The Tauros got back on the winning side of the ledger this weekend with a sweep of third place Brookings on the road. The wins pushed the Tauros’ record for 8-3-1 since the end of the NAHL Christmas Break and the start of the unofficial second half of the season. This was the Tauros first trip to the Larson Ice Center since suffering the worst loss in franchise history an 8-0 loss on November 26th.
Friday night it was the Blizzard who struck first when Brandon Stanko beat Lucas Murray late into the period. But the Tauros answered back quickly when Derek Frentz scored his 12th of the season just 12 seconds after Stanko gave the Blizzard the lead. The Tauros would never trail again on the weekend. Alex Adams and Zack Bross added second period goals to help the Tauros pull out to a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes. Then after Connor Koviak scored shorthanded just 1:01 into the third to give the Blizzard some hope, Michael Talbot answered for the Tauros at the 2:00 mark to restore the two-goal lead. Austin Dollimer added another insurance goal late in the period and then with the net empty despite the three-goal lead Nate Pionk scored from his own zone to make it a 6-2 final.
On Saturday the Tauros kept their foot on the gas scoring just 1:38 into the game when Luke Davison netted his first of the season. Paul Cotter tied the game at 15:41; but with less than a minute to play in the first Jack Murphy’s centering pass intended for Frentz went off of a defender and passed Josh Boyko to have the Tauros back on top. Talbot scored his 10th of the season early in the second to push the lead to 3-1. For Talbot is was his third goal in as many games and fifth goal in the last eight contests. Brandon Kruse scored on the power play with 1:01 remaining in the second to make it a one goal game going into the third. From there Murray took over in the Tauros net stopping all 14 shots he saw in the final period as the Blizzard tried furiously to come back. In total Murray stopped 68 of 72 Brookings shots in the weekend sweep.
Next up the Tauros head to Cloquet, MN to take on the second-place Minnesota Wilderness. The Tauros and Wilderness meet five times over the next three weeks, a stretch that will go a long way towards determining who wears the Central Division crown. The Tauros currently hold a 10-point lead on the Wilderness and a 16-point lead on the third place Blizzard. With five games against the Wilderness the Tauros could see that 10-point cushion disappear or push it all the way to a full 20 points.