SATURDAY – Texas vs. North Iowa, 6:00 p.m.
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$)
BULLS vs. TEXAS ALL-TIME: 1-0-1
2019-20 SEASON TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE: Season tickets are now available for 2019-20, the ninth season of North Iowa Bulls hockey. Early-bird discounts are available through May 1. For more information on North Iowa Bulls season tickets, click here.
BATTLE OF THE CATTLE: North Iowa and Texas have played only twice in team history, with both meetings coming on neutral ice at the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. The Brahmas grabbed a 3-2 shootout win in December of 2016, surviving with two points after letting a 2-0 third-period lead get away. The Bulls didn’t have to worry about that in a 6-0 win last season at the Showcase – Josh Arnold and Matt Dahlseide each had a pair of goals in that contest, as North Iowa ran off with the lead just over seven minutes into the contest.
ONE FOR THE THUMB: It’s the first time back in the semifinals for the Bulls since their Silver Cup national championship in 2016, but their odds have been good once getting this far. Todd Sanden’s team is 4-0 all-time in Fraser Cup semifinals, reaching the title game each year from 2013 to 2016 and winning it all in three of those four years. The most recent semifinal was a 4-3 overtime win against the then-Twin City Steel three years ago, in which Kohei Sato’s swoop-and-shoot from the slot 2:51 into the extra session sent the Bulls to their fourth straight final.
MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF: The Texas Brahmas’ NAHL partner club has launched itself into a battle for home-ice advantage in the first round of the South Division thanks to a former North Iowa Bull. Seth Eisele has earned the starting job in his second full year of junior hockey, and committed six weeks ago to NCAA Division I Lake Superior State University in Michigan. He has won 17 games this season for the Lone Star Brahmas, after winning a Fred Page Cup in the British Columbia Hockey League last year with the Wenatchee Wild.
HOLDING ‘EM OFF: One player to watch in this game for the Brahmas will be starting goaltender Thomas Held – through the pool round of the tournament, Held has allowed just two goals, with a save percentage of .975. He won 23 games in the regular season with a goals-against average of just 1.73 – both numbers are among the NA3HL’s three best.