By: Jeremy Pike, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros split the weekend series with the North Iowa Bulls after they dropped Saturday night’s game 2-1 despite outshooting North Iowa in the game 33-23. The Minotauros keep their .500 record, ending the weekend 3-3-0 on the season and falling to fourth in the Central Division.
Cooper Rice gave the home crowd hope when he scored with 57 seconds left in the game, his second of the season. Braden Fischer got his second assist of the season in his second game in a Minot uniform. However, despite sustained pressure in the dying seconds, the tying goal never came.
Byron Hartley scored both of the Bulls’ goals, including the insurance goal halfway through the third period however unintentionally. He attempted to slip the puck into the slot for an onrushing teammate, but the Minot defender trying to stop the pass got his stick on it, sending it up into the air and off Minotauros goaltender Dane Couture’s back and into the goal.
Despite the bad puck luck, Couture had a good night in goal, finishing the night with 21 saves on 23 shots. However, his North Iowa counterpart, Erik Chaffee, continued his stellar start to the season despite allowing a goal for the first time this season with 32 saves on 33 shots..
Going into the game, the Minotauros had scored the first goal of the game five straight times to start the season, but Hartley scored with 4:59 left in the second period. Simone Dadie got the assist on a nice play to flip the puck out from behind the Minotauros net to Hartley as a North Iowa power play expired.
The Bulls outscored Minot 3-0 in the second period on the weekend despite being outshot 23-15 in the second period combined.
On Friday night, Fischer scored less than two minutes into the third and the Minotauros held on to defeat North Iowa 3-2. In Fischer’s first game since joining the Minotauros, he was named the game’s first star for his game-winning goal and the assist on the opening goal.
Max Martin opened the scoring from Fischer only 1:21 into the game for his second goal of the young season. Minot doubled the score with 8:31 left in the first as Rice scored his first goal of the season on the power play. Trevor Stachowiak provided the assist, his second of the season.
The Bulls got one goal back through Dadie only four minutes into the second period on the power play with an assist by Luke Baker. North Iowa tied the game when Justin Mexico scored with only 37 seconds left in the period with Hartley and Isaac Deveau chipping in the helpers.
It took Fischer only 1:24 into the third to restore the Minotauros’ lead, and they never surrendered the lead. Stachowiak and Martin both provided assists, ensuring a two-point night for all three players.
Goalie Lawton Zacher came up big in net for Minot, stopping all seven shots he faced in the third period en route to a 19-save night. The penalty kill unit was also big, keeping the Bulls from scoring on either of their power play opportunities in the third after surrendering the goal early in the second period.
Next up for the Tauros is a weekend with the rival Bismarck Bobcats. 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.