Minot, ND – The Minotauros meet their biggest rival for the first time this season this weekend in a home-and-home series with the Bismarck Bobcats that kicks off Friday night in Minot. The Bobcats dominated the rivalry in the early years including beating the Tauros in all 12 meetings in the Tauros first year in the league. The Tauros eventually caught up and even took their turn dominating recent years to the point that they are now 58-58-14 all time against Bismarck.
Despite that recent success and a 7-5-0 record against the Cats last season it is Bismarck, not the Tauros, who has the bragging rights for last season. Needing to win just once in the final two games of the year the Tauros saw the Bobcats sweep the final set and take the final playoff spot.
This season, the 12th of the rivalry, the Tauros look to avenge last season’s bitter end. Just as it was heading into the final weekend last season the Tauros sit a point ahead of the Bobcats and in fourth place. The Tauros followed a 2-2-0 NAHL Showcase with a weekend split with the North Iowa Bulls last weekend. Meanwhile the Bobcats went 0-3-1 at the Showcase but picked up a weekend sweep of the last place Aberdeen Wings last weekend in Aberdeen.
Both teams feature top 10 offenses early in the season with the Tauros ranking fifth at 3.50 goals/game and Bismarck eighth at an even 3.00. The difference thus far has been in defense. In the first game of the season the Tauros allowed seven goals, however in the five games since the Tauros have allowed just 10 goals total. The Bobcats meanwhile are allowing 3.67 goals/game including four on Saturday night against Aberdeen.
Of the top 11 scorers in the head-to-head matchup last season only Tauros remain; Colby Joseph, Trevor Stachowiak, and David Nesburg, who each had eight points against the Bobcats last season. For the Bobcats Nico Chmelevski leads returners with six points against the Tauros on two goals and four assists.
The series starts in Minot on Friday before moving south to Bismarck on Saturday night. Friday also is the kickoff of the annual Circle Sanitation “Fill the Bin” coat drive. Fans who are attending games between Friday and October 22 are encouraged to bring a new or gently used winter clothing item to donate to those in need in the Minot area. Ticket for Friday’s game against Bismarck can be purchased here, or through the “Ticket” tab atop this page.