Despite a dismal first year with the Minot Minotauros, Tim Donohue is "very optimistic about winning games and a lot of them."
The newly appointed captain is eager to put a league-low, seven-win season behind him and welcome a fresh roster.
When Minot opens its second North American Hockey League season Wednesday with a four-day, four-game stint in Blaine, Minn., only eight of the 26 players will have worn the maroon, black and gold sweaters. Donohue is pleased with the small returning core and the additions.
Tim Chapman/MDN • Minot Minotauros captain Tim Donohue leads teammates in sprints on Thursday at Maysa Arena. In order behind Donohue are Jadin Martin and Mason Morelli — both formerly of Minot High hockey — Nick McCormick, Jake McCann and Lucas Oliver.
"We have a lot of veteran guys from last year and a lot of guys that played in this league," said Donohue, who played in 46 games last season.
Among the newcomers expected to make an immediate impact is forward Ryan Doner. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward is expected to play on the first line with Minot native Mason Morelli and another new acquisition in Darren McCormick.
Doner was injured much of last season, but played the final 16 games with the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters and notched three goals and seven assists in that span. McCormick had 25 points in 30 games with the Janesville (Wisc.) Jets and had a goal and an assist in the playoffs.
Sept. - 12, vs. Janesville in Blaine, Minn., 10:30 a.m.; 13, vs. Jamestown in Blaine, 1:15 p.m.; 14, vs. Kalamazoo in Blaine, 10:30 a.m.; 15, vs. Odessa in Blaine, 12:45 p.m.; 21-22 vs. Wenatchee, 7:35 p.m.; 28-29, vs. Fresno, 7:35 p.m.
Oct. - 12, vs. Aberdeen, 7:35 p.m.; 13, at Aberdeen, 7:15 p.m.; 19, vs. Aberdeen, 7:35 p.m.; 20, at Aberdeen, 7 p.m.; 26-27, at Wenatchee, 7:05 p.m.
Nov. - 2-3, at Fresno, 7:35 p.m.; 9, at Austin, 7:05 p.m.; 10, at Brookings, 7 p.m.; 17, vs. Bismarck, 8:05 p.m.; 22, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.; 23-24, vs. Coulee Region, 7:35/8:05 p.m.; 30, vs. Austin, 7:35 p.m.
Dec. - 1, vs. Austin, 8:05 p.m.; 7, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.; 8, at Aberdeen, 7:15 p.m.; 14-15, vs. Bismarck, 7:35 p.m.; 20, at Coulee Region, 7 p.m.; 21, at Brookings, 7 p.m.; 28-29, vs. Brookings, 7:35 p.m.; 31, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. - 3, at Aberdeen, 7:15 p.m.; 4-5, at Austin, 7:05 p.m.; 11-12, at Coulee Region, 8/7 p.m.; 18-19, vs. Aberdeen, 8:05/7:35 p.m.; 25-26, vs. Austin, 8:05 p.m.
Feb. - 1, vs. Bismarck, 8:05 p.m.; 2, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.; 8-9, at Brookings, 7 p.m.; 13, vs. Brookings, 7:05 p.m.; 15, at Austin, 7:05 p.m.; 16, at Coulee Region, 7:35 p.m.; 22-23, vs. Coulee Region, 7:35 p.m.
March - 1, vs. Bismarck, 7:35 p.m.; 8, at Aberdeen, 7:15 p.m.; 9, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.; 15-16, vs. Austin, 7:35 p.m.; 22, at Brookings, 7 p.m.; 23, vs. Brookings, 7:35; 29, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m.; 30, vs. Bismarck, 7:35 p.m.
"As far as goal scoring and stuff like that, I think we added a lot more than we lost this year," Minotauros coach Marty Murray said. "We're real excited about this Ryan Doner kid, a 20-year-old who played in our league last year and had some success. Real crafty, he understands the game real well and we're excited to see what he brings to the table."
The team returns Minot native Jadin Martin, who led all Tauros with 27 points in 55 appearances last season. Morelli played in 11 games following the Minot High School season, picking up three points and proving he isn't afraid to dole out hits.
"Mason's a guy, I think, there's a lot of expectations around, but at the same time we have to remember he's only 16 years old," Murray said. "But I think he's gonna be a real nice player here and down the road."
Murray listed two returning players - Matt Audette and Bryan McFarlane - as his top defensemen. Ben Myers (6-3, 200) and Ryan Ruck (6-1, 175) will compete for the starting goaltender spot after projected favorite and 2012 draft pick Tyler Parks (6-6, 220) was called up to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.
Minot plays three more preseason games, including a 7:35 start against Kindersley (Saskatchewan) tonight at Maysa Arena. The two teams will meet again at Maysa at 2:10 p.m. Sunday.
The regular season opener is at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday against Janesville in Blaine.
Donohue is relishing his role as captain and hopes his leadership will help translate to more wins beginning with one over the Jets.
"It's a big step in leadership and responsibility, but with a hockey team it's not just because you wear a 'C' on your jersey," Donohue said. "You're the one who's leading. It's your job to lead by example, first off, and the talking comes with it. If you play every night the way you should, you can say things to other kids and everyone will follow in."
|Meet the Minotauros|
|1||G||Ryan Ruck||6-1||175||Coto de Caza, Calif.|
|2||D||Joe Hockert||5-6||200||Circle Pines, Minn.|
|3||D||Matt Audette||5-9||200||Thief River Falls, Minn.|
|4||D||Justin Bonanno||5-10||200||Colbert, Wash.|
|5||F||Cameron Rowat||5-11||170||Souris, Manitoba|
|6||D||Jake Maxson||6-2||200||Burnsville, Minn.|
|7||D||Bryan McFarlane||6-2||180||Scottsdale, Ariz.|
|8||D||Connor Langfield||6-1||185||Rosemount, Minn.|
|9||F||Ryan Doner||5-11||190||Mukilteo, Wash.|
|11||F||Jake McCann||5-9||165||Shoreview, Minn.|
|12||F||Denis Dalidovich||6-2||200||Minsk, Belarus|
|14||F||Justin Holliday||6-0||176||Stow, Ohio|
|15||F||Joe Hall||5-11||180||Molland, Ohio|
|17||F||Darren McCormick||5-10||165||West Seneca, N.Y.|
|18||F||Tim Donohue||5-11||190||Prior Lake, Minn.|
|19||F||Cody Milligan||5-10||186||Las Vegas|
|20||F||Wesley Iverson||6-0||185||St. Louis Park, Minn.|
|21||F||Payton Trammel||6-1||210||Appelton, Wisc.|
|22||D||Nicholas McCormack||5-11||165||Ramsey, Minn.|
|24||F||Lucas Oliver||6-1||175||Melita, Manitoba|
|27||F||Beau Ricketts||6-1||200||North Las Vegas|
|28||D||Jake Clifford||6-1||180||Brecksville, Ohio|
|29||G||Ben Myers||6-3||200||Wauwatosa, Wisc.|