade Stibbe found space in the high slot, took a pass from Tyler Kostelecky, and fired a shot past Ian Shane to once again give the Tauros a lead. The Cats fought back again however with George Grannis scoring his 13th of the season to tie the game with a nice move to his backhand on the rush. Robert Kincaid scored his first as a Tauro midway through the third when he jumped into the play from the point to keep a puck in the offensive zone then cut to the net to finish a feed from Anderson. The Cats again drew even with a power play goal from their captain Austin Schwartz with 3:40 to play. The Tauros finally took the lead for good when Blaine Warnert fired a rocket past Shane with just 1:47 remaining for a 4-3 win.
The Tauros came out hungry for the sweep on Saturday in Bismarck and it showed. Just 50 seconds into the game Kostelecky got the Tauros on the board with a wrap around goal on the rush beating Tommy Aitken to the post. The Tauros extended the lead with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart in the middle of second period. Warnert got his second of the weekend benefiting from hard work on the penalty kill by Isaac Keller. Keller stole a pass and headed up ice, fought through a hold that would have been called but for Warnert’s goal, and then slid a pass to Warnert who blasted it by Aitken. After the penalty expired Jay Buchholz poked a puck free to Kostelecky, Stibbe then found a quiet area before Kostelecky sent him a feed that Stibbe one-timed into the net to make it 3-0 Tauros. Ryan Taylor ended Rancier’s shutout bid 6:11 into the third with a one-timer of his own but that was all Rancier would allow. Kostelecky added an empty netter late to ice away a 4-1 win for the Tauros.
Next up the Tauros spend a week with the Wings. First heading down to Aberdeen on Wednesday for St. Patrick’s day. Then the Wings come to Minot for a weekend set Friday and Saturday night in the Tauros final home game of the month. Tickets for the weekend set are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page or by clicking here.