MASON CITY, Iowa – North Iowa hasn’t lost a game since Veteran’s Day, and hasn’t dropped one in regulation since last March. Such outstanding team results usually come with some pretty impressive individual results as well, and two Bulls stars are being honored for their work during the month of December.
Shane Bernhardson was chosen as the NA3HL’s Bauer Defenseman of the Month on Thursday, and Colin Cain was picked as the league’s Vaughn Goaltender of the Month for December. The two have helped to lead North Iowa through a 13-game winning streak, including an undefeated nine-game run in December.
Bernhardson had the league’s best offensive month by a defenseman by far, racking up 17 points to cap off the 2017 portion of the schedule. His five goals against the Rochester Ice Hawks this past weekend were his first of the year, with a natural hat trick in the third period of Saturday’s 16-0 win and two more goals in Sunday’s New Year’s Eve defeat of the Ice Hawks.
“Shane is playing with a high level of confidence and poise right now,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden. “We will be looking for him to continue at this high level as we get into a challenging part of our schedule.”
Cain came into the month having given up a single goal in four of his previous five games, and gave up a single goal in his first appearance of December against the Wausau RiverWolves. His first shutout in a North Iowa uniform, though, remained elusive.
That all changed with a 26-save performance against Rochester on Dec. 8, and now the Pennsylvania native has shut out three of his last four opponents. His save percentage this month is a pupil-popping .983, and his goals-against average this month is a miniscule 0.40. With 17 wins this season, he has more than a decent chance to break the franchise’s single-season record of 25 wins, set by Chris Amsden during the 2013-14 season. The Bulls set a then-NA3HL record with 45 wins that year.
“Colin is a elite goaltender at this level and should garner attention from NAHL teams for their NA3HL tender,” said Sanden. “He has the ability to play at that level.”
The NA3HL awards list for December was almost a clean sweep, as Connor Clemons came up just short of winning the league’s Bauer Forward of the Month award. That honor instead went to Logan Nelson, who has piloted his Alexandria Blizzard to a 10-game winning streak heading into their home weekend against the Bulls on Friday and Saturday. Nelson piled up an incredible 22 points in the final month of 2017.
Live streaming coverage of Friday and Saturday night’s games in Alexandria is available on HockeyTV. North Iowa returns to home ice in Mason City next Saturday night for “Superhero Night” against the La Crosse Freeze. For advance tickets to that game, or any future North Iowa Bulls home contest, click here.