Tauros drop Friday morning tilt 3-1 to Ice Wolves

The Minot Minotauros continued their season-opening 2021 NAHL Showcase slate with their third game in as many days Friday morning, falling to the New Mexico Ice Wolves 3-1 at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.

Head coach Cody Campbell, after giving looks to Carter Clafton in the first game of the season against Lone Star Sept. 15 and Thomas Kiesewetter Thursday afternoon against the Corpus Christi IceRays, gave the third netminder on his roster, Zach Sandy, the nod for his team’s third contest in Minnesota.

Like Kiesewetter the day before him, Sandy’s Friday appearance in goal was the first of his NAHL career. He stood tall against the Ice Wolves (3-0-0-0) throughout the first period, turning aside all seven New Mexico shots.

The Minotauros (1-2-0-0) would break the ice first for the second consecutive day to give Sandy a bit of offensive support early in the contest. Minot forward Dean Schwenninger won the faceoff in the near circle of the Minotauros’ offensive zone and the puck trickled out to his right.

His teammate, Jaksen Panzer, gained control of the puck for a moment before he was fought off by New Mexico defenseman Joe Prouty. The puck leaked back to Schwenninger, who skated a couple of steps toward the slot before firing a quick shot on goal.

The initial attempt was stopped by Ice Wolves goaltender Ben Behrens, but Logan Anderson was waiting just above the blue paint for a potential rebound chance and did not waste it, flicking it between the legs of Behrens and in for Minot’s first goal of the game, and sixth of the season overall.

Schwenninger was credited with an assist on the play, giving the Zürich, Switzerland native his third helper of the season and four total points to lead the team in both categories.

The goal marked Anderson’s first point of the new campaign after notching seven scores and 11 assists in 35 games with the Minotauros throughout the 2020-21 season, as well as a goal and an assist in Minot’s five postseason games against Aberdeen.

The Minotauros brought their 1-0 lead into the first intermission, despite being outshot 7-6 in the period, only the second frame of the young season after which Minot did not hold the advantage in the shot column.

Behrens, as well as his defense in front of him, clamped down on the Minotauros throughout the remainder of the contest. Minot could muster only five shots in the second period and just four in the third while being held to its lone score in the first period.

The Ice Wolves struck for a pair of goals in the first five minutes of the middle frame against Sandy, and an empty-net score with 53 ticks on the clock sealed Minot’s 3-1 defeat.

Despite facing the most shots of the trio of Minot netminders to begin the season, the 18-year-old Sandy showed poise in the face of adversity, stopping 23 of the 25 New Mexico tries that came his way, including all eight shots he faced in the third period. The Minotauros’ penalty kill also went a perfect 3-for-3 on the day as well.

Minot will wrap up the showcase with its fourth game in four days Saturday afternoon against the 2-1-0-1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.


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