Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros host the rebranded St. Cloud Norsemen this weekend at the Maysa Arena looking to extend their four-game point streak to start the season. Meanwhile the Norsemen, formerly the St. Cloud Blizzard and before that the Brookings Blizzard, look to rebrand themselves on the ice as well as off. The Blizzard finished in last place in the Central each of the last three seasons, their 22 wins over the last two campaigns is fewer than every other Central team won last season even with Covid cutting the season short. The Tauros dominated the Blizzard of late going 20-4-0 over the last two seasons including setting a franchise record 11 goals in a game last November and then matching it by scoring 11 more goals in a game in February.
With 11 markers in four contests the Tauros are posting 2.75 goals-per-game on the young season; which ranks eighth out of the 11 teams to play a game to this point. Joseph Harguindeguy has led the charge with 6 points (3g 3a) thus far, his four point performance last weekend against the Wilderness earned him Bauer NAHL Central Second Star of the Week honors. Damon Zimmer’s four goals are a team best and Carter Korpi also has four points on a goal and three helpers. Of course the biggest story of the season so far for the Tauros has been the play of goaltender Keenan Rancier. The Central Division First Star of the Week for the season’s opening weekend has posted a 2-0-1 record stopping 132 of 136 shots through his three starts leading to a 1.30 GAA and .971 SV%.
After the aforementioned last-place finish and coaching change the Norsemen bring back just five full-time players from last year’s squad, all of them forwards: Owen Belisle, Zack Diamont, Ryan O’Neill, Jack Suchy, and Colin West. With no defensemen returning from last year’s squad the Norsemen had to look outside of the organization for veteran help adding Michael Spinner and Caydon Meyer before the season started and trading for Hunter Bjorge from the Tauros this week. Bjorge posted 17 points (4g 13a) in 43 contests last season for the Tauros, Meyer had 18 (4g 14a) for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Spinner had 16 (4g 12a) splitting time with Kenai River and Springfield. The Norsemen did not return any goaltenders from last season, the new duo of Paxton Geisel and Will Pinney struggled opening weekend allowing 14 goals in two games in Aberdeen.
After this weekend the Tauros have an off weekend and then hit the road for the first time this season, heading to St. Cloud November 6th and 7th. The Tauros will return to the Maysa Arena on Tuesday November 10th to host the Bismarck Bobcats. The Tauros next weekend home games will not be until November 20th and 21st against the Aberdeen Wings.
Saturday is a busy night at the Maysa with several promotions. The Minotauros Booster Club is hosting their annual Trunk-or-Treat Tailgate. The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is hosting a food drive at the main entrance to the Maysa benefiting local victims of domestic violence. Also Saturday’s game sponsor Farmers Insurance Miranda Schuler Agency is giving out Tauros magnet schedules to the first 500 fans as well as 150 light up lanyards as well, so get to the Maysa early to be sure to get yours!
Minotauros Attendance and Covid-19
While the Covid-19 pandemic forced the end of last season and delayed the start of this one, we are hopeful that it will have no deeper impact on the upcoming schedule. The safety and health of our fans is our utmost priority and we will continue to strive to do our best to find the appropriate balance to serve and entertain our fans throughout the upcoming season. The Minotauros will be respecting all federal, state, and city guidance and following any relevant laws and/or ordinances as they apply. At this time, we continue to take our guidance from local authorities who allow for full attendance at the Maysa Arena, additionally Minot’s City Counsel passed a mask mandate this week.
Additionally, the Minotauros will be enacting additional optional safeguards to protect our fans including the steps below.
- Optional “Socially Distant Seating” is already implemented and available in sections 115 and 116, the Minotauros may increase or decrease this based on demand from the community and input from health officials.
- To help combat the spread of Covid, hand sanitizing stations will be made available throughout the arena.
- The Minotauros have upgraded to touchless payment systems where possible to help minimize spread.
Unfortunately, in conjunction with North American Hockey League return to play protocols, some events that we cherish, such as Skate with the Tauros will have to be postponed for the time being. The Tauros players and staff remain optimistic that they will return in the not too distant future as we all strive to find a new, safe, normal. Additionally, for all six October home games flex tickets from the 2019-20 season will still be valid as fans lost the opportunity to redeem them for final six games from last season.