Minot wins barnburner 5-4 against St. Cloud

Ryan Ladika/MDN Logan Anderson contributed two assists during the Minotauros' Friday night game against St. Cloud.

Another quick offensive strike helped lift the Minot Minotauros over the St. Cloud Norsemen by a 5-4 final score Friday night to open the penultimate month of the regular season on a high note.

21-year-old forward Ethan Schmunk potted the game’s first tally, and his sixth of the season, just 31 seconds into the evening’s affairs with the help of a fortuitous bounce to help his team to its 19th win of the year.

The early tally, assisted by Logan Anderson, was also the Minotauros’ third first-minute goal since the beginning of March. Tyler Kostelecky found the back of Bismarck’s cage 50 seconds into Minot’s March 13 game, and Brett Roloson scored 36 seconds into the Minotauros’ eventual 4-3 overtime win against Austin March 26.

The Minotauros, now having completed their first April contest, faced the Norsemen for the third time since the beginning of an eventual 5-4 March and will play a total of four games against St. Cloud this month. The victory also pushed Minot above .500 to a 5-4 record in its nine total meetings with the Norsemen this season.

Keenan Rancier made his return to the crease Friday night as well after receiving a break from action in the Minotauros’ last two games against the Austin Bruins. His time off was well-deserved, as the netminder entered the game allowing fewer than three goals per game despite facing the most total shots of any goalie in the NAHL.

St. Cloud was unfazed by Minot’s swift score. After the teams traded a pair of minor penalties, both of which were killed off, Nick Young and Max Strand each recorded their first goal of the season to put St. Cloud ahead 2-1 by the end of the first 20 minutes of play. The also Norsemen outshot the Minotauros 16-9 in the initial period, and Minot entered the first intermission looking to muster a counterpunch in the second frame.

They got their chance just over two minutes into what turned into an explosive middle period, thanks to a slashing penalty called on St. Cloud’s Blake Perbix. On the man advantage, Schmunk beat Norsemen goaltender Paxton Geisel once more with help from Roloson and Blaine Warnert, and the game was tied once more at two goals apiece three minutes and 50 seconds into the period.

The Norsemen returned the favor, snatching the lead right back with a power play goal from Cooper Gay, but Minot dug deep and found the fight that was absent in the opening 20 minutes.

Roloson led the charge that would eventually give Minot a 4-3 advantage heading into the final period of play. He scored his first goal of the game with four minutes and five seconds left in the frame, and then followed it up with an encore in the final 32 seconds. The two goals were his fourth and fifth of the season, and marked his first multi-goal game of the campaign. Reid Bogenholm helped out on Roloson’s first score, and Schmunk added his third point of the night with an assist on the second along with Logan Anderson’s second helper.

After being outshot 16-9 in the first period, Minot played a much more balanced second. The Norsemen again bested the Minotauros in the shot column, but by a much more modest 13-10.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the final period, and the Norsemen tied the game six minutes and 20 seconds into the third frame.

Blaine Warnert ensured the game did not reach overtime, coming through in the clutch with his eighth goal of the season with just 27 seconds on the clock.

Now 19-17-4-1 on the season, Minot will return to the ice Saturday night to conclude the series against the Norsemen. Puck drop is again slated for 7 p.m.

Minot State women’s hockey

The Minot State women’s hockey team was also in action Friday night, kicking off a two-game home-and-home series against Dakota College at Bottineau on the road. The Beavers took the series opener in convincing fashion, shutting the Jacks out by a 5-0 final score.

Five different skaters scored Minot State’s five goals in the winning effort, with aid from two-goal first and third frames, and Jordan Ivanco was perfect in securing her second shutout of the season and first since her first start of the year against the Jacks Nov. 14.

The Beavers, now 15-3-1 on the season will be back in action Saturday afternoon to wrap up the series against Dakota College at Bottineau, with puck drop scheduled for 4 p.m.


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