Bulls All-Decade Nominees: Day 4

May 27, 2021

DAY 1  ||  DAY 2  ||  DAY 3  ||  DAY 5



Ron was one of two Lindgren brothers to suit up for North Iowa during the 2010s (younger sibling Tom was the other), and as a Bull, Ron set the bar for much more than just the Lindgren family’s North Iowa legacy. After a season with the Madison Capitols AAA team, the Janesville, Wisconsin native posted 29 points in the Bulls’ national championship season of 2012-13, and lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 38 points the following year. In the latter season, Lindgren was named the league’s Defenseman of the Year before heading to Aurora University in Illinois for a proud NCAA Division III career alongside several of his top teammates. His final point as a Bull came with an assist on North Iowa’s only goal in the 2014 national title game against a Boston Junior Bruins team that would send 16 players to NCAA Division I hockey..


Steven may be the only player on the Bulls’ All-Decade ballot who arguably made his largest contribution for a Bulls rival – Mordini began his junior career in the NAHL with the Springfield Jr. Blues before settling in with North Iowa during the team’s second Central Division championship season. After notching 30 points in 27 games, he made his way to New Ulm, where he went on to post 44 points in 54 games with the Steel. After a 35-point season that saw the Steel in the thick of the West Division playoff race, Mordini moved to the collegiate ranks, playing 17 games over the past two seasons at NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Stout. Despite his relatively brief tenure with the Bulls, his 1.111 points-per-game average stands alone atop the team leaderboard among defensemen in that category.


Cal finds himself alone among the North Iowa defensemen on the ballot who played in North Iowa’s 2020-21 championship season, and the Wayzata, Minnesota product proved to be the very definition of a two-way defenseman. Nauss notched 10 goals in his final season of junior hockey, and his 28 assists made him the first Bulls blueliner ever to lead the team in that category. Of his 10 goals, four came on the power play, and his championship resume added on to a 28-point season from the year before. His scoring prowess and ability to quarterback the North Iowa power play earned him an NCAA Division III commitment to St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, and the 3HL’s 2020-21 Defenseman of the Year award.


Austin didn’t have to go far to play his junior hockey, hailing from a city of Waterloo, Iowa that boasts a decades-old junior hockey tradition of its own. After a 136-point varsity career for the Waterloo Warriors, Jackson opened his junior career with a 26-point season in 2013-14, adding five in the postseason to help the Bulls win their second straight Silver Cup title. A full-season stay in Mason City the following year was not to be, earning an NAHL call-up to the Minnesota Magicians midway through the year. He returned to finish strong in 2015-16, putting up 62 points in the regular season and 16 in the postseason to lead North Iowa to another Silver Cup championship. His 116 points ranks 10th all-time among North Iowa skaters, and after three collegiate seasons at Wisconsin-Stout, he even got a cup of coffee in the pros, picking up a call to Danville, Illinois in 2019-20 for a midseason weekend set with the Federal Prospects Hockey League’s Danbury Hat Tricks.


Put simply, Matt is the forward by which all other Bulls are measured, both in terms of longevity and production. Kroska became North Iowa’s first 50-point scorer, leading the team in its inaugural 2011-12 season out of St. Thomas Academy in the Twin Cities. That was merely a taste of things to come – Kroska quickly earned the captain’s “C” and racked up 74 points the following season on the way to a national championship. He saved his very best for last, though, with 122 points in 2013-14, including an unfathomable 90 assists, earning the NA3HL’s MVP award. Kroska holds seven North Iowa single-season records and nine career records, including his 140 appearances and 247 points – no other Bulls player has even approached the 200-point mark. His 179 career assists remains the 3HL record. Kroska would play 22 games over two seasons at NCAA Division III St. Olaf College.


Owen’s first season of junior hockey was spent hunting for the right fit. Once he found it late in the 2015-16 season, his career was free to take off. Take off, it did – Larson split time in the NAHL with the Minnesota Magicians and Minot Minotauros before coming to the Bulls late in the year and posting a dozen points. Though his seven additional points in the playoffs did not lead to a return to the NAHL, it did lead to a second season with the Bulls and a 63-point showing, good for third on the roster in leading the team back to the Silver Cup national tournament. He would play one outstanding season at Arizona State University, posting 23 points in 2017-18 for the Sun Devils’ ACHA Division I program.


A native of Washington state, Sean enjoyed one unique claim to fame until this past season, as the only North Iowa Bulls player ever to appear in a major-junior hockey league. (Jack Lambert was the next.) Mallonee came from the NAPHL’s Everett Jr. Silvertips program, and earned four appearances for the ‘Tips in the Western Hockey League early in the 2015-16 season. With a more lengthy stay in the WHL just out of reach, though, Mallonee came to North Iowa and took right to the Bulls’ style and pace, notching 38 regular-season points and seven postseason points in a national championship year. He returned in 2016-17 and even earned an NAHL call-up to Janesville amid a 60-point Central Division Forward of the Year season. After just one game to start 2017-18, and with an NCAA career out of the question due to his WHL stint, Mallonee went right to the college ranks at Waldorf University in Forest City, where he has posted 85 points in 77 ACHA games with the Warriors.


If Matt Kroska is the North Iowa player by which all records are measured, Rihards is the Bulls alumnus to which all professional careers are compared. The Riga-born forward started his junior career with the Amarillo Bulls in 2012-13, but came to Mason City midway through the year and became a contributor to the national-championship effort with 15 points. The contributor known for a time as “Richie” exploded onto the scene the following year with 113 points, including a then-record 55 goals, in helping North Iowa win another NA3HL title. While he was displaying his skills at the NCAA Division III level with Aurora University, Marenis was also making a name for himself on the international circuit in his native Latvia – he has become a regular for the Latvian national team, and is currently playing in the World Championships for his home country. He won a Latvian title with HK Mogo in 2019 and spent two years with Dinamo Riga in the Kontinental Hockey League, the second-highest level of pro hockey in the world. He switched to Sweden this past season, notching 26 points for the Kiruna club. His scoring pace of nearly 2.3 points per game remains unmatched among Bulls players.


If there is any Bulls player who has demonstrated “making lemons out of lemonade,” it’s probably Logan – after a four-year varsity career at Chippewa Falls High School, Murphy made his way to North Iowa in 2012-13 and posted a modest eight points in an equally-modest 13 appearances due to a torn labrum during the preseason. His 42 points the following season, despite a total that was far from gaudy, was a key mark in helping North Iowa land another Silver Cup. Murphy was well on his way to another memorable season in 2014-15 when another shoulder injury in December ended his competitive hockey career. Instead, Murphy turned his attention to the bench – the captain became a de facto assistant coach for the remainder of that season, and coaching for local high school teams while earning a college degree from Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is currently finishing his first season as an assistant coach for the NAHL’s Chippewa Steel.


Johnny’s time as a Bull may not have been measured by the number of scoring moments he had, but how many of those moments took your breath away. After appearing in three games for Amarillo to start the 2014-15 junior season, Panvica became a key part of the Bulls’ national championship run with 62 points in 40 games, and 15 additional points in the NA3HL playoffs. His efforts certainly impressed the Minnesota Magicians, who called him back to the NAHL for the 2015-16 season and saw him score 26 points before heading across town to St. Thomas University the next year. He closed his collegiate career with a captaincy in 2019-20, picking up 95 points in a four-year run at the NCAA Division III level. His high mark as a Tommie came in 2017-18, when his 30 points landed him a spot on the all-Minnesota Conference list. His 1.55 points-per-game average ranks 11th on North Iowa’s all-time efficiency list.


Thanks to their lengthy careers with the Bulls, impressive college and pro resumes, or fan-favorite status, many North Iowa players have jumped ahead of Tony in the memory banks of area hockey fans. He’s unquestionably worth remembering, though, as one of the most dangerous scoring threats on North Iowa’s first national championship club. The Maple Grove, Minnesota product opened his junior career with three scoreless NAHL games as a member of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Paulson landed on the North Iowa roster, playing 32 games and making the most of his time with 56 points. His 1.75 points-per-game average makes him the most efficient scorer in Bulls history outside of the team’s cadre of 100-point scorers. He moved on to play five games of NCAA Division III college hockey for Gustavus Adolphus, registering a single point for the Gusties.