by Ken Oda
The Tauros and Bruins meet for the second weekend in a row with first place in the Central Division on the line. Last weekend the Tauros won on Friday and lost on Saturday at the Maysa for a weekend split that kept them three points behind first place Austin. Meanwhile in Aberdeen the second place Wings will host the fourth place Bismarck Bobcats who are five points behind the Tauros.
The Tauros remain among the top offenses and defenses in the league averaging an NAHL second best 3.94 goals per game and allowing a third best 2.31 goals against per game. While the Tauros have outscored opponents 34-28 in the first 40 minutes of games this season despite being outshot 354-370 they have owned third periods outshooting opponents 188-144 and outscoring them 27-9.
Recent NCAA DI Air Force commit Keenan Lund leads the Tauros with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists. Didrik Henbrant has six points over the last five games and linemate David Raisanen has five points over the last four contests.
The Tauros defense has as good of a top four as any team in the NAHL with Lincoln Erne (3g 9a) and Nick Strom (2g 9a) are both in the top 15 of NAHL defensemen in scoring and are tied for second on the team with a +10 rating. Connor McGinnis and Levi Kleiboer are both committed to NCAA DI schools Air Force and Maine respectively. Veteran Spencer Kimball brings steady play to the third pair with four points and a +5 rating despite playing with a rotation of exciting young defense prospects Brennan Couet and Sam Skinner.
The Bruins, as the Tauros saw last Saturday, have been the best in the league at keeping the puck out of their own net allowing just 1.81 goals against per game. Their offense has been strong as well ranked sixth on 3.19 goals for per contest.
Goaltender Kyle McClellan has been the best in the league with four shutouts including last Saturday's win in Minot. He also leads the league in GAA, 1.53, and SV%, .946. His backup Brett Miller has been strong as well posting a 1.66 GAA (ranked second in the league) and .916 SV%.
The Bruin offense has lacked the depth of the Tauro attack with just five players in double figures compared to Minot's 10. Dante Sheriff leads Austin scorers with 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists. Andrew Willis, former Tauro Jed Pietilla, and Dante Zapata are all tied for second on the team with 12 points apiece.
Watch and Listen
Both games in Austin start at 7:05 with 6:50 pregame shows on all three outlets of the Minotauros Network, AM 1390 KRRZ, HockeyTV.com, and the Listen Live tab.
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