Post Game Report 12-3
NEW ULM, Minn. – After going down a goal in the opening minutes of Saturday’s game against the North Iowa Bulls, the New Ulm Steel were able to battle back and tie it just six minutes later.
They weren’t able to do it twice.
The Bulls unleashed a four-goal barrage in the second period behind 19 shots to beat the Steel 5-2 and sweep the opening weekend of the four-game season series between the old West Division foes. The scoring started at the 7:53 mark of the first period, when Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./Dallas Stars Elite) took a feed from Mike Lyons (Wheaton, Ill./North Iowa Bulls) in front and dumped the puck in the back of the net for the opening goal. The Steel got their equalizer with 5:59 showing on the first-period clock as Fritz Belisle ripped one from high in the North Iowa zone and over the right shoulder of R.J. Pluhar (Glen Carbon, Ill./Aberdeen Wings).
There wouldn’t be a second equalizer, though – Todd Sanden’s team got a two-goal rush in the opening 3:22 of the second period to gain some insurance, with the two tallies coming just 100 seconds apart. Josh Arnold’s (Roseville, Minn./Bismarck Bobcats) low slapshot gave the Bulls the lead they would never relinquish, but the eventual game-winner came from Lucas McKinnon (Mason City, Iowa/Appleton United H.S.). The former Mason City Mohawk won a scramble at the net at the back end of a 3-on-2 rush, as the Bulls looked to take advantage of a delayed penalty against the Steel.
The first official power-play goal of the night came at the 11:34 mark of the period, thanks to the efforts of Tim Kuivinen (Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi H.S.) – Marshall Barnes’ (Edina, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) back-door pass found Kuivinen low in the faceoff circle, and the one-timer pushed the score to 4-1. It wouldn’t stay there long, though – just 1:06 later, Jacob Padley helped Sam Wenner take advantage of a delayed Bulls penalty, finding Wenner in the slot for a one-timer to trim the lead.
Steven Mordini’s (Baraboo, Wis./Team Wisconsin) top-shelf power-play marker with 2:03 left in the period gave the visitors their final goal of the night – North Iowa registered a 10-shots-to-4 advantage in the third, but neither side found the back of the net in the final 20 minutes.
The Bulls won their fourth game in a row behind a stellar night from Pluhar, who stopped 28 of the 30 Steel shots he saw and won his fifth game in an unbeaten season. Veteran New Ulm netminder Nathan Siclovan had 37 saves on 42 North Iowa shots, taking the loss to fall to 6-6-0 and dropping his sixth straight decision after starting the year with six straight wins.
North Iowa is back on the road at the Wisconsin Whalers on Saturday, Dec. 10 in their final contest before the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minn. The opening faceoff in Oregon, Wis. is set for 7 p.m. All Bulls games, home and away are streamed live on HockeyTV, and all Bulls home games plus select road games are audio-streamed live on Mixlr.