By: Ken Oda, gotauros.com
Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros 2018-19 schedule is now complete as the North American Hockey League announced the schedule for the 2018 NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. The sixteenth iteration of the four-day event will see all 24 of the NAHL’s member clubs assemble and play (in most cases) four interdivisional games each in front of more than 350 professional, college, and junior scouts. Two teams, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and the Northeast Generals will each only play three games, including one each against the United State National Team Development Program U17 team.
As for the Tauros they will look to continue being one of the league’s better performers at the NAHL Showcase. Including being crowned the 2016 Showcase Champions the Tauros have gone 9-2-1 over the last three NAHL Showcases.
The Tauros open the Showcase in primetime, at 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday night against the Northeast Generals. The Generals are entering their third season in the league and coming off of their first playoff berth, finishing fourth in the NAHL East last season. This will be the first meeting between the Tauros and Generals.
The Tauros face a quick turnaround on Thursday with a 1:00 p.m. start time against another NAHL East opponent, the Jamestown Rebels. Formerly of Philadelphia the Rebels won the East in the regular season last year before being upset in the East Finals by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Tauros have faced the Rebels once before in 2015, a 3-2 victory also on the Showcase’s second day, over the then Aston (PA) Rebels. The Tauros also played the Rebels during the 2012-13 season prior to their move to the East. At the time they were the original version of the Wenatchee Wild; the Tauros dropped three of four games that season getting swept in Minot and then earning a split in Washington. The Rebels will also be the second Jamestown, NY team to face the Tauros at the NAHL Showcase, the Tauros fell 3-2 to the Jamestown Ironmen.
On Friday the Tauros have a brunch date with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. A meeting that is overdue, as the Tauros had met Corpus in odd numbered years at the Showcase starting in 2011, a 7-2 loss, then again in 2013 a 5-4 loss, and most recently a 5-1 win in 2015. Having missed each other at last season’s NAHL Showcase the Tauros and Ice Rays can once again meet in Blaine, this time at 10:30 a.m.
The Tauros wrap the NAHL Showcase with what must be one of the event’s most anticipated games, a rematch of the Robertson Cup Semi-Final series with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Tauros are 1-1-0 against Fairbanks at the Showcase. The Tauros dropped their franchise opening game to Fairbanks at the 2011 event and beat the Ice Dogs on the last day of the 2016 Showcase to complete their undefeated run to a Showcase title. Of course, it is the teams’ recent history, an epic three game series in Blaine last spring that creates the intrigue for this match-up as the Tauros shocked many in the NAHL with a thrilling come-from-behind win in Game Three to advance to the Robertson Cup Title Game. Many around the NAHL consider that game to have been among the very best ever played at a Robertson Cup tournament, or at least the most entertaining. It featured ties at 0-0, 1-1, 3-3, and 4-4 including four goals in the final seven minutes of regulation before heading to overtime for the Tauros’ eventual winner. It was their first lead since going up 1-0 in the first and came after trailing 3-1 heading into the third period. While the stakes will certainly not be as high as they were in mid-May the game will still be anticipated by those in attendance.
For more information on the 16th annual NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN, visit http://nahl.com/showcase/