Wings and Rings
by Ken Oda
Friday: Tauros at Wings, Odde Ice Center, 7:15 p.m. Saturday: Tauros at Wings, Odde Ice Center, 7:15 p.m. The Minotauros head into Aberdeen to take on the defending Robertson Cup Champion Aberdeen Wings. The Tauros and Wings sit in a three-way tie with the Austin Bruins for third place in the Central with 19 points as the division remains as competitive as ever.
The Tauros started strong but sputtered a bit last weekend getting swept by the Bismarck Bobcats by a combined 10-3 score. Despite the bad weekend the Tauros still remain third in the league on offense averaging 3.57 goals-pre-game. Nik Armstong-Kingkade continues to lead the Tauros with 17 points (10g 7a) in just 14 games. Ville Immonen, who missed last weekend with illness, is still second on the team with 11 points (5g 6a) and just committed to play NCAA DI hockey for Union College.
Aberdeen meanwhile has jumped in the offensive rankings thanks to a 12-2 combined score in a weekend sweep of the Chippewa Steel. They jumped from 2.92 goals-per-game to 3.36 and a fifth overall ranking. With just five players back from last season's championship squad it is no surprise that a pair of newcomers sit atop the Wings scoring table. Natan Vertes (10g 4a) and Jakob Breault (5g 9a) each have 14 points to lead the team. They sit ahead of a trio of returns for Aberdeen, Riley Murphy (8g 4a), Jake Beaune (3g 7a), and Jack Powell (2g 7a).
Defense has been an issue for the Tauros, who after last weekend, have given up as many goals as they have scored (50). The Tauros sit 22nd overall in goals against at 3.57 and 15th in shots against at 31.07. Aberdeen, has had no such difficulties, sitting 8th overall in goals against at 2.36 and 10th in shots allowed at 29.79.
The Odde Ice Center has been one of the most difficult buildings to play in the last several seasons despite that the Tauros have gone 19-18-3 in the Odde since the 2012-13 season. After a disappointing showing last weekend against the rival Bobcats, the defending champs will provide a telling test of the Tauros roster this weekend before a quick turnaround that sees the Wings come to the Maysa on Monday.
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