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.