It took eight tries, but the Minot Minotauros are no longer the NAHL's winless team.
An overcast Sunday wasn't going to damper the mood following a 2-1 shootout win over the Fresno Monsters (4-3-1) on Saturday at Maysa Arena.
"Feels good waking up on a Sunday with a smile on your face," Minot coach Marty Murray said.
Mason Morelli celebrates with Minot Minotauros teammate Carl Witty following a goal Friday against the Fresno Monsters at Maysa Arena.
Minot (1-6-1) played its most sound game of the season, holding a team to less than two goals for the first time.
"Pretty solid effort from everybody," Murray said. "I think we did a lot of the little things well. We weren't cheating on the offensive side of the puck and we held them under 30 shots, which is something we always strive for."
Ryan Ruck made 26 saves in his fifth appearance for the Tauros. The Monsters' second-period goal came off a deflection that hit Fresno's James Mathias in the chest.
"I think (Ruck) played really well," Minot forward Lucas Oliver said. "We can definitely count on him back there. Even the one goal he let in, it wasn't his fault at all."
Oliver also played a huge role in the win. The team leader in points (2 goals, 5 assists) scored the game winner in the fifth frame of the shootout and had an assist on Jake McCann's goal in the first period.
Oliver, an 18-year-old from Melita, Manitoba, didn't expect to be selected for one of the final spots in the shootout. His high shot hit the glove of Fresno goalie Tomas Sholl.
"I didn't really have much of a plan," Oliver said. "I usually look high glove like that. I got lucky a little bit, it trickled in and was good."
Ruck and Oliver emphasized smart play leading to the win and both pointed to defenseman Chance Creger for avoiding a fight in the second period.
"He got mauled physically and didn't retaliate," Ruck said.
Creger took punches from Fresno's Karl Anderson, who was ejected for fighting on top of a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Tauros are third in the league with 217 penalty minutes, but spent only 10 minutes in the box Saturday compared to 23 for the Monsters.
Ruck said the team also benefited from the additions of defensmen Carl Witty and David Dalbec, two former Fresno players that joined the Tauros through a trade early last week.
"They definitely helped us because they knew the team's breakouts and how they play and really gave us the upper hand against Fresno," Ruck said.
Minot squandered a three-goal lead on Friday, but Murray is encouraged by Saturday's turnaround.
"I know everybody looks at our record and chuckles about us around the league," Murray said. "We're not too far off. It's just a matter of them believing they can win and hopefully a win against a good team will pay dividends moving forward."
Said Ruck: "The team seemed really happy about it. It's a good feeling and the team wants to keep having this feeling all season, so I think we can build off of it."
The Tauros have the week off and will look for their second win on Oct. 12 when they begin Central Division play against Aberdeen (S.D.) at Maysa Arena.