ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – The weather is turning bitterly cold in the Midwest, and the North Iowa Bulls are dealing with their own cold snap at the end of January. That cold snap followed North Iowa to Alexandria Saturday night, with the Blizzard earning a 4-1 win on home ice.
The loss in Alexandria was a rarity for the Bulls – it snapped a 15-game point streak for Todd Sanden’s team in the head-to-head series, and was the Bulls’ first loss inside the Runestone Community Center since October 11, 2014. The last loss to the Blizzard by three goals or more came back on November 30, 2013 – one of only three regular-season losses for the eventual USA Hockey junior runners-up.
The game started in solid fashion for North Iowa – the first goal of the night came just 6:41 in, when a pass from Nick Bowlin (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan H.S.) found Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s H.S.) in the middle of the slot, with Roo waiting to put away a one-timer.
The hosts made their move in the second period – at the 5:07 mark, a blue-line pass from Dylan Giorgio found Cole Lehmann on the left wing entering the North Iowa zone. Lehmann walked the puck to the faceoff dot to the right of Evan Babekuhl (Lino Lakes, Minn./Orono H.S.) and ripped it past him to tie the game.
The tie game became a Blizzard lead just 80 seconds later – right off of a faceoff to Babekuhl’s right, Riley Scanlon’s pass found Sam Prisbe at the top of the slot, who snapped it into the net for a 2-1 margin. The margin hit 3-1 with 8:14 left in the period, with a left-wing shot settling behind Babekuhl in front of the net. Former Bulls defenseman Tucker Kruse tapped in the loose puck, sending Alexandria to the third period up by two.
North Iowa out-shot Alexandria 18-8 in the final 20 minutes, but the final goal also went to Jeff Crouse’s squad. With 7:23 remaining in the game, Ike Tarazewski buried a chance from the right wing after a tap from Connor Busse found him coming through neutral ice.
Three power play chances went to North Iowa’s squad in the game, but the Bulls were unable to convert. The only Bulls penalty on the night went to Jarod Blackowiak (Eden Prairie, Minn./North Iowa Bulls), whose team still took over the power play thanks to a double-minor roughing infraction on Busse on the same play.
Tarazewski and Kruse each ended the night with a goal and an assist in the win, while Brett Meister ended the night with a couple of helpers of his own.
Babekuhl ended up with the loss, making 27 saves on 31 Alexandria shots to fall to 6-5-0-0. Kyle Hayden made 36 saves for the Blizzard, moving his record to 12-7-0-0 for the year and extending his winning streak to five games.
North Iowa’s record dropped to 24-9-1-0, while Alexandria climbed to 21-15-0-1, winning its fourth in a row and seventh game in its last eight.
The Bulls return to home ice for an NA3HL game next Friday and Saturday night for the first time in four weeks. The opening puck drop for both Friday and Saturday night’s contests is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage both nights on HockeyTV. Live audio streaming on Saturday night will also be available on Mixlr.
North Iowa returns to home ice on Friday and Saturday night, February 1 and 2, as we “Rock the Barn” against the Granite City Lumberjacks, courtesy of Coca-Cola and the Atlantic Bottling Company. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
North Iowa 1 0 0 – 1
Alexandria 0 3 1 – 4
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Roo 5 (Bowlin, Giddings), 6:41. Penalties-Meister Alx (head contact-minor), 19:38.
2nd Period-2, Alexandria, Lehmann 6 (Giorgio, Meister), 5:07. 3, Alexandria, Prisbe 1 (Scanlon, Meister), 6:27. 4, Alexandria, Kruse 6 (Johnson, Taraszewski), 11:46. Penalties-Blackowiak Nio (roughing-minor), 8:37; Busse Alx (roughing-double minor), 8:37; Dokken Alx (holding-minor), 13:42.
3rd Period-5, Alexandria, Taraszewski 5 (Busse, Kruse), 12:37. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 12-7-18-37. Alexandria 11-12-8-31.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 3; Alexandria 0 / 0.
Goalies-North Iowa, Babekuhl 6-5-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Alexandria, Hayden 12-7-0-0 (37 shots-36 saves).
Linesmen-Nicholas Seppala, Andrew Bartholomay.