By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – For the first time in franchise history the Minot Minotauros are moving on to the Central Division Finals thanks to a 2-1 victory on Friday night. The Tauros win, gave them a 3-0 series sweep of the Bismarck Bobcats after last weekend’s 4-1 and 4-2 victories. Now the Tauros will advance to meet the Austin Bruins for the third consecutive post-season.
Tim Athley (1g 0a) opened the scoring just 5:01 into the game when he jammed at a loose puck at the side of the net on a delayed penalty call. The official initially did not signal a goal, neither did he immediately wash it out, instead referee Sean MacFarlane conferred with the goal judge and the linesman before awarding the Tauros the goal.
The 1-0 lead would hold into the second period when with the Bobcats on the power play Tanner Salsberry sent a shot that defelected through traffic and found twine behind Tauros keeper Atte Tolvanen (1.33 gaa, .937 sv%).
The teams would remain even well into the third period; when at 13:22 Blake Lizotte (0g 3a) poked a puck ahead to Johnny Walker (1g 1a). Walker fired a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Hunter Shepard (2.55 gaa, .911 sv%) clean to put the Tauros ahead 2-1. The Bobcats thought that they had tied the game less than a minute later when Jared Pike (1g 0a) dumped a puck off of the right wing glass that bounced into the net that Tolvanen had vacated to play the puck behind the net. The goal was waived off however as the Bobcats had a skater in the zone offside.
Now the Tauros advance to the second round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They will meet the Austin Bruins in a series that will open April 24th in Austin, Game Two will follow immediately the next night in Austin. The series will return to the Maysa on May 1st for Game Three, with Game Four if needed following the next night. Game Five if needed will be in Austin on May 4th. Ticket information will be available soon, stay tuned to minotauroshockey.com for updates.