By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
The Minotauros are riding high away from the Maysa currently on an NAHL modern era record 15 game road winning streak. The last time the Tauros lost away from the Maysa was on October 10th in Fairbanks. They will try to build on that record streak this weekend with a pair of games in Brookings against the Blizzard. Brookings has fought back into playoff contention pulling within two points of fourth place Aberdeen after beating the Wings 5-1 last night.
Brookings forwards have done well at capitalizing on the limited scoring chances they generate. The Blizzard manage just 24.30 shots on goal per game, which is last in the 24 team North American Hockey League, but are 16th in scoring at 2.68 goals per game. Beau Michaud (12g 28a) leads the Blizzard in points, and Zach Glienke (16g 16a) leads in goals. Nate Colwell (5g 19a) has been good for the Blizzard since being acquired from the Corpus Christi Ice Rays with three goals and nine assists in nine games since the trade.
The Tauros offense is eighth in the NAHL with 3.27 goals per game on a 12th best 29.32 shots per contest. Johnny Walker (16g 12a) has lead the Tauros against the Blizzard with six of his goals coming against Brookings. Troy Degler (4g 12a) is the only other Tauro with multiple goals against Brookings. Blake Lizotte (12g 33a) and Colton Kramer (6g 7a) have been the hottest Tauros of late with four goals and five assists each over the last ten games. Captain Jon Lizotte (10g 19a) has also been on a tear offensively with four goals and four assists from the blue line.
In net the Blizzard have had Ryan Kubic (2.01gaa .926sv%) has taken over for Eric Hancock (3.01gaa .896sv%) getting 17 of the last 21 decisions for the Blizzard. In four games against the Tauros Kubic is 0-3-0 with a 2.46 gaa and .895 sv%. Kubic started last night for the Blizzard in Aberdeen so it is likely that the Tauros will see both goaltenders in Brookings. Atte Tolvanen (2.01gaa .921sv%) has carried the load all season for the Tauros going 20-9-3 on the year. Tolvanen has started five of the six meetings against Brookings posting a .913 sv% and 1.80 gaa. Tanner Holmes (2.37gaa .896sv%) stopped 19 of 20 shots in his only game against the Blizzard.
The Tauros strong play away from the Minot is the reason the club is in first place headed into the final two months of the season. Another reason is that the Tauros are 20-4-3 against the rest of the Central Division. The Tauros look to keep both of those trends in tact this weekend. Fans looking to watch both games can find them on fasthockey.com. Also follow the Tauros on twitter @MinotauroHockey for live updates and giveaways during the games.