ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The trip to Chicagoland is over for the North Iowa Bulls, and with it goes a dominant six-game season series against the Chicago Bulldogs. North Iowa ripped off 77 shots in a 16-2 victory, sending the Bulls’ winning streak into double-digit territory.
The first-period scoring for the Bulls came quickly, with seven goals coming in the first eight minutes. Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./Dallas Stars Elite) and Vincent Billing (Rogers, Minn./Rogers H.S.) each collected a pair of goals in the opening minutes of the contest, and Marshall Barnes‘s (Edina, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) goal at 4:23 moved him briefly into a tie for the team lead. Logan Miller‘s (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie H.S.) fourth tally of the year finished the scoring for the period at the 7:48 mark.
Owen Larson (Edina, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) didn’t wait long after the first intermission to take the team lead back for himself, scoring off of a pass from Barnes just six seconds into the period. Jake Hermann finally got the ‘Dogs on the board with his second goal of the year at 7:14, and Danny Spano made his mark on the score sheet with 2:33 remaining before the break. Goals from Connor Clemons (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) and Zach Hayes (Bartlett, Ill./Team Illinois) and a third marker from Studioso, though, interrupted Chicago’s momentum on the way to an 11-2 score with 20 minutes remaining.
Five pucks found their way to the back of the net in the final third of the game, and a couple of brief two-goal scoring sprints just before the halfway point of the period and again in the final 2:42 sealed the Bulldogs’ fate in the final game of the weekend. Larson’s goal at 17:18 of the period was his 16th of the year, extending his team lead over Barnes, and Clemons’s final addition just 69 seconds left was the last of his three for the day.
After two saves, Joe Timmerman made a brief exit from the game at the 1:18 mark, but Josh Cannon took the loss in barely four minutes of action, following Timmerman’s start with just five saves in facing nine Bulls shots. Chicago’s starting goaltender returned to close out the remainder of the game, holding off 54 shots out of 66 over the rest of the afternoon. Josh Benson (Stillwater, Minn./Brookings Blizzard) stopped 17 of the Bulldogs’ 19 shots, moving his record for the season to 5-0 for the season.
The totals for the defending Silver Cup champs on the weekend are staggering – North Iowa racked up a 51-4 scoring margin on 257 shots, adding up a scoring percentage of 19.8%, or a goal on almost one of every five Bulls shots. With 51 goals and 140 total points over the three games, the Bulls averaged a goal every 3 1/2 minutes, and put up almost a point-a-minute pace for the weekend. Clemons led the way with nine goals, amassing a hat trick in every single game on the road trip.
North Iowa is back at home on Friday to host “Fright Night With the Bulls” against the Rochester Ice Hawks, followed by a road trip to Rochester the next night. The opening faceoff on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the North Iowa Ice Arena. All home and away contests are streamed live on HockeyTV, and all home games are also audio-streamed on Mixlr.