Tauros win fourth straight, top Bismarck 5-1
Sandy stops 30 shots to collect fifth November win
Minot Minotauros netminder Zach Sandy arrived at the Maysa Arena Wednesday evening for his team’s mid-week tilt against the Bismarck Bobcats and did the same thing he has done before puck drop for each game during at least the last three years.
He slipped on his lucky black leggings that fit comfortably underneath his shorts and threw on the same red shirt that would rest below his bulky chest and shoulder protector and sweater.
“I’m really superstitious and I’m very (ritualistic), so part of being a great player is you got to have habits of success,” Sandy said after stopping 30 of 31 Bobcat shots in a 5-1 Minot victory.
Superstition is often woven into the very fabric of sport for players and fans alike, and Sandy is no different. He wears those same two articles of clothing for every game, washed between uses, of course, works through the same mental progression to get focused, and performs the same stretches at the same time each night prior to puck drop.
“I know a lot of pro athletes, I read up on a lot of those things and they just prepare themselves every single night,” he added. “Consistency is one big thing that I like to take pride in. I feel like I’m pretty consistent every single night.”
His routine is paying dividends for his team on the ice. Sandy has earned the start in goal in each of the Minotauros’ first seven contests in November and has produced a 5-2-0-0 record this month including Minot’s Wednesday win, accompanied by a .944 save percentage.
An impressive month authored by the team in front of him is not to be overlooked either, as the Minotauros on Wednesday produced at least five goals for the third time in their last four games.
Despite somewhat of a slow start that saw Bismarck outshoot Minot 15-11 in the first 20 minutes, the Minotauros took advantage of the opportunities they did receive in their offensive zone.
Owen Hanson tipped a Cole Mickel shot past Bobcats netminder Erik Forss 4:15 into the contest to record the first goal of his young NAHL career, and Zack Simon flicked a wrist shot into an open net behind Forss after receiving a pass right on target from David Nesburg 16:21 into the first period.
“There were some things and keys that we wanted to focus on against Bismarck and we did a good job of executing that, capitalizing on the chances that we created off of that stuff,” head coach Cody Campbell said. “Just a really good job of our guys being prepared.”
Minot would gain a bit more traction following the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Bismarck 12-7 and 10-9 in the final two periods to end with a slim 33-31 advantage in the shot column.
Mickel and Colby Joseph would each tally a score of their own in the second frame, marking the fourth and seventh goals of their respective seasons, and Tom Fridén found the back of the net with just over two minutes to play in the third period to get one right back following Bismarck’s lone score of the evening.
11 Minotauros found the point sheet at least once in the team’s fourth consecutive win and fifth overall in November, led by Mickel’s first three-point night this year and Trevor Stachowiak’s two-assist evening.
The Minotauros will look to continue their recent stretch of dominance in the first of two on the road against the Aberdeen Wings Nov. 26, with puck drop scheduled for 7:15 p.m. from the Odde Ice Center.