By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
It took 117:49 worth of hockey but the Tauros finally solved Robert Nichols; and once they had the answer they kept on using it. Nichols, the Wenatchee Wild goaltender who shut the Tauros out on September 21st ruining the Tauros home opener looked as if he was headed to another shut out of the Tauros on Friday night, before Ryan Doner broke through with 2:11 to play. While the Tauros dropped Friday’s game 3-1, they broke out in a big way on Saturday to win 6-3.
Friday night’s game saw the road weary Tauros start the game strong, playing the Wild to a 0-0 draw after 20 minutes. Then midway through the game the long travel, which included unexpected delays leading to the Tauros arriving in Wenatchee almost 12 hours later than planned, caught up with them. Chris Jones and Max McHugh scored to give the Wild a 2-0 lead by the end of the second. Minot started the third on the powerplay, but a Jacob Barber shorthanded goal just 0:45 in put the game out of reach. Then with Nichols still working on a shutout, Doner finally broke through at 17:49 to push the final to 3-1.
On Saturday the Tauros got off to a hot start. While on the powerplay Jadin Martin kicked a loose puck from behind the net to Denis Dalidovich in the slot just 2:18 into the game and he gave Minot a 1-0 lead. Jake O’Borsky, who was acquired via trade from the Wild, then scored shorthanded as he picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and lead a two on none rush. O’Borsky faked a forehand shot and pulled to the backhand flipping the puck past Nichols to make it 2-0. Evan Schmidbauer then answered on the powerplay just 1:23 later.
A pair of goals in the second period saw the Wild take a 3-2 lead the the second of which came at 16:21 off of the stick of Jono Davis, the NAHL’s leading scorer. Wes Iverson the scored his first of the season just 1:21 after Davis gave the Wild the lead to tie the game at three a side after the second. O’Borsky set up the goal with a nice pass from the right wing boards that found Iverson crashing to the net.
The third period belonged to the Tauros. Martin picked up his second powerplay assist of the game this time setting up Travis Maxwell to give the Tauros a 4-3 lead just 2:42 into the third. For Maxwell it was his second goal in the last four games. Maxwell has four points in six games since joining the Tauros from Corpus Christi. After picking up a pair of helpers on the night Martin then scored a goal of his own pushing the lead to 5-3 with only 2:58 remaining. Jake McCann fed Martin the puck with the Tauros on a 2-on-1 rush. Steven Sherman, another former Wild iced the game away for the Tauros as he hit the empty net with 1:04 remaining.
Three Stars of the Weekend:
1st Star: Tyler Parks: 1-1-0 83 saves on 89 shots
2nd Star: Jadin Martin: 1g 2a even
3rd Star: Jake O’Borsky: 1g 1a -2
Next Up: The Tauros stay on the west coast, and will be rejoined by their high school aged players to take on the Fresno Monsters next Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 9:35 p.m. central time.