Minot, ND – For the Minotauros the playoffs start this weekend. Five points behind both Aberdeen and North Iowa with ten games to play the Tauros need to start making up ground tonight. The good news is that despite being on the outside looking in the Tauros get a crack at all three teams (St. Cloud, North Iowa, and Aberdeen) they are within striking distance of over the next three weekends. Even better news, they all play each other over the coming weeks as well which should limit the ability of all three teams to pull away from the Tauros in the standings.
Of course, none of that matters unless the Tauros take care of business themselves. While the path ahead is clear and perhaps a little easier than a quick look at the standings suggests; the first step, the Tauros winning games, is a non-negotiable part of that path.
That starts this weekend with the St. Cloud Norsemen coming to Minot where the Tauros are 3-1 against the Norsemen on the season. Chase LaPinta has been a force against the Norsemen this season posting nine goals and four assists despite having played in just eight of the 10 previous meetings. Both of defenseman Ben Johnson’s goals on the season have come against the Norsemen including the empty netter that capped off Lawton Zacher’s 39 save shutout on February 17th. Additionally, Adam Mahler has had goals in back to back weekend building on his strong second half. The 2004 birthyear defenseman has posted five goals, five assists, and a +9 rating since Christmas.
The Norsemen meanwhile come in off of a sweep of the Bismarck Bobcats. They are 5-3-2 over their past 10 contest but won seven of eight games before that stretch. The defending Central Division champs used that run to move to second in the Central with 57 points. Kade Peterson has led the way with 43 points on 21 goals and 22 assists. Blake Perbix has led the Norsemen against the Tauros with five goals and five assists; he also leads the entire NAHL with eight game-winning goals.
All weekend long the Tauros will be partnering with DASH and wearing special autism acceptance “reverse retro” jerseys based on the Tauros road jerseys from 2013-2015. The jerseys, specialty game pucks, autographed pucks, and autographed mini hockey sticks will be auctioned off on DASH with the proceeds going to Pathfinder Services of ND. Additionally, Friday, the first 500 fans 21 and over will receive a free Tauros pint glass from Souris River Brewing Company. Saturday night NorthStar Community Credit Union will be giving away cowbells! Tickets for all four remaining home games are available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page or at tickets.minotauroshockey.com.