Mason City, IA – The Minotauros went on the road and swept the first place North Iowa Bulls with an impressive effort to move into second place in the central. The weekend was especially good for the Tauros goaltenders who each earned a milestone; Lawton Zacher picked up his first junior shutout on Friday night and Dane Couture picked up his first Tauros win on Saturday.
On Friday night Joe Westlund opened the scoring midway into the first period on a give and go play with Tory Lund. Hunter Longhi doubled the lead just over two minutes later when Chase LaPinta set him up with a long pass to spring Longhi on a breakaway. Longhi was not done however as he would add two more in the second period, both off of designed faceoff plays. The first saw Justin Dauphinais win the draw back to Longhi for a one-timer, the second saw Longhi shoot the faceoff directly into the net before the dropped puck ever hit the ice. From there Zacher took over stopping the rest of the shots he saw for a 26 save shutout.
Saturday night Nick O’Hanisain opened the scoring just 3:37 into the game after Longhi set him up at the top of the right circle. Late in the period Blake Johnson would score North Iowa’s first goal of the weekend on a one timer on a feed from behind the net from Willy Johnson. O’Hanisain got his second of the night and NAHL defenseman leading fifth goal of the season on the power play from almost the same spot as his first 11:50 into the third to make it 2-1 Tauros. LaPinta then doubled the lead with an early candidate for goal of the year when he pulled off a “Michigan” with 3:49 to play. LaPinta had tried the maneuver Friday night as well but hit the crossbar. “I saw an opportunity and took it” said LaPinita “can’t miss it twice in one weekend” he added. While it appeared at that point that the Tauros had the game in hand the Bulls pushed back in the final minute. First, with goalie Erik Chaffe on the bench Max Scott scored on a net mouth scramble at 19:01 of the third. Tory Lund restored the two goal lead hitting the empty net from center ice with 20 seconds remaining and again it looked like the lead was safe. Then with just five seconds remaining Paavo Hiltunen scored when his shot deflected into the net to pull the Bulls within 4-3 and a chance at a quick play. The Tauros broke up the final rush for the Bulls and held on to win and sweep the weekend.
Next up for the Tauros the Aberdeen Wings come to Minot Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday night is the Minotauros Booster Club’s Annual Trunk-or-Treat tailgate party. Tickets for both games are available here or by clicking the “Tickets” tab atop this page.