BLAINE, Minn. – Last year’s Bulls may have a new home, but they made sure to pack their winning ways when they made the move to North Iowa.
The power-play unit was exceptional in Friday’s game at the North American Hockey League Showcase at the Super Rink, going 3-for-5 and holding the Amarillo Wranglers off the scoreboard on their power play chances for a 4-1 win, knocking off the team that replaced the Bulls in the Texas Panhandle during the offseason. North Iowa had circled the game on its calendar weeks ago, when the Showcase schedule was announced in early August. The Wranglers moved into the market after the Bulls relocated to Mason City after 11 years on the ice at the Amarillo Civic Center.
One of last year’s Amarillo Bulls was the first one to kick off the scoring, thanks to a pair of penalties just 11 seconds apart in the first period. Caden Carlson and Jase Sofo landed in the box halfway through the opening stanza, handing the Bulls a lengthy 5-on-3. It took the Bulls a little more than a minute of the two-man advantage to capitalize, as Sean Vlasich (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Amarillo Bulls) rattled the back of the cage at 11:27 of the first period to give North Iowa a 1-0 lead.
The second goal came on a 5-on-4, and took considerably less time – after Matt Beaty’s roughing call at 13:21 of the period, it took all of 24 seconds for Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) to walk the puck to the bottom of the faceoff circle and snap it past former Bull Max Gutjahr to double the lead.
The Bulls’ third goal was the first to come at even strength – with just over five minutes remaining in the second period, Carter Rapalje (Burlington, Vt./Amarillo Bulls) fed the puck through Chris Carroll (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) to Dombrowsky, and he did the rest with a dangle and a stuff-in in front of the net to stretch the North Iowa lead to 3-0.
North Iowa was 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, but the Wranglers nearly caught them at the end of a power play midway through the third – just two seconds after a hooking call against Charlie Tuggey (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) expired, Aaron Chiarot dug the puck off the left-wing boards and found Logan Cleary for the low finish in the left-wing faceoff circle to cut the lead to two goals.
The Bulls would have been perfectly satisfied with a 3-1 win, but a roughing penalty to Dominic Schimizzi with 49 seconds remaining put them on one final power play, and a misconduct penalty to Schimizzi on the same play would end his night. Instead, North Iowa closed with a three-goal margin thanks to a one-timer goal from Luka Sukovic (Lincolnshire, Ill./Odessa Jackalopes) with just 31 seconds left on the third-period clock.
North Iowa closed out the game with three power play goals for the first time since taking down the Northeast Generals in the Fraser Cup tournament in April, while Amarillo finished the night 0-for-2 with the extra man. Gutjahr took the loss in his first game against his old team, making 27 saves, while Cullen DeYoung (Canton, Mich./Amarillo Bulls) made 33 stops for his first win as a North Iowa Bull.
“I feel great, especially against the new Amarillo team,” said DeYoung. “I think everybody had a little bit of blood boiling, and a little extra motivation for this game, and it was just a great time.”
Barely 48 hours after scoring the first NAHL goal in North Iowa Bulls history, Dombrowsky enjoyed a huge night on the stat sheet, notching two goals and an assist. Eight other Bulls earned a point in the contest as well.
The win sends North Iowa to a 2-1 mark entering their final game of the NAHL Showcase on Saturday evening, while Amarillo falls to 2-1 on its young season as well. The Bulls square off with the Kenai River Brown Bears to close out the weekend, as they hunt for just their second win in their first six tries. The opening puck drop in that game is slated for 6 p.m. at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota, with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Single-game tickets are now on sale for all North Iowa Bulls home games – to purchase advance tickets to any upcoming home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
North Iowa 2 1 1 – 4
Amarillo 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Vlasich 1 (Dombrowsky, Potter), 11:31 (PP). 2, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 2 (Japchen), 13:45 (PP). Penalties-Vlasich Nio (hooking-minor), 7:47; Carlson Amw (tripping-minor), 10:10; Sofo Amw (cross checking-minor), 10:21; Beaty Amw (roughing-minor), 13:21.
2nd Period-3, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 3 (Rapalje, Carroll), 14:55. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Amarillo, Cleary 1 10:14. 5, North Iowa, Sukovic 1 (Domina, Liotino), 19:28 (PP). Penalties-Tuggey Nio (tripping-minor), 8:42; Beaty Amw (slashing-minor), 11:04; Schimizzi Amw (roughing-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 19:11.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 9-11-11-31. Amarillo 11-12-11-34.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 3 / 5; Amarillo 0 / 2.
Goalies-North Iowa, DeYoung 1-0-0-0 (34 shots-33 saves). Amarillo, Gutjahr 1-1-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Andrew Bell, Luke Gagnon.
Linesmen-Grant Hendrich, Michael Hughes.