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Minotauros second in North American Hockey League

Kari Gibb/MDN Minot Minotauro Joel Lehtinen (24) shoots while Chad Muller (27) waits for a possible second shot against the St.Cloud Norsemen in NAHL action.

The St. Cloud Norsemen made the trip to Minot to take on the Minotauros and try to keep the home team from extending the nine-game winning streak. The Minot Minotauros had more than the winning streak in mind when they started the game on Saturday. The Minotauros were leading the Central Division and the Norsemen were eager to secure crucial points for a playoff berth.

“They are playing for their season,” said Minotauros head coach Cody Campbell. “Anytime you’re at the top of the league you have to expect the best effort from anybody you play.”

Minot did get the best effort from the Norsemen.

St. Cloud drew first blood in the first period at the 13:57 mark when St. Cloud Norseman Michael Coleman scored off assists from Louis Wehmann and Tyler Geyer. Minot had more shots on goal (14) than St. Cloud (9) but had the puck just miss the net with hits on the crossbar of the goal. The Minotauros did tally penalty minutes with Chad Muller sitting for the end of the first period for checking from behind.

“It is a game of inches,” said coach Campbell. “And they (St. Cloud) earned those tonight.”

Minot trailed 1-0 going into the second period.

The second period had two penalties for the Norsemen and one for Minot. St. Cloud had 12 shots on goal while the Minotauros slowed to five shots. Despite the efforts by both teams, goals were in short supply with the score remaining 1-0 for the Norsemen.

“We did not play like we could for forty minutes,” said Campbell. “We picked up the tempo and played better in the final period.”

History was made for one Minotauro in the third period as Minot defender Colby Woogk took passes from Jack O’Hanisain and Adam Mahler and scored at the 10:33 mark to tie the game. It was Woogk’s seventeenth goal of the season, combined with three goals from the 2023 season gave him 20 goals for his career now. That mark is the most goals for a defenseman in Minotauros history.

There were six penalties assessed in the final period of play with two going to Minot and the other four to St. Cloud. At the 13:18 mark, Minotauro Jordan Gibbs was assessed a holding call and at the 13:21 mark – immediately following the faceoff, the Norsemen scored the winning goal.

The 2-1 win for St. Cloud came in revenge for the 4-3 win that Minot had over the Norsemen on Friday evening. Both teams had 30 shots on goal in the first of the two games and both teams had no penalties in the first or third periods with two power plays a piece in the second period. Cayden Casey, Joel Lehtinen, Jordan Gibbs and Adam Mahler each scored in the win while Murray Marvin-Cordes, Jacob Ingstrup, Jack O’Hanisain, John Emmons and John Small added assists for the Minotauros.

Minot is currently in first place of the Central Division of the NAHL with a 42-13 record and have clinched a playoff slot. The Minotauros are in second place overall in the league and trail the Lone Star Brahmas from RIchland Hills, Texas.

Minot will face the Bismarck Bobcats at the VFW Sports Center on 5-6, 12 April and close out the regular season with a home game on 13 April at the Maysa Arena. Game times are at 7:15 p.m. on the road and the puck drops at 7:35 p.m. at home.

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