Austin, MN – The Tauros closed out the month of March with a bang staging two third period comebacks to sweep the Austin Bruins in Austin this weekend. The wins push the Tauros 12 points ahead of the Bruins who are on the outside looking in on a playoff spot and also pulls them within eight points of the rival Bobcats for the two seed and home ice advantage in the first round.
The Tauros entered the weekend without starting goaltender Keenan Rancier who was out due to injury. On Friday night (box score) Brett Roloson got the Tauros going early however perhaps calming Rancier’s replacement Carter Clafton’s nerves. Just 35 seconds into the contest the elder Roloson scored his third of the season on the rush (highlight) when his pass attempt deflected off the defenders stick and in. The Bruins would tie it early in the second but then Cade Stibbe restored the lead (highlight) with a steal and snipe less than two minutes after Kyle Oleksiuk had tied it. The Bruins however would take the lead in the third. Defenseman Ben Dexheimer went coast-to-coast on the rush and scored to tie it early in the period and Barrett Brooks scored on the power play to make it 3-2 Bruins by the middle portion of the frame. With the Tauros on the power play and Clafton on the bench for an extra attacker Damon Zimmer would draw the Tauros even with just 1:10 left in regulation (highlight). Seven seconds into the overtime Roloson would draw a penalty on Brooks sending the Tauros to a four-on-three power play. After a Stibbe miss caromed off the glass right to Tyler Kostelecky the Tauro forward did not hesitate to bury it in the back of the net for the win (highlight). The goal not only gave the Tauros the win on the evening but earned Clafton his much overdue first junior win.
On Saturday night (box score) the game appeared as if it was a mirror image of the night before. This time it was former Tauro Oleksiuk scoring 35 seconds in to give the Bruins the early lead on the first period’s only goal. Will Crull tied the game for the Tauros early in the third (highlight) when he rocketed a loose puck into the top corner. However just as the Tauros answered back quickly the night before the Bruins Garrett Dahm answered to restore the Bruin lead two minutes later. Fortunately for the Tauros Kostelecky broke the script however with a goal on the rush (highlight) just 26 seconds after the Bruins had taken the lead back. The Bruins retook the lead for a third time though before the period ended when Oleksiuk got his second of the game, third on the weekend, and fourth overall goal of the season. The Tauros had gone 0-13-1 when trailing entering third periods on the season but Blaine Warnert put a pair of shifts together to play the hero. First with the Tauro on the power play he banged home a rebound (highlight) to tie the game a three. On his next shift he won an offensive zone draw forward, chased it down himself, and beat Hudson Hodges to give the Tauros a 4-3 lead (highlight). From there Clafton shutdown the Bruins attack and the Tauros walked out of the Riverside with four points on the weekend.
Next up the Tauros head to St. Cloud to take on the Norsemen who lost to Bismarck on Thursday before sitting idle all weekend. The Tauros are 4-2-2 against the Norsemen most recently losing both halves of a weekend set on overtime power play goals to open the month of March. The Tauros will no doubt be looking for revenge the first weekend of April.