Jeremy Pike for minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros fell 3-0 to the Austin Bruins Friday night, bringing their 2022-23 season and postseason to an end. It was the first time the Tauros have been swept in a playoff series in team history.
Special teams were undoubtedly the story of the game. The Tauros had five full power play opportunities throughout the game and could not capitalize on any of them. They had two opportunities around the midway point of the third period and failed to register a single shot on either opportunity.
On the other side of the special teams equation, two early penalties in the second period proved to be the decisive moments. The Tauros worked hard to kill off the final 44 seconds of a penalty leftover from the first period, but they were back on the penalty kill only 1:23 into the period.
Then Austin Salani pounced on a loose puck just outside the crease and slapped it past goalie Noah Rupprecht only 13 seconds into the man advantage to put the Bruins up 1-0.
Less than 20 seconds later, the Tauros were shorthanded again. 55 seconds later, Salani was out in front of Rupprecht and redirected a point shot into the net.
The Tauros went from a tie game to down 2-0 in one minute and 25 seconds of game time. That allowed Austin to shift to a very defensive mindset, allowing the Tauros only 10 shots on goal over the final 40 minutes of the game.
Once the Tauros failed to register a single shot on either third-period power play, they pulled Rupprecht for the extra attacker with over three minutes to play. With 1:38 left on the clock, Salani sealed the Tauros’ season with an empty net goal that gave him a hat trick. That was the second hat trick ever surrendered by the Tauros in the playoffs.
Rupprecht finished the night with 19 saves on 21 shots while Austin’s goalie, Trent Wiemken, stopped all 20 shots he faced.
Stay tuned to gotauros.com through the summer for news about the 2023-2024 season.