Plymouth, MI – The Minotauros sit at the top of the Central Division standings so it should be no surprise that their five players on the Central Division All-Star team were among its most impressive. Zack Bross, Jake Dittel, Derek Frentz, Lucas Murray, and Nolan Sawchuk joined with 15 other players from the Aberdeen Wings, Austin Bruins, Bismarck Bobcats, Brookings Blizzard, and Minnesota Wilderness to form Team Central coached by Tauros Head Coach Marty Murray. Expectations were high for the team as the Central Division entered the tournament on a nine-game winning streak from past Top Prospects Tournaments. Though the streak did not survive the two day event the Tauros players represented the team well.
On Monday afternoon Team Central took on Team Midwest (comprised of players from the Coulee Region Chill, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Janesville Jets, Kenai River Brown Bears, Minnesota Magicians, and Springfield Jr. Blues,) in the opening game of the Top Prospects Tournament. The Central came out strong in front of the Tauros goaltender Murray who stopped all 13 shots he faced in 29:14 of playing time. Meanwhile Zach Mills of the Wilderness and former Tauro and current Austin Bruin Jack Murphy scored first period goals to get the Central off to a 2-0 lead. That score held until early in the third period when Bross scored on the highlight of the tournament (highlight) beating two defenders and the goalie on the rush. That goal made it 3-0 and just 34 seconds later the Bruins’ Jon Richards made it 4-0 with help from Mills and Dittel. Team Midwest got two past Brookings goaltender Josh Boyko to turn Bross’s goal into the game winner. Murray was credited with the win in goal.
On Tuesday Team South (consisting of players from the Amarillo Bulls, Corpus Christi Ice Rays, Lone Star Brahmas, Odessa Jackalopes, Shreveport Mudbugs, Topeka Road Runners, and Wichita Falls Wildcats) provided the opposition and came out strong beating Boyko three times in a 2:11 span early in the first period. Frentz scored late in the second to get the Central on the board and make it a two goal game headed into the third. Amarillo’s Luke Edgerton beat Lucas Murray early in the third for Murray’s lone blemish of the Tournament to push the South’s lead to 4-1. Almost immediately Aberdeen’s Carter Roo answered back to cut it to a two goal game again on a goal set up by fellow Wing Tyler Bossert and Frentz, but the South would hit the empty net to ice away the victory late.
In all the Tauros recorded points on four of the Central’s six goals including scoring two of them, while Lucas Murray allowed just one of the seven goals scored against Team Central. With Top Prospects over the Tauros can return to the task of winning their first ever Central Division crown. Despite holding an eight point cushion on second place Minnesota the Tauros have yet to mathematically clinch a playoff spot, they can do that this weekend in Bismarck with the combination of a regulation win and an overtime loss or two wins of any kind.