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 Minot Minotauros

Tauros Downed, 6-2, to Black Bears

May 18, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Minot Minotauros News Release

BLAINE, MN - It was a heartbreaking scene on the ice after the final buzzer. Minot Minotauros goalie Brady James down on one knee in his crease, Tauros players with arms around each other as the tears fell. Then Captain Trevor Stachowiak led the Tauros down the handshake line for the final time.

Despite a commanding 47-32 shot advantage, the Tauros fell 6-2 to the Maryland Black Bears in Game Two of the Robertson Cup semi-finals, bringing their playoff quest to a disappointing end. They fought hard and competed to the final whistle, but they were unable to find the back of the net enough to force a Game 3.

Unlike Friday night, the Tauros were able to keep up with the Black Bears stride-for-stride from the first puck drop and through most of the night. But it was Maryland breaking through on the power play in the first period. They got out in transition before Matthew Croxall fired a cross-ice pass to Jeremi Tremblay for the one-timer.

The Tauros tied the game up just over three minutes into the second period courtesy of a nifty move by Nick Sewecke. Off an offensive zone faceoff, the Tauros won the puck back to Colby Woogk at the blue line. He teed up a wicked slapshot that Black Bears goalie Owen Lepak saved but could not corral the rebound. Sewecke crashed down to grab the puck, shrugged off a check, and spun 270 degrees to sweep a backhand under a diving Lepak.

Unfortunately, the Tauros could not take the next step and grab their first lead of the series. Just over six minutes later, Maryland's Dylan Gordon swept down the left wing right off the faceoff unchecked. He cut in just above the goal line and zipped out front untouched. He was able to tuck the puck past Tauros goalie Brady James to restore the Black Bear's one-goal lead.

Then less than four minutes later, the Tauros found themselves short two men as both Will Dawson and Chad Muller were sent off for two minutes. While Dawson was called for an obvious hooking, Muller was called for head contact during a scrum in the crease. Regardless of what happened, the Tauros were staring down the barrel of two full minutes down two men.

The Black Bears wasted little time setting up their offense in the Tauros' defensive zone. The two players at the blue line swept the puck back and forth, forcing James to keep moving side-to-side in his crease before Tremblay unleashed a rocket through traffic that James could not see to make it 3-1 Maryland.

Tremblay's second goal of the night proved to be the game-winner despite an onslaught of chances for the Tauros in the third. In fact, it was the Black Bears who broke through first in the period despite the volume of shots coming from Minot as Samuel Stitz made it 4-1 with just over seven minutes to play.

Cayden Casey gave the Tauros a lifeline just over a minute later, but the Tauros could never get closer than two goals down. Then Maryland scored two empty-net goals, thanks in part to some unlucky bounces, leading to a 6-2 score line that did not tell the entire story.

The Tauros not only outshot the Black Bears in the game, but they put 18 shots on goal in the third period. They simply could not best Lepak.

It was a heartbreaking ending for a Tauros team that set so many records. Yet for coming up short in the ultimate goal, it was an amazing season full of memorable moments.

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North American Hockey League Stories from May 18, 2024

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