Cloquet, MN – The Minotauros continue their start to the season in Minnesota with a trip to Cloquet to take on the Minnesota Wilderness. The Tauros remain one of just three teams (Kenai River, Lone Star) in the NAHL without a regulation loss. The hot start keeps the Tauros in first place in the Central two points ahead of the Bismarck Bobcats.
The Tauros offense has presented a balanced attack with their 21 goals coming from 14 different players. Their 3.50 goals per game ranks sixth in the NAHL. Defensemen have led the way so far with Sam Skinner (1g 6a) and Owen Baumgartner (1g 5a) ranking first and second on the team with seven and six points respectively. Nik Armstrong-Kingkade (3g 3a), Ville Immonen (3g 1a), and Cole O’Connell (3g 1a) are all tied for the team lead with three goals. Skinner played some of his best games of the season last year against the Wilderness with seven of his 14 points last year coming in eight games against the Wilderness. Kevin Ness, who is riding a two game scoring streak, had two of his seven markers against the Wilderness last year.
In net Ben Garrity has been stellar so far this season, but struggled at times last year against the Wilderness posting a .888 SV% against them. Despite the low save percentage Garrity was still the best goalie in the season series last season with the best SV% by .012 and the best GAA by 0.80.
The Wilderness have struggled to find the back of the net ranked 20th in offense this season scoring just 2.50 goals per game and 26th in shots per game at just 22.83. Brady Hunter (3g 2a) sits atop the chart for the Wilderness followed by Tyler Watkins (3g 1a), Blake Holmes (1,3), and Ryan Nelson (1g 3a). Nate Horn (1g 2a) had five goals against the Tauros last season.
The Tauros will be without Head Coach and General Manager Marty Murray whom will be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Prior to turning pro, Murray posted 392 points in 264 games for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Murray also won two gold medals with Team Canada in the ’94 and ‘95 World Junior Championships. He put up 19 career points in the WJCs, 15 of which came in ’95 when he was named the tournament’s best player. His amateur career led him to being a fourth round draft pick of the Calgary Flames. From there, Murray posted 73 points in 261 NHL games for the Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, and L.A. Kings. He added 386 points in 420 AHL games and 215 points in 185 games in European leagues over a 14-year professional career. Over his career Murray was also an Austrian league champion, two-time AHL All-Star, and an AHL Calder Cup champion.
Murray and the Tauros will be back in Minot next week when the Tauros take on the Aberdeen Wings in their home opener on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets for both games are still available through the “Tickets” tab atop this page.