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Tauros split series with Bruins

Win 4-1 at Maysa Friday; lose 5-4 Saturday

Robert Brewer/MDN Minot defenseman Cole Mickel controls the puck during an offensive possession in the Tauros 4-1 win over Austin on Friday night at the Maysa Arena.

It was a mixed bag of results for the Minot Minotauros during their most recent two-game home series against the Central Division leading Austin Bruins. On Friday, the Tauros took care of business with a 4-1 victory, but followed it up with a 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Bruins on Saturday.

In Friday’s game, it was forward Connor McGrath who set the tone early for the Tauros offense. He scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season in the later stages of the first period as Minot took a 2-0 lead into the second.

The two clubs traded goals in the second as things got very heated between the two teams. A total of 14 penalties were called in the period including an aggressor foul on McGrath and Jack Malinski of Austin. After Tauros defenseman Ben Johnson’s shorthanded goal at the 7:16 mark, Minot maintained a 3-1 lead heading into the third.

The final score of the contest came courtesy of Minot forward Braydon Beahm who notched his sixth goal of the season on a power play opportunity in the third. He was assisted on the play at the 12:13 mark by Dean Schwenninger and Blake Arneson. Defensively, Minot’s Carter Clafton showcased his netmining skills in the win with 21 saves against 22 shots on goal.

In Saturday’s contest, things got off to a slow start for the Tauros offensively as they found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the third. Then just 20 seconds into the final period, Schwenninger notched his seventh goal of the year off of assists by Joe Westlund and Beahm to finally get Minot on the scoreboard. Then at the 9:55 mark, Minot’s Huston Karpman’s unassisted goal tied up the game at 2-2.

After a goal from Austin at the 13:55 mark, Minot netted consecutive scores to briefly take the lead. Schwenninger notched his second of the night, followed by Braden Panzer’s third goal of the year. With just under four minutes remaining, Minot held its first lead of the contest at 4-3. As it turned out, the Tauros defense would surrender a pair of goals down the stretch, including the game-clinching score with only 43 seconds to go.

After 30 games, Minot’s record now sits at 17-12-1-0 and they are currently tied with division-leading Austin with 35 points in the standings. Next up on the schedule, the Tauros will begin a two-game series with the Bismarck Bobcats at home Thursday, Dec. 30 at 7:05 p.m.

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