Taming the Wilderness

Cloquet, MN – The Minotauros swept the Wilderness to move back into second place in the Central Division avenging a sweep from last month.   The sweep sends the Tauros into their first off week of the season feeling good and on a four-game winning streak.

The Tauros set the tone right from the start opening up a 3-0 lead in the first period Friday night (box score).  Ville Immonen (7g 6a), Jack Westlund (3g 6a), and Dan Russell (4g 3a) each scored as the Tauros steamrolled the Wilderness in the first outshooting their hosts 18-7.  The Wilderness fought back early in the second with goals from Chikara Hanzawa (3g 0a) and Aaron Myers (1g 3a) scored to pull within one.  The Tauros pulled back ahead after Ben Garrity made a huge save in the defensive end Kyler Kleven (6g 7a) sniped a shot into the top corner to push the Tauro lead to 4-2.  Cole Hanson (3g 5a) added a goal with nine seconds left in the second and the Tauros on a 5-on-3 power play to make it 5-2 heading into the third.  Nate Horn (11g 11a) scored early in the final frame to pull the Wilderness back within two but Cole O’Connell (7g 6a) added a shorthanded empty netter in the final moments to lock up the Tauro victory.

Saturday (box score) the Wilderness came out with more jump looking to bounce back from the loss the night before.  Hanzawa opened the scoring 9:29 into the game when he was left alone in front of Garrity for multiple whacks at a loose puck.  Russell then drew the Tauros even after finding a loose puck in the neutral zone and streaking in on a breakaway before roofing a shot past Jonathan Mor.  Affiliate Player Ben Strinden (1g 0a) then scored his first goal as a Tauro 1:21 into the second period of his first junior game.  But, 15 seconds later however, Garrett Worth (1g 0a) drew the Wilderness even.  The late in the period it was the Tauros turn to quickly answer.  After Tyler Watkins (9g 11a) gave the Wilderness a 3-2 lead with 14.2 to play in the period, Hanson answered with 0.9 showing on the clock.  Cade Stibbe (4g 8a) got the lone goal of the third period for the game winner with a rocket over Mor’s glove on the rush to secure the weekend sweep.

The Tauros now get a weekend off and get ready for a three game in four night stretch.  The Tauros will play in Bismarck on Wednesday, November 27th.  Then the Tauros return home to the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena for Pack the Pepsi Night on Black Friday.  The Tauros host the St. Cloud Blizzard on Friday and Saturday November 29th and 30th.  On Black Friday the Tauros will draw a winner for $250 each time they score.