It's no secret that February has not been kind to the Minot Minotauros.
The Tauros entered Wednesday's game against Brookings (S.D.) riding a five-game losing streak. Minot's bad fortunes extended beyond the ice rink as the Tauros didn't arrive home until Monday after battling through - ironically enough - a blizzard.
The Tauros (22-20-4) enacted some revenge when the Blizzard came to Minot with a 3-2 overtime victory at Maysa Arena. It was the Tauros' first win of February and snaps a three-game losing skid to Brookings.
Tauros forward Lucas Oliver, right, collides with Brookings’ Craig Lindegard during Wednesday’s game at Maysa Arena.
"At this time a year, every game is scratch tooth and nail," Tauros coach Marty Murray said. "We'll take it and put it in the bank. This time of year they're all playoff games and they're all close games."
Minot forward Tim Donohue scored the game-winning goal one minute, 49 seconds into overtime to give the Tauros their first victory since Jan. 19. Donohue was in the right place at the right time as the puck came to him in the slot off a long rebound. The 5-foot-11 captain blasted a shot that beat Brookings goaltender Drew Weigman and sent the home crowd into an uproar.
"We've been battling," Donohue said. "We haven't been playing to our fullest potential. We have a couple guys out. We're finding it slowly and getting ready for playoff time."
Brookings (26-15-4) took the early lead at 4:04 of the first period on the power play when Jared Docken's shot from the blue line through traffic beat Minot goaltender Tyler Parks blocker side. Docken's second goal of the season came after Minot forward Jake O'Borsky was assessed a high-sticking penalty.
O'Borsky would atone for his error at 6:23 of the second period when he scored a power-play goal of his own to tie the game. O'Borsky beat Weigman glove side with a back-hander from in front of the net.
"Tonight was just a hard-working game," O'Borsky said. "It was a playoff atmosphere like the last four or five games have been. The rest of the season, every game is going to be like that."
The teams traded goals in the first half of the third period with the Blizzard striking first at 3:03. Nick DeCenzo gave Brookings its second lead of the game before Minot forward Donohue scored his first goal of the game, knoting the contest at two with 10:34 remaining in regulation.
"(Donohue) played like a captain," Murray said. "He showed some great leadership. His work ethic and determination with the puck was a big factor in our win tonight."
Power plays were plentiful for both teams as they combined for 66 penalty minutes. Minot's Denis Dalidovich was ejected in the second period for cross-checking a Blizzard player head first into the boards. Both teams finished 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
A tightly-officiated game took its toll on the players' emotions. O'Borsky and Brookings' Aidan Cavallini were given 10-misconduct penalties after arguing with the officials about their respective minors.
The Tauros travel to Austin (Minn.) on Friday.