By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – After an emotional win on Thursday night the Minotauros came out of the gate slow on Friday afternoon in a quick turnaround game. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights outshot the Tauros 12-7 in the first and scored the period’s only goal when Jimmy Elser got loose on a breakaway and beat Austin Park for a 1-0 lead.
Elser’s goal to open the scoring was the first time that the Tauros trailed all season, and after a bad first period the team deserved to be behind on the scoreboard. But the Tauros bounced back in the final two periods, in outshooting the Knights 33-17 over the final 40 minutes. Still it took until the final minute of the second period for the Tauros to break through the solid goaltending of Colt Hanks. Reid Stefanson scored his second goal of the season from below the goal line with the Tauros on the power play. Stefanson appeared to be trying to pass to Nolan Sawchuk, who had snuck in from the point, at the back post but the puck bounced in to the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tauros finally took the lead with just 6:18 to play when Zack Bross created space for Spencer Zwiener to score on the rush. Bross made a smart play in the neutral zone faking that he was going to play the puck back to the defense before turning to attack. After Zwiener received the puck Bross continued to drive the net taking a pair of defenders with him and Hanks never saw Zwiener’s shot through the traffic giving the Tauros a 2-1 edge.
Park made all 17 saves required of him in the final two periods to protect the lead and the Tauros scored their first comeback win of the season.
Next Up: Now the Tauros move on to Day 4 of the NAHL Showcase and the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Tauros and the Amarillo Bulls are the only remaining undefeated teams at the Showcase, meaning an Amarillo loss to 4-1-0 Janesville would set the Tauros up for a chance to be the only undefeated team at the Showcase. Amarillo currently holds a one goal edge in goal differential meaning if the Bulls win tomorrow the Tauros would need to win by a larger margin to be named Showcase Champions. The Ice Dogs swept a three game set with Topeka before the Showcase and then won on the opening day in Blaine. Since then they dropped an overtime game to Austin and lost 3-0 to Odessa. Season Ticket Holders can pick up their tickets, watch the game, and enjoy a complimentary meal from Delissimo tomorrow starting at 5:30 at the Maysa Arena. Puck drop is at 6:15 on the Minotauros Network.
Showcase Signed Pucks: The Tauros are auctioning off signed pucks by every goal scorer on DASH Digital Auction Showdown. Dash the official auction partner of the NAHL and the Tauros will have unique memorabilia and fan experience opportunities for fans throughout the season. Go to www.dashapp.io or search “Dash Auctions” in the app store to win today. Make sure to get the Dash App before Monday when the Tauros will announce a unique fan experiences for the home opening weekend!
By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – The Minotauros and Lone Star Brahmas promised to be one of the marquee match-ups of the 2016 NAHL Showcase, and the two clubs didn’t disappoint. The Tauros finished last season with the 6th best record in the NAHL and the Brahmas the 3rd. The two teams met in a packed arena on Sheet 4 of the Schwann Super Rink and put on a fantastic show for fans and scouts alike.
The first two periods passed without a goal but as momentum switched back and forth between the teams the stellar play in the Tauros net by Eric Dop became the early story. Coming off of the previous games season opening shutout by Lucas Murray it started to feel as if the 2016/17 Tauros would never give up a goal. However despite hitting two posts the Tauros could not solve Brahmas’ goaltender Austin Smith either and despite 40 minutes of hockey the teams entered the third period in a scoreless tie.
However with just 6 seconds remaining in the second Justin Addamo was whistled for roughing on a post-whistle scrum in the Tauros’ crease and that penalty carried over to the start of the third. The Tauros finally broke through when Alex Adams redirected Jake Dittel’s shot from the point past Smith to open the scoring at 1:05 of the third. Lone Star pushed back turning the momentum back in their favor with physical play and eventually Grayson Gavin was called for roughing after retaliating after a scrum along the wall got out of hand. Austin O’Rouke scored on the ensuing power play, ending the Tauros season opening shutout streak at 112:54 and knotting the game up at 1-1.
The rest of the third period passed just as the first two periods; without a goal, and the teams went to overtime. The teams traded chances playing three-on-three and with just under 2 minutes left in the extra session Nolan Sawchuk found Jack Murphy with space at the Lone Star blue line. Murphy’s shot was stopped but Smith left a rebound and Gavin, fresh off the bench from a change hammered it home to give the Tauros the win.
Next up for the Tauros is Day 3 of the 14th Annual NAHL Showcase and a 2:15 p.m. start against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Knights. The Knights are 2-4-0 on the season including a 1-1-0 record at the Showcase. After a hard fought battle with Lone Star and playing three games in as many days the Tauros have reached the portion of the Showcase in which fatigue may become a factor. However the Knights played last weekend and then traveled to the Showcase from Pennsylvania and should be just as fatigued as the Tauros.
By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Blaine, MN – The Minotauros got off to a strong start beating the Kenai River Brown Bears by a 4-0 score Wednesday at the NAHL Showcase. 10 different players posted points and Lucas Murray made all 25 saves required of him as the Tauros cruised to victory (box score).
Chase Springman (1g 0a) opened the scoring just 23 seconds into the game scoring on the Tauros first shot of the season. Tyler Jeanson (0g 1a) made the pass that set up the goal as the duo crossed the blue line on a 2-on-1 rush. Reid Stefanson (1g 0a) doubled the Tauros’ lead late in first with his first goal as a Tauro sending the Tauros into the room up 2-0 after one.
The second passed without scoring despite the Tauros outshooting Kenai 22-7 in the middle frame. Then in the third the Tauros new Captain Jake Dittel struck on the power play to make it 3-0 Tauros. Alex Adams (1g 0a) added and exclamation point late in the third to push the final to 4-0. Derek Frentz had assists on both third period goals to join Adam, who assisted on Stefanson’s goal, as the only Tauros with multiple points.
Next up for the Tauros on day two of the NAHL Showcase is a date with the Lone Star Brahmas. The Brahmas come in off of a 4-1 win over the Bismarck Bobcats in which they outshot the Cats 32-19. Lone Star posted 87 points last season in finishing second in the South Division. Puck drop is at 7:15, the Planet Pizza Pregame Show starts at 7:00 on the Minotauros Network.
Own A Piece of Tauros History: Want to own a one of a kind piece of memorabilia from the Tauros first win of the 2016/17 season? Go to www.dashapp.io or search Dash Auctions in the app store and bid on a set of pucks signed by the four goal scorers, Chase Springman, Reid Stefanson, Jake Dittel, and Alex Adams.
Blaine, MN – With the preseason in the rearview mirror the Minotauros are ready to open season number six at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. The season kick-off event presents a challenge for every team with four games in as many days against tougher competition than most of the rookies have ever faced. For the Tauros the four-day gauntlet opens with an unknown in the Kenai River Brown Bears.
At first glance the Brown Bears , who finished 17 points behind Amarillo for the worst record in the NAHL last season, would appear an easy start for the Tauros who had the sixth best record in last year’s regular season. However the Bears bring back just seven players from last year’s roster making them more of an unknown. One new name for the Bears that may be familiar to Tauro fans is Jake Tomkowiak, who played for the Bismarck Bobcats during the 2014/15 season. Other than that the Brown Bears split a preseason set with the Austin Bruins winning 3-2 in the first game then falling 3-2 in a shootout two nights later.
The Tauros meanwhile boast a veteran roster that has had a lot of success. Newly minted Captain Jake Dittel goes into his third season as a Tauro as does Chase Springman, Luke Davison, and Nate Pionk. Derek Frentz goes into his third NAHL season and second as Tauros, while Alex Adams, Zack Bross, Jack Murphy, Grayson Gavin, Tyler Jeanson, Colton Berg, and Lucas Murray all go into their second year for Minot. The veteran roster should take some pressure off of an impressive group of newcomers.
Last season the Tauros had their best Showcase performance ever going 3-1-0 and then rolling off six more wins after the Showcase for a 9 game winning streak. Every journey starts with a single step, for the 2016/17 Tauros the time is now.
Watch and Listen: Once again Ken Oda will be on the call for all 60 regular season Tauro games will be webcast at www.fasthockey.com with pay-per-view video. A free audio stream with a “Koda Cam” will be available at http://www.prostyleproduction.com/listen-live.html, and AM 1390 KRRZ will carry several of the Tauros over the air in Minot including all four games from this week’s NAHL Showcase. The Planet Pizza Pregame Show will start at 3:45 on all three of the Tauros Network outlets for the season opener against the Brown Bears. For live updates be sure to follow us on twitter @minotaurohockey.