Bobcats and Bears
by Ken Oda
Minot, ND - The Minotauros and Bismarck Bobcats renew the Subway Cup rivalry with a home-and-home series this weekend. The series opens tonight in Bismarck and then shifts to Minot on Saturday night when the Tauros hold their ninth annual Scheels Teddy Bear Toss game.
The Tauros enter the weekend set with the Cats coming off of their largest offensive output in franchise history, scoring 11 goals last Saturday night against the St. Cloud Blizzard. The Tauros offense now ranks third in the league netting 4.05 goals-per-game. Nik Armstrong-Kingkade continues to pace the offense with 25 points through 22 games including a hat trick against the Bobcats last Wednesday and a goal and two assists against St. Cloud last weekend to earn NAHL Central 1st Star of the Week honors. Kyler Kleven had a hat trick on Saturday night while Dan Russell, Cade Stibbe, and Jack Westlund each had two goals each. The Tauros offense is shooting an outstanding 13.13% which is second best in the league. Defensively the Tauros continue to struggle ranking 18th in shots allowed at 32.82 and 21st in goals allowed per game at 3.50.
The Bobcats offense ranks just ahead of the Tauros at 4.14 goals-per-game. Grant Johnson leads the Cats with 25 points on the season. Will Hillman (14g 9a), Lars Christian Rodne (10g 12a), and Austin Jouppi (6g 14a) round out the list of Bobcats with at least 20 points on the year. Jouppi's three goals and two assists make him the leading scorer in the season series with five points. The Cats' defense has been almost as stingy as their offense has been productive allowing just 2.14 goals per game. The six goals the Tauros scored against the Cats last week was the first time that the Cats allowed more than four goals all season.
The Tauros have a winning record against every Central Division opponent except for the Bobcats, against whom the Tauros are 1-2-0. A weekend sweep would flip that record to 3-2-0. Saturday is the Tauros ninth annual Scheels Teddy Bear Toss game. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal to throw to the ice when the Tauros score their first goal of the game. The stuffed animals are then donated to the Minot Police Department and the Minot Domestic Violence Crisis Center. Tickets for Saturday's game are available.
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