Minot, ND – The Tauros host the Austin Bruins on the final weekend before Christmas break on a weekend dedicated to animals of all kinds. First on Friday night the Tauros are a collection point for Minot’s Animal Rescue Fundraiser benefiting several local animal rescues. Then on Saturday night it is the Tauros annual SCHEELS Teddy Bear Toss when fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used stuff animals and throw them to the ice; the plush toys are then collected and distributed to a number of local not-for-profits to go to children in need or times of crisis.
For the actual games the Tauros will be facing the Austin Bruins in a battle to finish the first half in first place in the Central Division. Going into the weekend the Tauros and Bruins are tied atop the Central with 33 points in the standings. The Bruins currently hold the tie breaker having played fewer games, but by season’s end when every team has played 60 contests the tie breaker will be overall wins, of which the Tauros have more 16 to 15 at the moment.
The Tauros have dominated the season series to this point, rattling off five wins in a row after the Bruins won the first meeting. Zack Simon has played his best hockey against Austin with five of his 15 goals coming against the Bruins. No other player in the series has more than two markers for either team. The Tauros goaltenders have also played some of their best hockey against the Bruins posting a combined .935 SV% and 2.14 GAA. In fact, the Tauros goaltending duo of Zach Sandy and Carter Clafton has a combined .922 SV% which makes them the third most effective tandem in the league behind Odessa and El Paso.
The Bruins come in off of a sweep of Bismarck at home last weekend, the sweep moved them to 4-5-1 over their last 10 contests. Jens Richards and Carson Riddle are tied for the team lead with 26 points each. Sutter Muzzatti rounds out the top three with 24 points and is the only other Bruin with more than 15 points. In comparison, the Tauros top eight scorers are each over the 15 point mark. Klayton Knapp has been between the pipes for each of Austin’s last three wins and allowed just two goals in the Tauros 3-1 win in Austin on November 19th.
As stated above, the weekend sets the stage for the second half of the season. While the Central’s top two teams battle in Minot, third place North Iowa visits Bismarck and the Aberdeen Wings head to St. Cloud. A couple of wins for either team could seem them start to distance themselves from the rest of the division.
Tickets for the weekend’s games are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page or by clicking here. Also there is still time to get the Tauros fan in your life a Tauros Christmas Mystery Bag, the DASH auction ends during Saturday night’s game so bid now!