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Turning Point

by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Austin, MN – The Minotauros have been here before; tied one game each with the Austin Bruins after the opening weekend of a best of five playoff series.  On its face, that could be discouraging as in each of the previous three season the Bruins have ended the Tauros’ season.  However, over the last two seasons including playoffs the Tauros have gone 6-3-0 against the Bruins in Austin while 5-4-1 against them at the Maysa.  If either team sweeps the weekend the series is over, if they split Game Five would be at the Maysa on Monday night.

Just as they did in the regular season Jade Miller (1g 3a), Jacob Paganalli (1g 2a), and Gilbert Gabor (0g 2a) have paced the Bruins offense. At least one member of that trio had at least a point on each of Austin’s five goals last weekend.  Conversely the Tauros top three scores of the regular season Christian Mohs (1g 0a), Max Reisinger (0g 0a), and Matt Jennings (0g 0a) posted only Mohs’s game winning goal on Friday.  Neither Reisinger nor Jennings went more than two games without a point as Tauros this year so both are due after being held off the score sheet last weekend.  Jack Murphy (2g 0a) and Grayson Gavin (1g 1a) lead the Tauro attack with two points each.

In goal Gunner Rivers (2.07 gaa, .920 sv%) and Kristofer Carlson (2.02 gaa, .937 sv%) have both played well.  Neither has allowed what would be considered a soft goal with five of the series’ nine goals coming on the power play and one into an empty net.  On that note, special teams will most likely continue to remain a key factor.  The Tauros have gone just 2/15 on the power play while the Bruins went 3/9 through the first two games.  

Tauro fans coming to Austin should email Ken Oda (koda@minotauroshockey.com) to reserve tickets.  Those who already have tickets reserved can pick up and pay for them at the Tauros bus Friday before the game.  Fans in Minot who are not making the trip are invited to attend a Road Watch Party at Applebees on Friday by the Dakota Square Mall, the game will be shown in the back room.  Attendance is free, and fans will be able to order off of the menu.  Both games will be on all three outlets for the Minotauros Network: fasthockey.com, prostyleproduction.com, and AM 1390 KRRZ.

Power Plays

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Minotauros split with the Austin Bruins in the opening weekend of the Central Division Semifinals for the fourth season in a row.  Special teams was the key to the weekend with each team using power play goals to propel themselves to victory. 

Friday night (box score) saw the Tauros strike first when Jack Murphy (2g 0a) opened the scoring 14:53 into the first getting just enough of the puck during a netmouth scramble for it to trickle over the line.  Paul O’Connor drew the Bruins even less than three minutes later when he scored from below the goal line on a shot that snuck between Gunner Rivers and the post.  The second period passed scoreless as did much of the third.  Christian Mohs (1g 0a) broke the tie with the Tauros on a five-on-three power play after Zach Kennedy (0g 0a) was ejected for checking from behind and Travis Kothenbeutel (0g 1a) was sent to the box for slashing.  Murphy added an insurance goal two minutes later with Kothenbeutel still in the box along with Jade Miller (1g 3a).

 On Saturday (box score) the Tauros wasted any momentum gained from the home crowd and the previous night’s win by allowing a Miller power play goal just 1:27 and failing to register a shot on goal until the 9:18 mark of the first.  Austin Rueschhoff (1g 0a) and Jacob Paganelli (1g 2a) added power goals in the second on the Bruins third and fourth power plays of the night.  The Tauros fought back hard in the third period outshooting the Bruins 12-6 in the frame but Grayson Gavin’s (1g 0a) goal off of a turnover with just 3:00 remaining was the only shot to beat Kristofer Carlson on the night.  An empty net goal from Evan Cholak pushed the final to 4-1.

Now the series shifts to Austin for Games Three and Four next Friday and Saturday.  The Tauros will look to follow the script that the Bruins have written each of the last three seasons, in which the Tauros have gone to Austin to steal home ice advantage only to have the Bruins win the series.  The Tauros have actually been a better road team than home team this season, their 18-9-3 road record was the fourth best in the NAHL.  Conversely the Bruins had the 16th best home record going just 15-13-2 in the Riverside Arena.  Tauro fans who are planning on attending the games in Austin can get tickets through the Minotauros office by calling (701)852-0101 or emailing Ken Oda at koda@minotauroshockey.com.

You Again

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – Familiarity breeds contempt, and though the Minotauros and Bruins do not meet as often other NAHL Central Division opponents during the regular season their rivalry has been forged in the crucible of the Robertson Cup Playoffs for three seasons in a row.  Their epic postseason wars have become a spring tradition, though the Tauros have come out on the wrong side in each of the first three meetings.  This year the Tauros look to change that.

For the first time the Tauros enter the playoff series with home ice advantage, having finished 14 points ahead of the Bruins for second place in the Central Division.  Despite the Tauros finishing 35-19-6 and far ahead of the Bruins 29-27-4 record the rivals battled to a stalemate in the regular season with each club posting a 4-3-1 record. 

Aside from regular season record, the Tauros hold the edge in most of the statistical categories.  The Tauros averaged 3.08 goals per game while the Bruins posted 3.02; the Tauros also surrendered fewer goals at 2.63 per game compared to 2.80 for the Bruins. The Tauros also took more shots (32.30 to 31.15), allowed fewer shots against (27.7 to 29.60), and spent less time in the penalty box on average (18.43 to 20.25) than the Bruins.  The Bruins however hold the edge on both special teams units converting on 20.4% of the power plays and killing 84.2% of their penalties compared to 15.6% and 80.0% respectively for the Tauros.

Each team posts elite top end scoring.  The Bruins Gilbert Gabor (21g 37a) and Jade Miller (29g 22a) finished top 20 in the NAHL in scoring with 58 and 51 points respectively.  Jacob Paganalli (13g 30a) is third on the team in scoring and lead the Bruins against the Tauros with three goals and five assists.  With Justin Misiak (17g 18a) and Austin Rueschhoff (19g 12a) the Bruins have five players with at least 30 points. 

Meanwhile the Tauros have eight players with at least 30 points.  Christian Mohs (17g 33a) lead the team with 50 points on the season and newcomers Max Reisinger (15g 26a) and Matt Jennings (15g 25a) both had over 40.  Derek Frentz (17g 21a), Chase Springman (14g 21a), James LaDouce (10g 25a), Zack Bross (12g 19a), and Tyler Jeanson (10g 21a) round out the 30 point club for the Tauros.   

On offense the “x-factor” may be the Tauros defensemen.  Tauros’ blue-liners ranked fifth as a group with 141 points on 27 goals and 114 assists; conversely Austin’s defense corps finished 19th posting just 12 goals and 66 assists for 78 points.  Coincidently, Paganalli and LaDouce who topped the season series for the respective teams will both miss Game One due to suspension.

In goal the Tauros’ Gunner Rivers put up sensational numbers after being acquired via trade in February going 10-2-2 with a 1.77 GAA, .944 sv%, and three shutouts after the trade.  For Austin Kristofer Carlson played the majority of the games posting a 22-18-2 record on a 2.54 GAA and .916 SV%. 

Strangely home ice advantage has not mattered much between these two teams, with each winning three games in the other’s building this year.  Reversing that trend this weekend in Minot would put the Tauros in excellent position going to Austin next weekend, as the Tauros 18-9-3 road record was fourth best in the NAHL.

Tickets and Tailgating: Tickets for the weekend’s games in Minot are still available under the “Tickets” tab atop this page.  There will be Tailgate Parties for both Game One and Game Two, with free food and drinks thanks to Allstate Agent Mark A. Havig & Kacey Cope, Central Cab – Lyle Heide, Edward Jones – Mark Kohlman, Morelli's Distribution, Superior Cleaning – Don & Angie Rostad, Valley Custom Meats – Minot, and the Hyatt Family.  Please click the links for the tailgate parties to RSVP so that there is enough food for everyone. 

Round One Tickets

 

Minot, ND – For the fourth season in a row the Minotauros and Austin Bruins will meet in the post-season.  For the first time the Tauros will have home-ice advantage in the series which opens this weekend at Minot’s Maysa Arena.  Tickets for each of the first four games are available now for Tauros fans.  Tickets for the games in Minot are available by clicking here.  Tauro fans going to Austin for Games 3 and 4 (if needed) can get tickets through the Minotauros office by emailing Ken Oda (koda@minotauroshockey.com). 

Fans who place a deposit on Season Tickets for the 2016/17 season will get tickets to the Tauros home games in Round One for free.  Season Ticket Holders can also select their seats in the new Maysa Arena now (click here for more season ticket info).  The Tauros office will be open late Monday through Thursday this week for fans to come and purchase individual playoff game tickets or season tickets.  Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday the office will be open until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday until 8:00 p.m. 

 

Round One Schedule

Game 1: @ Minot 4/15 7:35 p.m.

Round One Schedule Set

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – On the eve of the final day of the regular season the Minotauros finally have a clear picture of the challenge that awaits them in the first round of the playoffs.  For the fourth season in a row the Minotauros and the Austin Bruins will meet in the playoffs.  The Tauros who finished second in the NAHL Central Division will have home ice for the first time in a series between the two clubs as Austin finished in third. 

Unlike last season there will not be an off week between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.  Game One of the series will be in Minot on Friday, April 15th, with a 7:35 p.m. puck drop.  Game Two follows the next night, April 16th, also with a 7:35 p.m. start at the Maysa Arena.  Game Three is in Austin on April 22nd, with a 7:05 p.m. start.  If needed Game Four would be in Austin on April 23rd at 7:05 p.m. and Game Five would see the series return to Minot on Monday April 25th for a 7:05 p.m. start at the Maysa Arena. 

Tickets for Game One and Game Two in Minot are on sale now (click here to purchase).  Fans who put a deposit down for season tickets for the 2016/17 season get tickets to the first round of the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs for free.   More information on 2016/17 Season Tickets is available under the “Tickets” tab atop this page.  Minot Fans looking to head to Austin for Game Three and/or Game Four will be able to get tickets through the Minotauros office, details will be posted soon.  Game Five tickets if needed will not go on sale until after Game Four.

 

Round One Schedule

Game 1: @ Minot 4/15 7:35 p.m.

Full Circle

Brookings, SD – The Minot Minotauros close out the regular season this weekend in the same building they opened it in in September as they take on the Brookings Blizzard.  The Tauros dropped both of those games, first in a shootout then in overtime, but since then have gone 34-18-4 and guaranteed a top two finish in the NAHL Central Division.  Meanwhile the Blizzard stumbled after that initial success but have won five of their last six as they push for the Central’s final playoff spot.

The Tauros come as one of the best teams in the league down the stretch going 15-2-3 over the last 20 games.  One of the biggest reasons for that has been the play of Gunner Rivers (17-9-3) who was named the NAHL Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Month for his play in March.   Since being acquired Rivers has a 1.75 GAA and .945 SV%.  Matt Jennings (15g 24a) and Max Reisinger (15g 25a) have also been dominant since being acquired via trade this winter.  Derek Frentz (17g 21a) has posted 16 points over the last 20 games and Christian Mohs (15g 33a) is one point away from being the Tauros first player with 100 career points.

The Blizzard enter the weekend with control of the Central’s final playoff spot, however the Magicians and Wings are right on their heels.  The Magicians are tied with the Blizzard on points but have one fewer win than Brookings, Aberdeen is a point behind the pair and still in striking distance.  The Blizzard have the tie breakers over both however and will advance into the post season if they can win out.  Griff Jeszka (15g 30a), Kane Durment (17g 24a) and Mikael Hakkarinen (13g 27a) lead the Brookings offense.  In net Josh Kuehmichel (14-12-2) has been the goalie of record over the last seven games and appears to have won the starting job. 

While Brookings is desperate the games still hold meaning for the Minotauros who are within striking distance of Bismarck for the top spot in the Central.  The Tauros need to get three more points than the Bobcats this weekend in order to win the division.  That can happen with either a Tauros sweep coupled with Bismarck being held to one point or less, or a Tauros win and overtime loss paired with the Magicians sweeping the Bobcats. 

Regardless of the results of any games this weekend the Tauros already know that they will open the Robertson Cup Playoffs with home games on April 15th and 16th at the Maysa.  After this weekend they will finally know who the opponent will be. 

2016-17 Season Ticket Sales Open Tuesday

Minot, ND – Full season tickets for the 2016-2017 season will be available starting at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.  Fans who place a minimum $100.00 deposit on tickets for the 2016-2017 season will receive free tickets to Games 1, 2, and 5 (if needed) of Round One the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs and will be able to select their seat in the new Maysa Arena.  Season ticket holders also receive a 10% discount at the Minotauros merchandise shop and a free car decal (click here to purchase 2016-17 season tickets)

Ticket prices for the 2016-2017 season will be increasing $1.00 with the exception of “Children’s” tickets which will remain $6.00.  The $1.00 increase on tickets will go the Minot Hockey Boosters Program.  Adult individual game tickets will now be $14.00; Military/Senior/Student tickets will be $11.00; and Family Pack Tickets (2 adult and 2 child tickets) will be $30.00.

There will also no longer be general admission seating for Minotauros games once the New Maysa is open.  Fans wanting to select their seat will have to either purchase season tickets or purchase individual game tickets in advance.  Fans purchasing tickets at the door on game day will be given the best available seats in the section of their choosing.  For full info on our new ticketing policies lease read the “New Maysa Ticketing Policy” prior to purchasing tickets.

Bearing Down

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Central Division remains the most contested in the NAHL with all six teams still jockeying for position in the race for four playoff spots.  The Minotauros and Bismarck Bobcats are the only two clubs that have clinched playoff spots with the Tauros sitting one point behind their in-state rival with four games remaining on the schedule.  The Tauros kick off the final stretch with two games against the Austin Bruins to close out the home portion of the regular season. 

The Tauros have not seen the Bruins since Thanksgiving weekend when they were dueling atop the division.  Since the start of February however the Bruins have struggled to a 6-7-3 record to third place in the division.  Gilbert Gabor (21g 35a) leads the Bruins with 56 points which is good for seventh in the league.  Jade Miller (27g 21a) is sixth in the NAHL with 27 goals, and Jacob Paganelli (13g 25a) with 38 points rounds out the Bruins’ top three scorers.  Kristofer Carlson (20-17-2) has played the vast majority of the Bruins games in goal posting a 2.54 GAA and .916 SV%.

For the Tauros Christian Mohs (15g 31a) has pulled within three points of the 100-point mark for his career.  He would be the first Tauro to reach triple digits in points.  Max Reisinger (14g 25a), Colton Berg (4g 6a), and Derek Frentz (16g 21a) each have six points over the last five games.  In goal Gunner Rivers (16-9-3) has been lights out since being acquired from Odessa.   As a Tauro Rivers has a .946 SV% and 1.73 GAA to go 9-1-2 with three shutouts. 

Fans attending the games this weekend should be sure to vote for their favorite Tauro for the Fan Favorite Award which will be presented at Wednesday’s Tauros Awards Banquet.  After Saturday night’s game the Tauros will auction their game-worn home jerseys; the jerseys will be autographed and made available after the end of the playoffs.

Tauros Awards

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Second Annual Minotauros Awards Banquet is Wednesday April 6th, at the Holiday Inn Riverside in Minot.  The doors open at 6:00 p.m., with the events beginning at 6:30.  Tickets for the event (buy here) are $20 and include admission and dinner (menu below). There are only 85 tickets available, so get yours before they are gone.

There will be two fan driven question and answer panels hosted by Ken Oda and Nick Hulberg.  The first panel will feature the Tauros coaches Marty Murray and Nigel Dube; the second will feature the Tauros captains: Jared Brandt, Christian Mohs, Jake Dittel, Max Mettler, James LaDouce, and Zack Bross

Aside from the panels of course throughout the night there will be nine awards presented to Tauros players.  Winners of the awards are selected by either the coaches, a players vote, or a fan vote.  A full list of the awards can be seen below.

 

Awards to be Presented

Loud and Clear

By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com

Minot, ND – The Minotauros and Bobcats came into Thursday night’s game (box score) tied atop the Central Division with 69 standings points each.  The Tauros struck early, and then used a big third period to pull ahead of the Cats on the scoreboard and in the standings.  The 4-0 final score gave the Tauros a 7-5 edge in the season series including wins in the last four meetings by a combined 16-8 score. 

Tyler Jeanson (10g 21a) opened the scoring just under five minutes in (highlight) netting his sixth of the season against the Bobcats.   That goal would be the lone marker in the first forty minutes, but the Tauros would break the game open in the third.  Max Reisinger (14g 25a) tucked home a rebound (highlight) on the power play just 50 seconds into the third to make it 2-0. Chase Springman (14g 20a) followed with another power play goal at 6:30 (highlight) to end Bismarck starting goaltender Hunter Shepard’s (30-11-2) night.  Reisinger got his second of the night this time at even strength (highlight) to push the lead to 4-0.  That score would hold for the final as Gunner Rivers (16-9-5) earned his third shutout as a Tauro making all 30 saves required of him.

The Tauros power play success was matched by their penalty kill which stopped all seven of the Bobcats power plays.  The Tauros outshot the Bobcats 32-30 despite the Bobcats having three more power plays than the Tauros.  While the Tauros and Bobcats will continue to joust atop the division, the win clinched home ice advantage in the first round for the Tauros.  That means the Tauros will host Game 1 and Game 2 of the opening round on April 15th and 16th respectively.

Next up for the Tauros is a weekend set with the Austin Bruins starting Friday April 1st.  After the game on Saturday April 2nd, there will be an auction of this season’s home jerseys.  The jerseys will be given to fans at the conclusion of the Tauros playoff run.