By Andrew Lennox Minot, ND – This snowy weekend, the Minot Minotauros played host to the North Iowa Bulls at the Pepsi Rink in Maysa Arena, hoping to secure some vital points in the Central Division playoff race.
Friday night, the Tauros took the lead first with defenseman Adam Mahler’s goal. Mahler received a pass from Colby Joseph and fired a shot from the top of the circles, beating North Iowa’s goaltender Mitch Day at 8:52 of the first period. The Bulls Max Scott would tie the game at 1-1, capitalizing on their first power play opportunity with 7:16 remaining in the first period. Jack Mesic and Nolan Abraham earned assists on Scott’s goal. North Iowa scored another goal on special teams, but this time, they were shorthanded. Forward Logan Dombrowsky broke free for a breakaway and scored a gorgeous backhand goal, beating Minot’s goaltender Noah Rupprecht.
There was only one more goal scored in the game, which came in the second period at 9:44. Justin Mexico scored for North Iowa, firing a top-corner shot past Rupprecht to give his team a 3-1 lead. Dombrowsky and Scott earned assists on the goal.
Although Minot managed to score in the first period and fired a total of 47 shots on North Iowa’s goaltender Day, only one of them resulted in a goal. As a result, North Iowa claimed a 3-1 victory.
Once again, on Saturday night, special teams would play a crucial role in determining the game’s final outcome. However, Minot opened the scoring on Saturday with an even-strength goal, as Hunter Longhi sent a beautiful cross-neutral zone pass to Chase LaPinta, who broke in for a breakaway and scored. The marker was LaPinta’s 27th of the season.
Minot kept up the pressure in the second period and extended their lead to 2-0 on the power play. Braden Fischer scored his sixth goal of the season by burying a rebound from a Nick O’Hanisain point shot at 2:58. North Iowa’s Dombrowsky, just five minutes later, capitalized on a turnover by the Tauros right in front of Lawton Zacher’s crease, cutting Minot’s lead in half and making the score 2-1.
The Tauros kept the pressure on North Iowa in the second period, with goals from Bryce Howard and Weston Knox extending their lead to a commanding 4-1. Despite this, North Iowa continued to chip away, with Scott scoring his second goal of the weekend series and reducing the Tauros’ lead to 4-2 with just 1:26 left in the period.
In the final period, Minot’s performance faltered as they gave up two consecutive power-play goals to Mesic and Simone Dadie, allowing North Iowa to tie the game at 4-4. Later in the third, North Iowa took the lead for the first time with just 7:58 left in regulation. A defensive breakdown by Minot in their own zone led to another goal by Dadie, putting North Iowa ahead 5-4.
Despite Tauro’s head coach Cody Campbell’s decision to pull goalie Lawton Zacher with just 95 seconds left in the game, Minot could not even the score, ultimately losing 5-4 and getting swept at home by North Iowa.
After being swept, Minot finds themselves with 50 points and is five points out of a playoff spot in the Central Division.
Next up for the Tauros is another home weekend, this time against the St. Cloud Norsemen. 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.