MASON CITY, Iowa – This is not a repeat. North Iowa Bulls goaltender Josh Benson (Stillwater, Minn./Brookings Blizzard) was named the NA3HL’s Bauer Hockey Central Division Star of the Week – again – thanks to his play this past weekend. This time, it was the La Crosse Freeze who were stymied in a Saturday night loss, as Benson backstopped the Bulls to a 6-0 win, their third victory over the Freeze so far this season. It’s the second week in a row that Benson has won the Star of the Week award, after leading North Iowa past Granite City in a shootout prior to Thanksgiving weekend. His NA3HL record stands at 7-0-0 following his first shutout of the season.
“Josh Benson has continued to be a difference maker for the Bulls,” says head coach Todd Sanden. “He is undefeated in seven starts. His recent efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.”
They certainly have not – Sanden confirmed Tuesday that Benson has been recalled to the Tier II North American Hockey League, this time as a member of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Benson will join a team that sits in fifth place out of six in the league’s Midwest Division, eight points out of a playoff spot as the league nears its halfway point for the year. The Ice Dogs are certainly familiar with the Bulls’ body of work, signing star forward Joe Burgmeier to a tender after the 2014-15 season.
The Bulls will hit the halfway point of their schedule in the midst of a home-and-home set this weekend against the New Ulm Steel. Friday’s game, which is also “A Night of Giving” at the North Iowa Ice Arena and will feature the Bulls’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, starts at 7:30 p.m. in Mason City. Saturday’s road game in New Ulm starts at 7:10. All Bulls games, home and away, are streamed live on HockeyTV – all home games and select road games, including Saturday’s are audio-streamed on Mixlr.