by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – Not much has gone right of late for the Minotauros who are mired in their worst stretch since the start of the season. The Tauros are 0-4-1 since January 25th going more than two games in a row without a win for the first time since their 0-6-1 start to the season back in September.
Not coincidentally the Tauros have been decimated by injuries and illness and have not dressed a full regiment of six defensemen in nine games. To make matters worse, the injury bug has spread to the forwards as well, and the Tauros were only able to dress 19 players this last weekend in Brookings.
Missing players have not been the only challenge for the Tauros of late however. After having to cancel a game in Bismark two weekends ago due to weather, the Tauros were stranded on I29 and spent 48 hours on the team bus when a blizzard delayed the return from Brookings. After leaving Brookings after Saturday’s game the team did not return home to Minot until after 10 p.m. on Monday night.
The weather related travel delay could not have come at a worse time for the Tauros, with the only Wednesday game of the season (excluding the season opening Blaine Showcase) on the schedule tonight the tired Tauros will have to dig deep. One potential boost comes from the return of Jadin Martin who missed last weekend with an injury. Martin is second on the team with 25 points (8g 17a).
For the Tauros to beat the Blizzard tonight they will have to contain Thomas Williams especially when a penalty box is occupied. The Blizzard captain has five special teams goals against Tauros, two on the power play and three short handed. He also has four even strength points against Minot (1g 3a). The Blizzard also generated a lot of offense this last weekend by moving the puck to the point and having defensemen shoot, most notably Drew Brevig. Brevig has a goal and three assists against the Tauros but the most shocking number is the 19 shots he has taken in just seven games.
The Tauros’ Collin Abitz had his goal streak against the Blizzard stopped at four as he was held off of the board this weekend. Offense overall has been a struggle of late for the Tauros who have just five goals over the last five games. Mason Morelli, has been one bright spot on offense however with a goal and two assists over that same span.
In net the Tauros’ Tyler Parks and Blizzard goalie Drew Weigman have posted identical .920 SV%. Weigman though by virtue of seeing few shots has posted a lower GAA of 2.53 to Parks’ 2.69.
Player to Watch: Cameron Rowat; had a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, assists, and fight) in the first period last Friday night against the Blizzard.
See the Game: Puck drop on Wednesday night is at 7:05. Tickets are still available by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page. The first 250 fans to show military i.d. at the door get in free. If you can not make it to the Maysa arena the game can be seen on-line at www.fasthockey.com.