by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Cloquet, MN – The Minotauros and Wilderness entered the weekend as the two hottest teams in the North American Hockey League, after 120 minutes of hockey it was clear both teams should be considered title contenders. In the two game set the teams took turns ending each other’s winning streaks in games that saw the winner jump out to an early lead and then fend off a comeback efforts as both neither team would quit.
Friday night (full box) the Tauros got off to a quick start when Sam Fuss scored from the point off of a faceoff in the offensive zone 3:04 into the first. Fuss said he “whiffed a little on the shot” which may have helped fool the goaltender. Then in the second another quick goal double the Tauros lead. Austin Martinsen scored from the slot on the rush after Jared Brandt fired a quick pass up ice to start the play. Johnny Walker then added a power play goal when he ripped a shot over Chase Munroe’s shoulder and off the bottom of the crossbar and in. Walker’s goal was his league leading 11th of the season. Ashton Calder and Tyler Cline started a comeback with goals in the second half of the of the second period to cut the lead to 3-2 before the third. The Wilderness threw 13 shots on net in the third but Lucas Murray turned all of them away to hold on for the 3-2 win. The victory pushed the Tauros win streak to a franchise best nine games.
Saturday night (full box) it was the Wilderness jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Brett Heikkila, Malo Ville, and Alex Toscano each scored in the first period to put the Tauros in a hole. Toscano’s goal came at on the power play with just 15 second remaining in the period and resulted in Jon Flakne taking over for Murray in the Tauros net to start the second. Martinsen scored two goals late in the second period to pull the Tauros back within one. However 36 seconds after Matrinsen’s second goal Cline got behind the Tauros defense and beat Flakne on a breakaway to make it 4-2 with a minute to play in the second. Just as the Wilderness did the night before the Tauros pushed in the final period but could not draw even despite firing 14 shots at Munroe.
The weekend split with the defending champions leaves the Tauros five points ahead of Austin for first place in the Central, and ten points ahead Bismarck, Aberdeen, and Brookings. After starting with 11 of the first 13 games on the road the Tauros have seven of the next nine at the Maysa, starting with Austin next weekend. Friday’s game starts at 8:05 p.m. and Saturday game starts at 7:35. For Saturday’s Halloween game the will be a “Trunk or Treat” Tailgate party brought to you by All State Agent Mark Havig, Superior Cleaning, and the Hyatt Family. Food and drink will be provided, the first 100 kids in costume get a free ticket to the game, and there will be prizes for the best decorated vehicles, for more details or to enter your car into the decoration contest click here.