by Ken Oda
Minot, ND - The Minotauros finally return to North Dakota this weekend for a home-and-home series with the Bismarck Bobcats.Â The eleventh chapter of the Western North Dakota rivalry kicks off in Bismarck on Friday night before shifting north to Minot on Saturday.Â This weekend will be both teams' home openers and while it is their first regular season meeting they split a preseason set with the Bobcats winning in Dickinson, ND, and the Tauros in Watford City, ND.
The Tauros come in off of a road split with the first place Austin Bruins.Â Trevor Stachowiak and Zack Simon each had a goal and an assist in the weekend split and Carter Clafton picked up his first win of the season on Saturday night as well. Â Â Tauros leading scorer Dean Schwenninger was held off the score sheet but continues to lead the team in scoring with five points on a goal and four helpers.
Bismarck meanwhile continues looking for their first win on the season after going winless at the NAHL Showcase and then being swept in St. Cloud.Â Their 24th ranked offense will get a boost this weekend however with the return of last year's leading scorer Ryan Taylor who had 19 goals and 22 assists along with Owen Michaels who added 21 points to last year's team. Â Both players had started the season with USHL teams.Â Meanwhile Drew Holt and Eddie Shepler each have three goals on the season.Â In goal veteran Tommy Aitken was traded to Kenai River this week leaving Erik Forss and Aksel Reid to tend the Bismarck net.
Overall after a rough start to the rivalry which saw the Bobcats win the first 12 contest the Tauros have battled back to an overall 51-54-13 record against the Cats including a 29-19-11 record at the Maysa against Bismarck.
Saturday's home opener against Bismarck starts at 7:35, tickets are available here, or by clicking the "Tickets" tab atop this page.Â Bring a donation of diapers for Project Bee and the Minot Domestic Violence Center and receive a free ticket to a future Minotauros game.
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