AUSTIN, Minn. – North Iowa forward Jarod Blackowiak has been on a tear for the Bulls since debuting with the defending Central Division champs in early October. Most of his early contributions were made in a setup role, posting assists in four straight games before he got his first goal Nov. 11 against Granite City.
The setup man has become a true closer for the Bulls’ forward lines, peppering opposing goaltenders with shots and putting away six goals in his last five appearances. After a red-hot 10-game stretch in Mason City, Blackowiak is headed back to the North American Hockey League this weekend, returning for a weekend with the Austin Bruins.
Blackowiak played in two games at the NAHL Showcase for the Bruins in September, including a narrow loss to the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-17 squad. His goal in the second period cut the NTDP’s lead to 4-3, which would end up as the game’s final score.
The Eden Prairie, Minnesota native has already made a name for himself in the league headlines this week, earning the NA3HL’s Bauer Star of the Week award for the Central Division. He followed up a four-goal weekend against the Rochester Ice Hawks prior to Thanksgiving with a three-point weekend during the holidays against the Wausau RiverWolves.
The Bulls and Bruins have built strong ties to each other over the last several years, including a handful of call-ups to Austin and the occasional preseason matchup. Blackowiak will rejoin a former North Iowa forward on the Bruins’ roster – Dominic Skrelja notched 15 points in just eight games early this season before being recalled in mid-October.
Bruins head coach Steve Howard has also built ties to the North Iowa organization, calling up two goaltenders to the USHL during his stint as an assistant coach with the Waterloo Black Hawks. Zack St. John was called to the Cedar Valley to practice with the team during its Christmas break in 2015, and Josh Benson served as a backup for a pair of games with Waterloo last season.
Austin is on the road this week as the Bruins travel to Bismarck for a Friday-Saturday set against the Bismarck Bobcats. The Bulls wish Jarod Blackowiak all the best in his return this weekend to the North American Hockey League and the Austin Bruins.