Aberdeen, SD – The Minotauros head to the Hub City for the first time this season in a virtual tie with the rival Wings for second place in the Central Division. The Tauros have the first tie-breaker with 20 wins compared to the Wings 19 but with eight head-to-head meetings over the season’s final 11 weeks the teams will settle the battle on the ice starting this weekend in Aberdeen.
The teams have split the first four meetings this season, both weekend splits in Minot, first in October and second in January. The Tauros won both Friday games followed by Aberdeen bouncing back on Saturday. Each team has scored 11 goals over the four meetings during which the Tauros have outshot the Wings 155 to 110.
With the teams so evenly matched it is no surprise that they are tied in the standings and in the head-to-head the remaining games against each other are magnified in importance. At 3.11 goals per game the Tauros offense does rank 12th overall compared to Aberdeen’s 2.84 which ranks 17th. In an attempt to bolster that offense the Wings traded Ronan Walsh to Corpus Christi for Michael Casey who had 22 points at the time of the trade and has tacked on two assists in five contests since. Nikolai Tishkevich leads the Wings with 28 points on the season.
For the Tauros Hunter Longhi continues to pace the team with 46 points on the season including points in his last 16 games, two games short of the NAHL record. Chase LaPinta continues to rocket up the NAHL point rankings as well his 35 points now rank 20th overall in the league and are second among rookies; his 22 goals are fourth overall in the league and tops among first year skaters.
Longhi (2g 3a) and Nick O’Hanisain (1g 4a) lead all scorers in the series with five points each while Patrick O’Connell leads the Wings against the Tauros with four points on two goals and two assists.
In goal the Tauros trio of Lawton Zacher, Noah Rupprecht, and Erik Chaffe have a combined .906 SV% and 2.80 GAA while Aberdeen’s Cole Moore and Geno Pichora have posted a .902 SV% and 3.09 GAA. Defensively the Tauros have been better at protecting their net allowing 30.05 shots against per game compared to the Wings 32.08 earning the 13th and 18th ranks in the NAHL respectively.
As always fans will be able to tune into the games on the Minotauros Network. The game can be watched on HockeyTV or fans can listen to free audio broadcasts on the Tauros Facebook page, Mixlr, gotauros.com, or in the Tauros Hockey App. The Farmers Union Pregame show will start at 7:00 p.m., 15 minutes before puck drop.