By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Maysa Arena has never seen a night like that before. A record sellout crowd of 1,500 fans packed into the Maysa and the Tauros gave their faithful plenty to celebrate. After falling behind early the Tauros rattled off four unanswered goals to take a 1-0 lead in their Central Division Semi-Final series with the Bismarck Bobcats.
It was the Bobcats who struck first however when Jared Pike’s attempted dump-in took an awkward bounce off of the glass and changed direction towards the Tauros net. Goaltender Atte Tolvanen had already left the net to play the puck and could not react to the change in direction fast enough to prevent it from going in. That would be the only goal scored in the first period, and the Tauros would trail 1-0 headed into intermission despite outshooting the Bobcats 15-9 in the frame.
The Tauros carried the play in the second increasing their shot advantage to 26-14 in middle stanza but did not break through until late in the period when Nick Monfils got behind the Cats defense and beat Alex Bitsakis to tie the game. The tie would not last long as off the ensuing faceoff Blake Lizotte and Christian Mohs worked a two on one to perfection and in just a 10 second span the Tauros went from trailing 1-0 to leading 2-1 on Mohs’s first of the playoffs. With just 0:10 left in the first Monfils added his second of the game and the Tauros finished the second with a 3-1 lead.
The Tauros energy carried over to the third and at the 7:46 mark of the period Monfils snapped a shot past Bitsakis on the rush to get the Tauros first ever post-season hat trick and push the Tauro lead to 4-1. From there Tolvanen did the rest stopping all six third period Bobcat shots to get the win.