By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – Last spring for the second season in a row the Minotauros were knocked out of the playoffs by the Austin Bruin, and for the second season in a row today the Tauros host Austin in the home opener at the Maysa Arena. Continuing the theme the Bruins took the NAHL Blaine Showcase title for the second year in a row before coming to the Magic City as well. What has changed is the Minotauros. The Tauros are coming off of their best showing in Blaine and come in riding a two game winning streak. And while a team coached by Marty Murray will always value sound defensive hockey, this team has already shown that it has the scoring punch that previous versions lacked. Both of the Tauros wins at the Showcase involved the Tauros overcoming two goal deficits, something that rarely happened in the past.
For the Bruins offense has not been a problem either. In the four games in Blaine Austin posted 26 goals. Their attack has been balanced as well with 16 different players registering at least one goal and no one except Brian Backnak with three posting more than two. Between the pipes Jake Kielly and Zach Driscoll each saw two games and came out with 2.00 GAAs. While the Bruins have struggled on the power play early, they have dominated shorthanded. The Bruins have killed all 20 penalties they have taken and added a shorthanded goal for good measure.
The Tauros have been sparked by a pair of new comers and a veteran playing a new position. Christian Mohs had four goals and an assist in Blaine and Blake Lizotte posted 5 assists in their first four games as Tauros. Meanwhile Johnny Walker posted three goals playing forward after being a defenseman for last season’s Tauros squad. In net both Atte Tolvanen and Tanner Holmes picked up wins and combined for a 3.00 GAA. The Tauros power play went 2 for 17, and the kill went 17 for 18 at the Showcase.
This week the Tauros also added James Mathias from the Wenatchee Wild. Mathias coincidentally scored a goal against the Tauros on the final day of the Showcase. Already having played two seasons in the NAHL Mathias will bring a veteran presence to the Tauros.
Last April when these two teams met they played the longest game in NAHL history. A win tonight will not avenge the loss, but it would be a great way to open up the 2014/15 home schedule.
Watch the Game: Tickets are still available, buy them online and print them at home to avoid the lines at the door by clicking here or on the “tickets” tab atop this page. If you can not make it to the Maysa every game can be seen on fasthockey.com.