by Ken Oda
Austin, MN - The Minotauros open Central Division play this weekend in Austin, MN against the Austin Bruins. The Tauros have dominated the head-to-head series of late going 26-11-5 against the Bruins over the last five seasons including 6-2-0 last year. The Bruins however come in off of a red hot start going 3-0-1 at the NAHL Showcase and being crowned champions.
The Tauros went 1-2-1 at the NAHL Showcase finishing with the fourth best record in the Central Division. Dean Schwenninger led the team in points with a goal and four helpers. Huston Karpman and Jaksen Panzer each added a goal and three helpers, while Colby Joseph and Joe Westlund each had a pair of goals. The Tauros defense played well holding teams to just 24 shots per game making life easy on the Tauros three-headed goaltending monster of veteran Carter Clafton and rookies Zach Sandy and Thomas Kiesewetter.
The Bruins dominated the NAHL Showcase with 11 veterans returning to the lineup the Bruins showed off the chemistry you would expect from the veteran club. They lead the league in both shots taken and allowed at 38.25 and 17.0. The result was scoring 4.25 goals per game while allowing just 1.75 through the four-day tournament. Hudson Hodges played three of the four games in goal posting a 1.95 GAA and .891 SV%. Veteran defenseman Carson Riddle already has three goals and six helpers for nine points already on the season. He is also the Bruins active leader with 12 career points against the Tauros.
The Tauros and Bruins rivalry was born out of five playoff meetings over six seasons, of which the Bruins won four. The most recent meeting however came in the 2018 playoffs and as a result the rivalry has cooled a bit of late. Adding to the intrigue is that new Tauros Assistant Coach Jake Howie played for Austin Bruins Head Coach Steve Howard for the Flint Generals in the NA3HL.
Both Friday and Saturday's games will start at 7:00 p.m. with a 6:45 Farmers Union Pregame Show on HockeyTV, Mixlr, Facebook, GoTauros.com, and the Minotauros Mobile App (Apple or Android). After this weekend in Austin the Tauros will return to North Dakota for a home-and-home series with the Bismarck Bobcats playing Friday in Bismarck and then finally playing on the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena on Saturday October 2nd. Tickets for the Tauros home opener against Bismarck and all of the other Tauros home games are available online.
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