OREGON, Wis. – It’s a brand-new season for the North Iowa Bulls, but they wasted little time finding the win column Friday night, posting a 9-2 victory at the Wisconsin Whalers in the NA3HL regular-season opener for both teams. The Bulls raced out to a three-goal lead in the first period, and didn’t give up a single even-strength goal on the night.
Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) posted the first tally of the season on a give-and-go just under six minutes into the contest, and Cameron Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./Totino-Grace H.S.) followed with his first goal in a North Iowa sweater at the 7:33 mark of the period. After Brendan Studioso‘s (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) backdoor goal with 2:18 left in the period, Nick Rogers took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity to get the Whalers on the board with a second left in the first period.
Special teams would continue to be a story in the contest, with Matt Gruber (Appleton, Wis./Appleton United H.S.) pounding in a wraparound goal on the penalty kill 2:45 into the second period. Back-to-back goals from Mitch Dolter (Faribault, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) pushed the lead to 6-1 going to the second intermission and chased starting Whalers goalie Alex Hufford late in the period.
Studioso and Arnold had a hand in setting up Dolter’s third goal in a row, but the former Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep finished off the natural hat trick at 6:19 of the final period. All of the last three goals would be scored on the power play, starting with Hunter Huson’s tally for the Whalers with 9:15 remaining. Arnold and Brandon Caudill (Lindstrom, Minn./Chisago Lakes H.S.) notched back-to-back goals on the man-advantage just 58 seconds apart to cap the scoring and lift the Bulls to a season-opening victory.
Colin Cain (Hummelstown, Pa./N.J. Junior Titans) grabbed the win in his first game with North Iowa, stopping 26 of the Whalers’ 28 shots. Both teams got plenty of special-teams practice in during their season-opening tilt, with North Iowa killing off eight of the Whalers’ 10 power-play chances on the night and the Bulls posting their own 2-for-8 mark on the power play.
The winning streak stands at seven in the head-to-head series, and North Iowa can push it to eight in a row Saturday night as the teams finish off their opening weekend. Faceoff time at the Oregon Ice Arena is 7 p.m.