Mini miracle for Minotauros in win over Bobcats

Alex Eisen/MDN Minotauros forward Fritz Belisle (left) celebrates after scoring the first goal Sunday afternoon against the Bismarck Bobcats at Maysa Arena in Minot.

Paying homage to the 1980 United States men’s hockey team with Olympic inspired jerseys, the Minot Minotauros rallied for its own parody rendition of the Miracle on Ice Sunday afternoon at Maysa Arena.

The Minotauros (20-19-6) scored two third-period goals to defeat the Bismarck Bobcats (22-20-5) by the same score as the monumental upset victory from 38 years ago, 4-3.

While Sunday’s victory didn’t put the Minotauros in a position to win a gold medal, it did get them another step closer to reaching the NAHL Playoffs.

Minot, currently sitting fifth in the Central Division, is now three points behind Bismarck for the fourth and final spot to reach the postseason. The Minotauros also have two games in hand on the Bobcats to make up that deficit, and 15 games left in the regular season.

After missing the playoffs in its inaugural 2011-12 season, the Minotauros have made the playoffs the last five seasons. More wins like the one on Sunday will keep that streak alive.

Fritz Belisle opened the scoring halfway through the first period, but the lead only lasted 51 seconds after a power play goal from Bismarck’s Niki Jasko.

Five minutes later in the first period, Miroslav Mucha restored Minot’s lead with his team-leading 25th goal of the season (tied for the second-most in the NAHL).

The Bobcats, however, scored two late goals in the second period — Simon Morberg (18:08) and Cooper Haar (19:15) on the power play — to put the Minotauros down 3-2 going into the third period.

Not wasting any time, Grant Loven scored 19 seconds into the final period and then assisted the game-winning goal by Taylor Lantz with 6:31 remaining.

Minot outshot Bismarck 36-21 with goaltender Jack Robbel making 18 saves in the win.

The player-worn Olympic jerseys were actioned off after the game.

The Minotauros are back in action this weekend with road games against the Austin Bruins on Friday and Saturday.

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