Minotauros win shootout thriller 6-5 over Austin
“Huston Karpman stepped up, and he was the voice.”
Minot Minotauros head coach Cody Campbell took a backseat for his forward in the late stages of Minot’s eventual 6-5 shootout victory over the Austin Bruins Friday night, and Karpman rallied the troops.
Moments before, the Bruins’ Gavin Morrissey had scored a back-breaking fifth goal with 3:59 remaining in regulation to put the Minotauros in a 5-3 ditch. Minot had already clawed its way back from a first-period two-goal deficit and a list of penalties assessed to both teams longer than a CVS Pharmacy receipt. The energy that had been building from a near-sold out Maysa Arena crowd left the building faster than water freezes in the bitter North Dakotan winter.
The Minotauros gathered around their bench and Karpman spoke to his team.
“I just said that this is a good opportunity for our group to take another step in the right direction,” he recalled. “And if we lay it all on the line and play with our hearts the last 10 minutes, we’re going to have a good result.”
The club responded to his call to action. With 2:04 remaining on the clock, Nikolai Charchenko scored the first goal of his now 108-game Minotauros career to pull Minot back to within one. Less than a minute later Zack Simon’s one-time shot in the far circle tied the game at five.
“It was an unbelievable show of resiliency by our guys, and the will to never pack it in,” Campbell said. “We were down two goals three times in the hockey game, and to end up with two points is absolutely unbelievable.”
Minot goaltender Zach Sandy pitched a perfect five-minute overtime period and stopped the first of two Austin shootout tries. Dean Schwenninger scored on his try on Bruins netminder Nikola Goich’s right. Sandy stuffed Alex Trombley. And then Karpman came through yet again, roofing his try over Goich’s right shoulder to lift Minot to an improbable 6-5 victory.
“He’s a right-catch goalie, so that kind of threw me off a little bit,” Karpman said. “I had a breakaway on him earlier where I usually like to go five-hole. I saw that he was a different hand and it got to me a little bit. Just watching the other guys go before me, I knew that if I came in slow and backed him down, something might open up. I’m glad it did.”
The victory completed a wild multi-comeback affair that saw six 10-minute game misconducts and 26 combined penalties between the two teams in a fiery match from the very first minute.
The contest was not even a minute old before the first penalties were assessed on the Bruins’ Jack Malinski and Damon Furuseth 29 seconds in. The latter checked Simon into the near wall and the former earned the first misconduct for his actions in the moments after.
The Bruins killed the penalty and scored the game’s first goal less than four minutes later to add insult to the Minotauros’ injury.
Austin’s John Larkin was slapped his team’s second checking-from-behind infraction near the midway point of the first frame, but the Bruins once again killed the penalty and scored minutes later, putting Minot in a 2-0 ditch with 6:10 remining in a fiery opening period.
Isaac Keller finally gave Minotauros fans something to rally behind with Minot’s first goal of the night with just under five minutes to play in the first period. Brayden Panzer absorbed a rough hit near the Austin bench to provide Keller with a good feed entering the offensive zone.
The Minot forward brought the puck to the bottom of the far circle and let his quick wrist shot fly, beating Goich on the right side to halve the Austin lead with 4:55 to play in the first frame.
The ugliest moment of the contest occurred just moments later. Austin’s Evan Burkle bulldozed Minot captain Cole Mickel along the near wall and then ran through Jaksen Panzer seconds later on the far side.
Pandemonium ensued. Nikolai Charchenko immediately dropped the gloves and squared up with Burkle and Huston Karpman got into it with two more Austin Skaters. Mickel, who Campbell confirmed was alright after the game, was helped off the ice and three more 10-minute misconducts were doled out to Karpman, Burkle and the Bruins’ Liam Whitehouse.
With emotions at an all-time high, the Minotauros tied the game with under a minute to play. Braden Panzer was called for slashing in the final two minutes of the frame to put Minot on the penalty kill, but it did not faze the Minotauros.
Trevor Stachowiak brought the puck into the offensive zone and passed it to Simon who was skating right down the slot. Alone with the puck in front of Goich, Simon chipped it over the netminder’s right shoulder to even the contest with 57.6 seconds on the clock.
The Bruins struck for two more goals in the second frame, and Minot earned its third 4:45 into the third period on Karpman’s ninth goal of the season, minutes before the Morrissey score.
“(The win) just says ‘watch out if the ‘Tauros get hot,” Sandy said. “We have a lot of competitors in the locker room, and it shows that no matter what the score is, we’ll always keep going and grind.”