by Ken Oda
The Minotauros swept the Bobcats to close out 2021 with the franchise's 300 all-time win on New Year's Eve in Bismarck. The Tauros dominated the first meeting out of the Christmas break the night before 6-1 in Minot before winning a see-saw affair in Bismarck in a shootout.
Thursday night the Bobcats opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the contest with Nico Chmelevski scoring on the games first shot. It would turn out to be the only time the Cats would solve Carter Clafton as he stopped the next 24 Bismarck attempts while the Tauros would put up six of their own. Colby Joseph drew the Tauros even with his 10th of the season from Braydon Beahm and Christian Kadolph. Before the end of the period the Tauros would get two more, both on the power play. Cole Mickel got his sixth goal of the season and Dean Schwenninger his ninth. Both were set up by Kade Nielsen who was making his Tauro debut; Nielsen who had tendered with the Tauros for the season began the year in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders but joined the Tauros after the Christmas break.
In the second Braden Panzer got his fourth of the year set up by Nicholas Sewecke who, like Nielsen, was playing his first game as a Tauro. Sewecke is a part of the current tender class for next season and was dressed as an Affiliate Player. Early in the third period Huston Karpamn scored his 12th of the season pushing the Tauro lead to 5-1 and then Nielsen closed out the scoring late with his first as a Tauro giving him a three point night.
Friday night the Bobcats pushed hard out of the game outshooting the Tauros 5-1 over the games first five minutes. Clafton weathered the storm however and in the middle of the period with the Tauros on the power play Zack Simon got his division leading 16th goal of the season. The Cats would answer just two and a half minutes later with a power play goal of their own by Jake Mclean to make it 1-1 after one period. Mclean would get the Bobcats the lead with the second period's only goal at even strength on a wrap around in the middle of the period.
The Tauros would draw even early in the third when Mickel picked up his second of the weekend and Nielsen would do the same just a few minutes later to give the Tauros their second lead of the night. Calvin Hanson would answer for the Cats however with just over five minutes to play and the game would go to overtime. The extra five minutes would pass scoreless and the game would go to a shootout. After Simon was stopped as the Tauros first shooter Owen Michaels would give the Cats the lead in the bottom of the first round. The Tauros next two shooters Dean Schwenninger and Karpman would score while Clafton stopped Jon Ziskie and Eddie Shepler to secure the franchise's 300th win.
Next up for the Tauros is a battle with the Austin Bruins in Austin. The teams split a wild weekend series in Minot the weekend before Christmas break. With the sweep of the Bobcats the Tauros inched ahead of the Bruins for first place in the Central but the Bruins play North Iowa tonight before hosting the Tauros next weekend and could draw even with a win. Next weekend's games start at 7:00 p.m. with the Farmer's Union Pregame Show kicking off at 6:45 on the Minotauros Network.
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