Tauros split opening series with Bulls
Hockey season has officially returned to the Magic City, as the Minot Minotauros had their first two regular season home games over the weekend, playing host to the North Iowa Bulls.
The teams got together for a quick, two-game series, however, the excitement of having hockey back is something that will stick around as fans filled Maysa Arena to see their home team back in action.
On Friday night, the Tauros and Bulls got game one of the series underway, which saw the Tauros grab their first win of the season, beating the Bulls 3-2.
Two first period goals gave the Tauros a fast start and one where they wouldn’t have to look back as the team never trailed throughout the game.
Max Martin got the scoring started, assisted by Trevor Stachowiak and Braden Fischer to give the team a 1-0 lead early on. Fischer got involved early, and his work would not be done as he was a difference maker in game one.
Following the early lead, the Tauros would continue to pile it on in the first period. This time, they would do so by taking advantage of a Bulls penalty. Cooper Rice would net his first goal of the season, assisted by Jan-Kasper Bergman and Stachowiak, extending their lead to 2-0.
However, the Bulls wouldn’t go down quietly, as they utilized a strong push in the second period to tie the game. The scoring came courtesy of Simone Dadie and Justin Mexico, as the game became up for grabs again.
Moving into the final period, the Tauros would regain the lead, only this time, it would be enough as starting goaltender Lawton Zacher would hold the Bulls scoreless the rest of the way. The final goal and eventual game winner, came off the stick of Fischer, assisted by Stachowiak and Martin.
The Tauros ended Friday night leading the way in shots (31 to 21), with 19 saves made by Zacher, and both teams went 1-for-3 on powerplay opportunities.
On Saturday night, the game would have a slightly different story, as the Tauros were never able to gain a lead, losing 2-1 resulting in an opening series split with the Bulls.
Changing the pace from the first game, both teams would go scoreless in the opening period. However, the Bulls broke the scoreless tie in period two on a powerplay goal by Byron Hartley to make it a 1-0 game.
Opening up the scoring in period three was Hartley once again, who gave the Bulls a 2-0 lead. Cooper Rice of the Tauros would get his team on the board ten minutes later, with assists by Fischer and Colby Joseph. This would bring the game to its final, with the Bulls grabbing a 2-1 win.
Dane Couture got the start in net for the Tauros on Saturday, making 21 saves on 23 shots. The Tauros won the shot battle, out shooting the Bulls 33 to 23.
The difference in the game, however, was that the Bulls went 1-for-4 on powerplay opportunities while the Tauros came up empty on five chances.
Following the opening weekend of action, the Tauros will hit the ice again on Friday, Sept. 30 when they host the Bismarck Bobcats. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.