For Tauros, it’s win or go home

Last weekend’s Robertson Cup playoff performance left the Minot Minotauros licking their wounds as they prepare for a must-win contest against Aberdeen at 7:05 p.m. Friday on the road.

The Wings came into Maysa Arena and dictated the pace in both contests, limiting the Tauros to one goal in each game en route to winning 3-1 Friday and 3-1 Saturday.

Minot now trails the best-of-five series 2-0, meaning it must now win two straight road games then emerge victorious in a potential series deciding Game 5 at Maysa Arena.

“We’re going to have to play the best nine periods of the season, no question about it,” Minotauros coach Marty Murray said after his team’s loss Saturday. “We’re going to have to be prepared to do it otherwise it’s going to be a disappointing end to the season again. It sure is deflating, no question about it. We have to make sure we come to practice on Monday with the right mindset and get back to work.”

Murray didn’t mince words in acknowledging his disappointment in how his team played in the previous two contests.

“It was men against boys. It’s disappointing,” Murray said. “We’re getting outworked big time. They rarely have anyone not moving their feet and we rarely have more than one guy moving his feet. It’s disappointing, but there’s no hiding in the playoffs. You can’t bluff your way through it and unfortunately we have some bluffers right now. There’s nowhere to hide in these games and yet we’re trying to find places to hide.”

Entering the series as a No. 1 seed, the Tauros have clear reasons to be frustrated. After all, the Minotauros have led for just 2 minutes and 54 seconds in the series and have been outshot a combined 59-45.

The Tauros have also given up 34 penalty minutes to the No. 4 Wings, but haven’t allowed a power play goal.

Minot’s top skaters have also gone missing in both games. Miroslav Mucha has both of the Tauros’ goals in the series, but he plays on Minot’s fourth line and had two goals in the regular season. Everybody else has been shut out.

The Minotauros have never been swept out of the playoffs in franchise history and Minot hopes to keep that streak intact and start a comeback on Friday.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.