MASON CITY, Iowa – The North Iowa Bulls and Minot Minotauros had their share of scrapes in their two get-togethers last week in North Dakota. When they got together for their third go-round Friday night at the Mason City Arena, things finally boiled over at the end of the night.
The Bulls earned a 3-2 victory in a game that closed with a full-tilt fracas in front of the penalty boxes, with 100 of the 120 penalty minutes in the contest handed out at the final horn.
North Iowa gained control early in the contest, posting 12 of the game’s first 15 shots on goal. Two of those found the back of the net in a 35-second span – at 5:02 of the first period, Chris Carroll’s (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) pass from the left-wing boards found Byron Hartley (Philadelphia, Pa./Philly Little Flyers 18U) just outside the slot, and with a handful of bodies crossing in front of the net, Hartley was able to zip the puck past Zach Sandy for a 1-0 lead.
“We move the puck really well,” said Hartley. “I feel like all three of us are great passers, so it’s very easy to just whip the puck around and get open for each other. We just have to work on shooting – we can’t have three passers without a shooter.”
At 5:37, the Bulls did it again, with Zach Cline (Chesterfield, Mich./Northeast Generals NAHL) and Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) setting up Justin Mexico (Madison Heights, Mich./Maine Nordiques AAA) for a sharp-angle chance to Sandy’s right – the shot took a fortuitous bounce, catching Sandy in the side of the mask and settling in the net for the 2-0 advantage.
The scoring would pick up in the second period, starting with Cole Mickel’s goal at the three-minute mark – his shot from the top of the right-wing faceoff circle banked off of the vertical support bar at the back of the cage, but referee Connor Harrington immediately spotted the bounce and credited the goal, getting the Minotauros back within a goal.
Dombrowsky put the Bulls back up by two at the 6:39 mark of the period, firing one down the slot and beating Sandy on his glove side to push the lead to 3-1. Dean Schwenninger’s backdoor feed to Zack Simon set up the game’s final goal, a snap from the right half with 6:53 remaining in the second period to cut the Bulls lead again to a single goal.
Neither team found the scoreboard in the third period, with a late power play helping to push the Bulls past Minot in the shots-on-goal department, 38-32. The final sequence of the game saw Schwenninger corral Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) to the ice in front of the benches as time expired, and the two teams took exception and squared off. Scott and Jack Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./Amarillo Bulls) would both pick up game misconducts for fighting after the final horn, as would Schwenninger and Huston Karpman for the visitors.
Just as it was in Minot, the penalty-killing play was stellar from both sides, with the teams combining for a perfect 9-for-9 night on the penalty kill. Sandy took his fourth loss of the season despite a valiant effort in net, making 35 saves on 38 North Iowa shots. Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) pushed his winning streak – and the Bulls’ – to four straight, making 30 saves on 32 Minotauro chances.
The Bulls also extended a couple of impressive scoring streaks, with Hartley registering a goal in his fourth straight game, and Carroll marking his ninth straight game with at least a point. His streak marks the longest such run for a North Iowa Bull since Matt Dahlseide’s 16-game point streak came to a close on December 29, 2018.
The win sends North Iowa to 8-2-0-1 for the season, while the Minotauros slipped to 3-7-1-0, helping the Bulls maintain sole possession of first place in the NAHL’s Central Division in a tight early-season race.
The two teams will face off one more time on Saturday evening, with no further get-togethers scheduled until January. Saturday’s opening puck drop at the Mason City Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Saturday’s game will feature the Bulls’ fall baking contest – fans are encouraged to bake their favorite treats at home and face the judges at Saturday evening’s game. Tickets to Saturday’s game and all upcoming North Iowa home games are available online – to purchase advance tickets to any future Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Minot 0 2 0 – 2
North Iowa 2 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Hartley 4 (Carroll, Scott), 5:02. 2, North Iowa, Mexico 1 (Dombrowsky, Cline), 5:37. Penalties-Charchenko Mnt (high sticking-minor), 16:47.
2nd Period-3, Minot, Mickel 2 (Karpman, Panzer), 3:00. 4, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 5 (Cline, Mesic), 6:39. 5, Minot, Simon 3 (Schwenninger, Stachowiak), 13:07. Penalties-Keller Mnt (tripping-minor), 3:18; Mesic Nio (cross checking-minor), 3:50.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Stacey Nio (slashing-minor), 4:45; Johnson Mnt (roughing-minor), 7:03; Mexico Nio (tripping-minor), 9:34; Cline Nio (interference-minor), 13:15; Karpman Mnt (elbowing-minor), 14:34; Nesburg Mnt (roughing-minor), 17:49; Vlasich Nio (equipment violation-minor), 19:40; Karpman Mnt (fighting-major, fighting (stoppage)-gm), 20:00; Schwenninger Mnt (fighting-major, fighting (stoppage)-gm), 20:00; Mesic Nio (fighting-major, fighting (stoppage)-gm), 20:00; Scott Nio (fighting-major, fighting (stoppage)-gm), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Minot 9-14-9-32. North Iowa 15-13-10-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Minot 0 / 4; North Iowa 0 / 5.
Goalies-Minot, Sandy 0-4-0-0 (38 shots-35 saves). North Iowa, Garvey 4-0-0-1 (32 shots-30 saves).
Linesmen-Grant Hendrich, Reilly Hickey.