by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
The Minotauros and Bobcats will finally meet for real this season after playing a trio of exhibition games in three different North Dakota cities. The Bobcats took two of the three practice games winning in Minot and Dickinson, while the Tauros won in Bismarck. The Bobcats are the only Central Division team the Tauros have not faced yet this season; the Tauros are 4-1-0 in the division while the Bobcats are 3-3-0.
The Bobcats are lead in scoring by Cullen Willox (7g 5a) which should not surprise Minot fans as he was a Tauro killer last season with 13 points in 12 games. Veterans Matt Perry (6g 2a) and Evan Giesler (4g 4a) are next on the Cats with eight points each. In net Alex Bitsakis has played four of the last six with good reason posting a 1.40 GAA and .952 SV% on the season.
For the Tauros it has been a fairly balanced offensive attack with six players, Johnny Walker (6g 4a), Christian Mohs (5g 6a), James Mathias (5g 3a), Nick Monfils (4g 3a), Jake Howie (4g 2a), and Chase Springman (4g 1a) each already having at least four goals on the year. Tauros defenseman Jon Lizotte has a goal and nine assists on the season and was third on the Tauros against the Bobcats last year with three goals and three helpers. Colton Kramer lead the Tauros with four goals against the Cats last season, but has yet to find the net this year. In net Atte Tolvanen has carried the load for the Tauros going 6-4-1 on the year with a 2.05 GAA and .922 SV%.
The Tauros went 2-4-0 in Bismarck last season, and in general the VFW Sports Center has been a house of horrors for Minot. However this season has seen the Tauros get off to their best start ever at 8-4-1 and in second place in the Central. While Thursday’s matchup is just one game early in the season it is also a chance to continue to show that this is a different season for the Minotauros.
Follow the Game: Tauros fans not making the trip down 83 can watch the game on Fasthockey.com or listen live in the first of the Tauros radio games on AM 1390 KRRZ. Also follow the Tauros on Twitter @MinotauroHockey for live updates from the game.