Weekend 1-7-23

Jan 7, 2023

By Jeremy Pike, minotauroshockey.com. Minot, ND – A brutal start to the weekend could not keep the Minotauros down as they rallied to take two of three from the St Cloud Norsemen, capped off by a 6-3 win Saturday night.

The Tauros and St Cloud split the opening two games meaning Saturday night’s tilt would be the rare rubber match. With just under four minutes left in the first, the Norsemen opened the scoring, just as they had all weekend long. Nik Hong scored a shorthanded goal, and the visitors held a slim 10-7 margin in shots after one.

It would be forgiven if Tauros fans began to have flashbacks to Thursday night when St Cloud made it 2-0 only 35 seconds into the second period. Kade Peterson streaked down the left wing into the Tauros zone and sent a low, hard shot that Chaffe had to kick away. However, the rebound went straight to Hunter Hanson cruising in from the slot and he was able to slap it home.

The Tauros kept pushing back and were able to get a power play a little over seven and a half minutes into the period. While they could not score, the puck movement and pressure kept St Cloud on their heels, and 10 seconds after the penalty expired, it was a one-goal game.

Nick Sewecke, who scored the first goal for the Tauros in Friday night’s game, spun his defender around behind the St Cloud net before flipping a pass out front to Bryce Howard who tucked it past Norsemen goalie Ethan Dahlmeir. Howard continued his strong play from Friday night’s game where he was instrumental in that come-from-behind win. Adam Mahler got an assist as he was the one who got Sawecke deep behind the net.

Less than a minute later, an errant pass by St Cloud while in the Tauros zone allowed Hunter Longhi and Chase LaPinta to break down the ice in a two-on-one situation. Longhi pounced on the puck and held for as long as possible before dishing it to the crashing LaPinta who made no mistake in beating Dahlmeir. That extended LaPinta’s streak to scoring in 10 straight games.

The two teams went to the rooms tied at 2 with the Tauros feeling some momentum as they outshot St Cloud 10-5 in the period and 17-15 overall.

However, the Norsemen weren’t done yet. With just over 12 minutes remaining, Elmeri Hallfors’ shot fluttered up and over Chaffee to give the visitors the lead again. Then it was Minot’s turn to fight back again.

4:04 later, the Tauros’ man of the weekend tied the game. St Cloud got called for too many men on the ice, and the Tauros power play went to work. They struggled all weekend long and were 0 for 8 up until this point. Then Longhi and LaPinta went to work again. Longhi found LaPinta who ripped it home for his second of the night and tied it for the second time. Justin Dauphinais also got an assist on the goal.

Less than a minute later, the Tauros had their first lead during play all weekend. Howard, who had earlier tallied the Tauros’ first goal, fought off two St Cloud players to gain the zone before dropping the puck to Trevor Stachowiak. Stax cruised in on goal before firing a laser wrist shot to give the Tauros a 4-3 lead with 7:14 left in the third.

The Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena was rocking as the home crowd celebrated and continued to urge the Tauros on, and on the Tauros went.

Mahler netted his third of the season on a long-range rising shot from the point with 3:30 left to give the home team an insurance goal after some extended pressure. Tory Lund and Cameron Boche each got an assist. After Friday night’s dominant performance in goal by Dahlmeir for the Norsemen, the Tauros found a way to get to him.

St Cloud was desperate to turn it around and pulled Dahlmeir with under three to play to try to get a spark.

That was not to be, though. Colby Woogk tried to find the empty net from inside the Tauros blue line but it went just wide. It would have been icing if not for LaPinta outracing the St Cloud defense and somehow tipping the puck just inside the far post. Hats rained down to celebrate LaPinta’s hat trick, the 18th in Tauros history. That was fittingly his 18th goal of the season, and he scored it as an 18-year-old.

The Tauros were able to finish the rest of the game unscathed and celebrated the 6-3 win around Chaffe who finished the game with 21 saves on 24 shots in his first game as a Tauros goalie.


Friday night was a much-needed rebound for the Tauros, and it took everything the shortened roster had to earn the 3-2 overtime win. Despite outshooting St Cloud 14-4 in the first period, the Tauros could not solve Norsemen goalie Tomas Bolo and the teams went to the rooms 0-0 after one.

Then at the 7:34 mark, Blake Perbix scored his second goal of the weekend to give St Cloud the 1-0 lead. He continued his hot streak against the Tauros with 11 goals and 14 assists throughout his NAHL career against Minot.

Just over three minutes later, Sewecke netted his second goal of the game after he banged home a rebound from Longhi who had been set up by LaPinta.

That would be it for the second period as the teams went to the rooms tied at 1. The Tauros were still carrying play but not as much as in the first period. They outshot St Cloud 14-10 in the second and 28-14 overall.

However, issues with the special teams would continue to plague the Tauros as they did all weekend. Boche got called for a cross-check just over the halfway mark of the period, and St Cloud eventually made the Tauros pay.

The Norsemen were able to rush up the ice and Peterson, who had contributed to their second goal of Saturday night’s game, was able to fire a low, hard shot through a Tauros defenseman to beat goalie Noah Rupprecht.

While St Cloud carried the majority of the period, Rupprecht stood strong to give the Tauros a fighting chance. Howard was just the player to do it.

With just over a minute and a half to play in the third, Howard chipped the puck into the St Cloud zone but not into the corner. He was able to beat the defenseman to the puck and wire it across the ice where it found LaPinta. He one-timed it past Bolo to tie the game at two. That was his ninth-straight game with a goal which moved him solely into possession of second place on the modern NAHL list.

Despite St Cloud outshooting the Tauros 11-3 in the third, the buzzer sounded with the scoreboard showing a pair of 2s. Free hockey at the Maysa Arena.

Howard wasn’t about to disappoint the home fans, either. Less than a minute into the extra period, Howard once again raced into the offensive zone and this time found Nick O’Hanisain crashing the crease for the game-winner, O’Hanisain’s eighth of the season.


When the puck dropped Thursday night, the Maysa Arena was not packed to its usual amount, thanks in part to schools coming back from the holiday break as well as being a school night. While that may not completely explain the 9-2 loss to the St Cloud Norsemen, it certainly didn’t help.

Andrew Clarke opened the scoring only 2:20 into the game as Jeremiah Konkel circled below the net and fed the puck to the back post where Clarke just had to tap it in. The Norsemen almost lived below the goal line all night long, generating a lot of quality chances (and goals.)

LaPinta gave the Tauros a boost when he scored in his eighth-straight game with an assist from John Emmons at the 10:32 mark.

Then almost exactly two minutes later, Duke Kiffin restored St Cloud’s lead and they would never look back. This time it was Hogan Sinjem and Jordan Zelenak setting up the below-the-net play and Kiffin was able to crash the net for the lead.

Still, despite trailing 2-1, the Tauros outshot St Cloud 11-5 and had to feel good about the effort in the second half of the period.

Then with just under seven and a half minutes gone by, Perbix ripped a shot off the crossbar and in to make it 3-1. It would end up being the game-winner as well as the start of a 3-0 second period for St Cloud. Owen Hendrickson would also score with assists from Konkel and Kiffin. Then Clarke would net his second of the night with another assist by Konkel and an assist from Tyler Dysart. After the buzzer sounded on the second, the Tauros were down 5-1 and were outshot 14-11 in the period. They still led in total shots 22-19, but they were struggling to solve Dahlmeir.

Otto Humble made it 6-1 just over four minutes into the third with assists from Hallifors and Hanson. Then came a slew of penalties as Stachowiak went after St Cloud’s Broten Sabo. The entire weekend was a physical affair with a lot of extracurricular activities, and it was obvious that even on Friday night, it was getting to the Tauros. As Stax and Sabo wrapped up their fight, Ben Johnson and Zelenak went at it with Johnson quickly dropping the St Cloud player.

Hanson made it 7-1 on the ensuing power play with assists from Hong and Carter Bradley, and the game was long gone.

Dauphinais did give the home fans a brief moment of celebration with about nine minutes to play when he beat his defender to tap home a perfect pass from Joe Blackley. Jan-Kasper Bergman also tallied an assist.

However, Charlie Wind would make it 8-2 with 5:31 to play with assists from Sinjem and Hong. That tied the Norsemen franchise record for most goals against the Tauros.

Then with two seconds to play, Clarke netted his hat trick with assists from Jake Hosszu and Dysart to set the new franchise record for goals scored against the Tauros.

Next up the Tauros continue the string of home games with the Aberdeen Wings coming to the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena next Friday and Saturday in a battle for second place in the Central Division.  Tickets for the weekend are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page or by visiting tickets.minotauroshockey.com!