photo credit: Dave Harwig
Cloquet, MN – The Minotauros start to the season felt easy 5-0-1 going into the weekend the Tauros were one of just three teams without a regulation loss early on the season. Friday’s shootout loss combined with Kenai River’s loss to Chippewa cut it down to just the Tauros and Lone Star who had not lost in 60 minutes. Saturday the Tauros suffered their worst loss since December 14, 2018 (7-1 to Aberdeen) with a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wilderness.
Friday (box score) saw a wild game in which saw the score tied five times through regulation. Cole O’Connell opened the scoring with his fourth of the seaosn 7:53 into the game only to see Nick Portz tie it six minutes later. Ville Immonen restored the Tauro lead with five minutes to play in the period but Nate Horn answered less than a minute and a half later to make it 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
Nik Armstrong-Kingkade became the third Tauro of the night to score his fourth goal of the season to give the Tauros a lead and Isak Dahlin scored with less than a minute left in the second to give the Tauros a 4-2 edge heading into the third. The Tauros 15-6 shot advantage in the period combined with the two-goal lead heading into the third made the Tauro lead appear safe.
That would prove to be untrue as the Wilderness used special teams to flip the score. Horn added two quick goals on the power play at 5:22 and at evens at 6:45 of the third to tie the game and round out a hat trick. Jacob Herter scored just after another Tauro penalty expired to make it 5-4 Wilderness and then it was the Tauros turn to battle back.
With two Wilderness in the box Sam Skinner scored on a shot from the point to tie the game at 5-5. But after a shorthanded goal from Tyler Watkins with just 1:40 to play appeared to give the Wilderness the win in regulation but Kevin Ness got his third in as many games with less than a minute to play to force overtime. The extra five minutes surprisingly did not see any goals and the game moved on to a shootout. Kimball Johnson scored on the first shot for the Wilderness and all three Tauros shooters failed to score to give the win to the Wilderness
Saturday (box score) the Tauros fell behind early when Eric Fawkes scored just 2:41 into the contest. Armstrong-Kingkade drew the Tauros even less than three minutes later with a great individual effort that culminated in a shorthanded goal. The shorty was big not just for the tie score but also for the Tauros penalty kill that had allowed four power play goals the night before to regain some confidence. The 1-1 tie held through the rest of the period.
Fawkes again scored early into the period to start the second and restore the Wilderness lead. Captain Ryan Nelson would add another before the second break to make it 3-1 Minnesota after two. Nathan Adrian and Portz added two more early in the third and the Wilderness cruised to victory.
The Tauros first regulation loss of the season caps their eight-game road trip to start the season with a record of 5-1-2. Next up for the Tauros is the first six home games of the regular season, starting Friday and Saturday against the Aberdeen Wings. Tickets for both games are still available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page.