MASON CITY, Iowa – Saturday night’s “Hat Tricks and Treats” Halloween game was supposed to go a little bit differently for the North Iowa Bulls.
In the end, New Ulm co-captain Keegan Bauman was the one with the hat trick, and the Steel scared up a 4-2 victory at the North Iowa Ice Arena, pushing them into third place in a crowded NA3HL West Division race.
The Bulls opened the game just the way they did on Friday night at the New Ulm Civic Center – and in most of their games this season – by taking the early lead. With 50 family and friends from Albert Lea High School’s hockey team in the stands, defenseman Campbell Cichosz (Albert Lea, Minn./Albert Lea H.S.) put the Bulls on top with a top-corner rocket from the right point just 6:38 into the game to give the hosts the advantage.
The Steel had a habit of taking control of the narrative after coming out of the locker room, though. Just 36 seconds into the second period, co-captain Jack Parks pinged one in off the post to beat Evan Babekuhl (Long Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) and tie the game at 1-1.
The two teams ground out a stalemate the rest of the way in the second period, but the third period belonged to Bauman, starting with an early wrist shot underneath Babekuhl at 1:11, beating the end of a power play by 15 seconds to make it 2-1. Both teams pressed for the extra goal for most of the third period, with the Bulls putting on a late-game push to tie it up.
With just five seconds left on a power play set up by a Yanni Tsouroullis hooking call, North Iowa found its chance. Nico Aguilera’s (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South H.S.) shot from the right point clipped a body on the way through the slot, finding Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) on the other side of the slot. Roo took care of his share of the work, popping the goal into the net to tie the contest.
Bauman, however, put the exclamation mark on the game with two goals in the final 1:43. A stretch pass from Jacob Halvorson through neutral ice gave Bauman a breakaway, and Bauman beat Babekuhl low for the 3-2 lead. With the net empty and just seven seconds left on the clock, a pass up the right wing and space ahead to roam allowed the Steel veteran to walk the puck into the empty net and finish off the hat trick.
“New Ulm is a great team,” said Cichosz. “They’re grimy and they finish their hits. We’ve got to focus on burying our opportunities – we had a ton that just hit posts or we just didn’t bear down and bury.”
Babekuhl made 27 saves in the loss, falling to 3-1 on the season. A.J. Cohen wrapped up a weekend sweep with 29 saves, picking up his third win of the season. Each team ended the night at 1-for-3 on the power play.
North Iowa falls to 11-2-1-0 with the loss, while New Ulm runs its record to 6-3-0-1 ahead of a five-game November homestand. The Bulls will spend plenty of time on their home ice in November as well, playing six of their nine games in the “Barn” in the coming month. Alexandria is the first of those visitors, with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop next Saturday night in Mason City. Live streaming coverage is available on HockeyTV, with free audio streaming on Mixlr.
Next Saturday’s game is “5 For Fighting” Night at the “Barn,” featuring select merchandise for $5 and two beers for $5. Fans can also buy one adult ticket and get a second ticket for just $5. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey is always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. To purchase advance tickets to Saturday’s game or any future Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
New Ulm 0 1 3 – 4
North Iowa 1 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Cichosz 2 (Roo, Isogai), 6:38. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-2, New Ulm, Parks 6 (Swenson, Stormer), 0:36. Penalties-Roitman Nio (slashing-minor), 4:08; Parks Num (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 7:22; Broten Num (cross checking-minor), 19:03; Wahlin Nio (roughing-minor), 19:26.
3rd Period-3, New Ulm, Bauman 5 (Dorn), 1:11 (PP). 4, North Iowa, Roo 7 (Aguilera, Sullivan), 16:49 (PP). 5, New Ulm, Bauman 6 (Halvorson), 18:17. 6, New Ulm, Bauman 7 (Lillico, Halvorson), 19:53 (EN). Penalties-Sullivan Nio (interference-minor), 3:03; Tsouroullis Num (hooking-minor), 14:54.
Shots on Goal-New Ulm 11-10-9-30. North Iowa 7-10-14-31.
Power Play Opportunities-New Ulm 1 / 3; North Iowa 1 / 3.
Goalies-New Ulm, Cohen 3-0-0-1 (31 shots-29 saves). North Iowa, Babekuhl 3-1-0-0 (29 shots-26 saves).
Linesmen-James McQuesten, Calvin Stace Alvarado.