THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES:
FRIDAY – North Iowa @ Alexandria, 7:10 p.m.
SATURDAY – North Iowa @ Alexandria, 7:10 p.m.
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$)
BULLS VS. ALEXANDRIA ALL-TIME: 25-5-1
NEXT HOME GAME: North Iowa returns to the “Barn” on Wednesday night for a Faith and Family Night exhibition game against the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres, with a pregame message and live music during intermission. Church groups of 10 or more will also receive discounted admission. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
MILESTONE WATCH: Brendan Studioso has charged up the Bulls’ all-time scoring leaderboard, tying Rihards Marenis last weekend for fifth on the team’s all-time points list with 128 points. With one more goal, he’ll tie Connor Clemons’s 57 goals for fifth on that career list as well.
HEY, DON’T I KNOW YOU?: The two teams in this weekend’s contests know each other quite well, and not just because they’re in the same division– three different players on the Alexandria roster are former Bulls, including second-year Blizzard blueliner Tucker Kruse. Ike Tarazewski and Wesley Johnson joined the Blizzard roster a week apart, shortly after Thanksgiving. Kruse has had by far the most successful season of the three, with 13 points this year. Second-year Bull Matt Dahlseide is a former Blizzard forward and has had quite a year, scoring a team-high 46 points, with at least one point in 24 of 28 appearances this year.
HOT STUFF: Both teams started the season 5-5, but that is where the roads have diverged. Since being swept at Granite City in mid-October, the Bulls have grabbed wins in 18 of 20, losing only to Rochester the week after Thanksgiving and to New Ulm last weekend. Alexandria has remained near .500 throughout the year, never wavering more than three games from par in either direction.
THAT WAS A CLOSE SHAVE: North Iowa’s loss to New Ulm last Friday night was its first one-goal loss of the season – when one team has pulled away, that team has usually been the Bulls. North Iowa is 18-3 in games decided by more than two goals this season, but at 3-3, the two-goal games have been a toss-up. As for the Blizzard, the only one-goal loss has come in a shootout, against Granite City back on November 9.
DON’T GET CAUGHT SHORT: Two of the league’s most dangerous penalty-killing units meet in this weekend’s series. North Iowa has put away eight shorthanded goals this season, while the Blizzard have tallied nine. With 15 power-play goals allowed, only four NA3HL teams have allowed fewer special-teams goals than the Bulls.