Minotauros take 2-0 series lead over Bismarck Bobcats
Things got physical and personal.
In an all-out brawl that featured 17 total penalties, the Minot Minotauros knocked off the Bismarck Bobcats, 5-3, Saturday night at Maysa Arena in Game 2 of the first round series of the NAHL Robertson Cup playoffs.
“It’s playoff hockey, there are a lot of emotions and, in my mind, we took too many penalties,” Minotauros head coach Marty Murray said. “You got to play with emotion, but you can’t cross that line. We took too many penalties and we got to be a little smarter than that.”
Going after a 2-0 series lead, the Minotauros opened Game 2 with a two-goal lead.
David Raisanen, hanging out in front of the crease, used his bulky 6-foot-5 frame to clear space and score his third goal of the postseason.
A little over a minute after Raisanen ignited the Maysa Arena crowd, teammate Taylor Lantz turned it up another notch.
Lantz skated in from the neutral zone and danced around all four of Bismarck’s defenders in a flashy solo effort that resulted in a power play goal.
“You always want to start well at home and get up a couple,” Murray said.
Minot’s momentum took a hit when Bismarck’s Bartek Bison surprised Minotauros goaltender Nicholas Grabko with a short-handed wrist shot.
The puck slipped between Grabko’s pads and made the score 2-1 going into the first intermission — the same situation both teams found themselves in during Game 1 on Friday.
“That was a tough one to give up, the shorty,” Murray said. “We had a chance to go up 3-0 on the power play and let them back in the game.”
After Bismarck’s Adam Stacho even the score at 2-2 with eight minutes gone in the second period, controversy ensued.
The Minotauros managed to enter Bismarck’s defensive zone on a close play at the blue line. The officials didn’t blow the play dead for offsides and Didrik Henbrant crashed the net to give Minot a 3-2 lead.
Bismarck argued the non-call adamantly and were eventually handed a two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Andrew Kangas scored on the following power play by hammering away at the puck near the post to get through the pad of Bismarck goaltender John Roberts.
“I guess I don’t know,” Murray said about third goal and the offside shouts. “It was a scramble at the blue line and I know (Wilmer) Skoog brought it in and I didn’t see who has potentially offside. And I haven’t seen anything on video yet.”
A second goal by Stacho — coming on the power play in the third period — was matched by a backdoor finish from Kangas less than two minutes later.
Penalties, anger and frustration build up throughout the third period. The goals, however, stopped coming.
Minot ended the game fighting off a 6-on-3 Bismarck power play to wrap up a 5-3 victory.
“Our PK (penalty kill) did a pretty good job tonight,” Murray said. “Some big blocked shots and Fritz Belisle was eating pucks like it was his job. That’s the commitment you need this time of year in the playoffs.”
The first round best-of-five game series heads to Bismarck next week with Game 3 at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the VFW Sports Center.
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.