MASON CITY, Iowa – As the battle for playoff spots in the North American Hockey League’s Central Division heats up, the Bismarck Bobcats are beginning to get warm as well. Bismarck used two goals from Drew Holt, including a tally just over three minutes into the game, to deliver a 4-0 shutout to the North Iowa Bulls Saturday night at the Mason City Arena.
Holt picked up his first goal off of a pass to the weak side from Eddie Shepler, finding space high on Hunter Garvey’s (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) glove side to pick up the game’s opening tally at the game’s 3:03 mark. After picking up the first three shots on goal of the night, and scoring on one, the offenses went quiet, with North Iowa earning its first shot on goal with 9:36 remaining in the first.
After picking up a hat trick Friday night in a 6-2 win, Brady Egan reappeared in the scoring column at the 12:12 mark of the game, tossing a shot to the back post after a feed out of the corner from Calvin Hanson.
North Iowa took an 8-7 shots-on-goal advantage to the second period, but Holt doubled his output on an odd play from behind the net at the 4:02 mark, banking the puck off of the back of Garvey’s pads and into the net for the 3-0 Bismarck lead.
The Bulls managed just six shots on the net in each of the final two periods, and the final goal went to Quinn Rudrud at 6:25 of the third, picking up his second goal of the weekend after scoring in the second period Friday. Rudrud walked the puck to the middle of the slot and, as Garvey went low expecting to smother a shot along the ice, Rudrud went over the top to extend the Bobcat advantage one final time.
“It wasn’t good enough, not just from a team standpoint, but from my standpoint,” said Garvey. “We’ve got to all be better as a whole. We’ve picked up too many losses of late, and we’ve got to pick it up and get back into the playoff [race].”
Despite several conflicts between the teams in the second period, the power play numbers were relatively uneventful, with North Iowa going 0-for-1 on the night and Bismarck coming up empty on all three of its chances. Hanson and Brandon Reller had multi-point games in the contest to go along with Holt’s two-goal game and a goal and assist from Rudrud.
The loss was the first shutout involving North Iowa, for better or worse, since the Bulls moved to the NAHL during the offseason. North Iowa did enjoy its largest post-COVID crowd yet, packing more than 1,500 fans into the Mason City Arena for Saturday’s contest, its last home game until March 11.
Oskar Spinnars Nordin picked up his first career shutout with 19 saves, earning his 10th win of the year in the process. Garvey stopped 25 of Bismarck’s 29 chances, falling to 13-14-1-4 for the year.
Bismarck bumped its record to 18-23-1-2 with Saturday’s win, while the Bulls dropped to 19-19-2-4 ahead of their final extended road stretch of the regular season. North Iowa travels to Springfield, Illinois next Friday and Saturday, with games against the Jr. Blues on tap to wind down the month of February. The opening puck drop Friday night at the Nelson Center is slated for 7:05 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV Presented by Dakota Fix Shelter Insurance and Mixlr.
To purchase advance tickets for any upcoming North Iowa Bulls home game, call the Bulls Ticket Line at 641-450-0914 or click here. Updated news and information are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Bismarck 2 1 1 – 4
North Iowa 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, Bismarck, Holt 8 (Shepler, Reller), 3:04. 2, Bismarck, Egan 7 (Hanson, Rudrud), 12:12. Penalties-Johnson Bis (slashing-minor), 14:06.
2nd Period-3, Bismarck, Holt 9 (Reller), 4:02. Penalties-Johnson Bis (roughing-minor), 5:21; Stacey Nio (roughing-double minor), 5:21; Mitchell Bis (holding-minor), 11:37; Mexico Nio (roughing-minor), 11:37; Ziskie Bis (roughing-minor), 14:54; Brophy Nio (fighting-major, aggressor-gm), 14:54; Campion Nio (roughing-minor), 14:54; Pietila Bis (slashing-minor), 16:02.
3rd Period-4, Bismarck, Rudrud 19 (Hanson), 6:25. Penalties-Morich Nio (high sticking-minor), 0:56.
Shots on Goal-Bismarck 8-11-10-29. North Iowa 7-6-6-19.
Power Play Opportunities-Bismarck 0 / 3; North Iowa 0 / 1.
Goalies-Bismarck, Spinnars Nordin 10-6-0-1 (19 shots-19 saves). North Iowa, Garvey 13-14-1-4 (29 shots-25 saves).
Linesmen-Craig Ford, Jacob Rozenberg.