THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES:
FRIDAY – Rochester @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY – Rochester @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
ROCHESTER GRIZZLIES, 14-5-0-0 (ROSTER, STATS)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS, 15-5-0-0 (ROSTER, STATS)
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$), Mixlr (audio/free – Saturday only)
BULLS VS. ROCHESTER ALL-TIME: 0-1-0
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS: The Bulls are giving back this weekend, with VOSH Benefit Night on Friday night – bring a pair of eyeglasses to donate and receive $2 off your admission and a free team poster. Saturday night is the Bulls’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, with all toys to be donated to Toys For Tots. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
NEVER BEFORE SEEN: In three years against the Rochester Ice Hawks, North Iowa never lost, and was rarely threatened – that changed in a major way with a 3-1 loss to the Rochester Grizzlies on September 28. Richard Szabo picked up a hat trick in the first-ever meeting between the teams, and the Grizzlies put 50 shots on net against the Bulls, with Evan Babekuhl making 47 saves in the loss. Nick Bucklin had 27 saves in Rochester’s victory, and Matt DeRosa had a pair of assists.
CHOPPING DOWN THE LUMBERJACKS: The Grizzlies have done twice in as many weeks what the Bulls were not able to do in their first two meetings with the West Division-leading Granite City Lumberjacks – win. Vladislav Sorokin had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 win on November 17, but it was Logan Olson’s power play goal with 6:42remaining that put Rochester over the top. Last Saturday, Sorokin himself put the Grizzlies on top for the first time with his goal at the 1:31 mark of the third period, and the Grizzlies walked off home ice with another 4-3 win over the ‘Jacks. Rochester needed four unanswered goals to win, after theLumberjacks headed into the second period with a 3-0 lead.
POSITIVE MOMENTUM: After a 5-5 start to the season, the Bulls have gotten on a roll, winning 10 in a row since the middle of October and outscoring opponents 81-18 during that span. That streak also tops North Iowa’s final winning streak of the 2017-18 season – the Bulls won nine straight at the end of the year, including seven in a row to close out the regular season. Last season’s longest winning streak was a 13-game run that went from November 17 through the end of the 2017 calendar year.
HOME SWEET HOME: The 10-game winning streak the Bulls are currently riding may not even be their most impressive run going right now. North Iowa has won 15 straight at home during the regular season, without a loss in the “Barn” since January. Home ice is also where North Iowa’s players have gotten some of their most impressive streaks going, including Brendan Studioso’s 12 straight games with a point, the sixth-longest run in the league. Also of note are the Bulls’ 94-percent penalty-killing rate and its 38.5-percent power play success on home ice.