Somebody forgot to tell the Minot Minotauros they do not belong here. Here being today’s Championship game of the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup.
Joining Minot in today’s final is the #2 Ranked Shreveport Mudbugs, not that rankings mean anything to the Minotauros. After getting past #6 Aberdeen and #7 Austin to win the Division Championship, they came back to win twice in the league semi-final over #1 Fairbanks after getting shut-out in the first game.
So, what’s going to happen tonight…or what do I feel is going to happen tonight?
Minot Minotauros (#16, 28-26-4-2 Season, 8-3-0-0 Post):Let’s not even get into how this matchup appears on paper. If there is anything we’ve (and especially me) learned about the Minotauros, it’s that they don’t care about any of that. So, let’s face it, Head Coach Marty Murray has these kids playing like Stanley Cup contenders. And like that pesky rodent that’s often scampering about an old barn house; there’s no quit in this Minot team. None. Down 3-1 against #1 Fairbanks yesterday, Minot could have easily mailed the last period in and still skated away with a heck of a job well done. Instead they ignited for three third period goals (and another in OT) to end the Ice Dogs’ season.
Shreveport Mudbugs (#2, 41-12-3-4 Season, 8-2-2-0): The Mudbugs were not in need of such heroics as they had yesterday off after taking care of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in two games. The Mudbugs (only in their second year of version 2.0) have a long history of success at the professional level that appears to have followed them into the NAHL. Yes, that history also includes issues with Corpus Christi that carried over into last-year’s playoffs and this year’s regular season. Mudbug fans were certainly on pins and needles with the Ice Rays took the ‘Bugs to the brink before falling in game five. The divisional final against Dan Wildfong (former Mudbug player) and the Lone Star Brahmas also went to five games in similar fashion. The funny thing is, the semi-final series win over the Knights was the easiest of the post-season for the Mudbugs.
PREDICTION: I’ve been asked to NOT predict that the Minotauros win today's game, so I won’t. SHREVEPORT wins.
Author: Stephen Heisler
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
* Disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Stephen Heisler, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.