THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES:
FRIDAY – North Iowa @ Granite City, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY – North Iowa @ Granite City, 7:30 p.m.
BULLS VS. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 33-19-5
NEXT HOME GAME: North Iowa returns home on Friday, Oct. 19 to face Breezy Point and begin a seven-game homestand. The Bulls will host “Fire and Ice Night” on Friday, with free admission to area firefighters and half-price admission to their families. A hot-wing challenge will be held during the intermissions, with a firetruck bounce house for the younger fans. Saturday, law-enforcement officers will get their night on “Light it Up Night,” with the same admission discounts and an intermission donut-eating contest. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
MAKE YOUR STAND: Granite City is in the midst of an epic homestand to start their season – the Lumberjacks are opening the 2018-19 schedule with nine straight games at the Armadillo Deck Rink at Sports Arena East. Brad Willner’s team will have to pay those home games back later, though – in a two-month period starting over Thanksgiving week, Granite City will play 11 of its 13 games on the road. North Iowa begins its longest homestand of the regular season next week, with seven home games in a row, and 10 of the next 12 at the North Iowa Ice Arena.
THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT: North Iowa will have to beat one of the most stout defenses in the NA3HL. Granite City has allowed just more than a goal-and-a-half per game, and just more than 22 shots per game – both are second-best in the league heading into the weekend. Only St. Louis has kept teams out of the net more consistently, and only the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques have kept teams from shooting the puck more consistently than the ‘Jacks.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The Lumberjacks and Bulls have perhaps the premier rivalry in all of Tier III junior hockey, and have piled up the hardware over their seven years together in the NA3HL. Six of the seven Fraser Cup championships have been won by the two teams, with each team winning three of them. All of the seven West Division regular-season championships have ended up in either Mason City or Sauk Rapids. North Iowa is back in the West this season after a three-year sabbatical in the Central, where they won regular-season titles all three years. With Granite City as the three-time defending West champs, setting up a matchup this weekend of two defending division titleholders.