MASON CITY, Iowa – On “Teddy Bear Toss” Night, tradition dictates that the home crowd tosses its stuffed toys onto the ice after the first home goal. There’s always the question of when that will happen, though, or if the visiting goalie will “Grinch” the home team with a shutout
North Iowa didn’t have to wait long on Friday night, thanks to Nick Bowlin (Woodbury, Minn./North Iowa Bulls). A rebound goal by the second-year Bull just 45 seconds into the contest made the wait a quick one for the home fans, and kicked off an active scoring night as the Bulls turned aside the New Ulm Steel by a 6-3 count in the final Friday night contest at the “Barn.”
Bowlin was able to bang in the extra chance, sending dozens of bears over the glass and onto the rink, which will be donated to the Salvation Army and Toys For Tots. The extra chance came shortly after a faceoff in the New Ulm end, with Jack Kubitz (Orono, Minn./Orono H.S.) mailing one toward the net from the top of the offensive zone.
New Ulm got one back at 7:40 mark of the first, though, as Jacob Halvorson snuck one under the crossbar to square the game at 1-1. The Bulls got the lead right back, though – with 7:07 showing on the clock, a long one-timer from Harrison Stewart (Rockford, Ill./Amarillo Bulls) at the left point caught Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/Okanagan U20) in front, and Isogai was able to redirect the puck for the go-ahead goal.
The momentum shifted to the Steel early in the second period, though – New Ulm briefly grabbed the lead after a tying goal from Keegan Bauman at 1:01 of the period, putting one back in off of an initial try from Parker Dorn. A goal from Michael Savelkoul beat Evan Babekuhl (Long Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) over the shoulder at the 3:53 mark, giving the Steel a 3-2 lead.
Head coach Todd Sanden opted to make the switch at that point, sending Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./North Iowa Bulls) into the net in Babekuhl’s stead. Skinner went right to work, stopping all nine shots the rest of the way for his eighth win of the season.
North Iowa’s offense needed to do its part to get him there, though. Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) came up with the equalizer from A.J. Cohen’s left side right off of a faceoff at 5:42 of the second period, tying the game at 3-3.
The eventual game-winner came from Justin Daly (Delano, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) on a left-wing snipe with 1:42 to go in the period, finding a small seam on Cohen’s blocker side for a lead, scoring a power play goal just 12 seconds after a cross checking penalty to Tommy Broten.
Carter Wagner (Lino Lakes, Minn./Odessa Jackalopes) gave the hosts a final exclamation mark, scoring two goals just 64 seconds apart late in the third. The latter of those two goals, with just 5:01 left, was an equally impressive sneak past Zac Hattan on his glove side.
Wagner closed out the night with the game’s only multi-goal showing, while Stewart came up big with three assists. Nico Aguilera (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South H.S.) wasn’t far behind, with two of his own. Halvorson and Bauman had an assist apiece on top of their goals for New Ulm.
“We wanted to get it back (after the losses to New Ulm in October),” said Wagner. “It always helps to have the extra points in the standings.”
The game was North Iowa’s 100th and final Friday night home game in the North Iowa Ice Arena, with only their game next Saturday against the Alexandria Blizzard remaining before the team moves downtown to a new arena under construction at Southbridge Mall. All-time, the Bulls won 82 of their Friday night matchups at the “Barn,” and losing just 14 in regulation.
The Bulls moved to 18-3-1-0 on the season, and avenged a weekend sweep at the hands of the Steel back in October. New Ulm fell to 8-6-2-1 with the loss. The two teams rekindle their rivalry again Saturday evening when the Bulls make the trek north to the New Ulm Civic Center. The opening puck drop on the Steel’s home ice is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. To purchase advance tickets to future Bulls home games, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
New Ulm 1 2 0 – 3
North Iowa 2 2 2 – 6
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Bowlin 7 (Kubitz, Stewart), 0:46. 2, New Ulm, Halvorson 10 (Lillico), 7:41. 3, North Iowa, Isogai 9 (Stewart, Roitman), 12:51. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-4, New Ulm, Bauman 10 (Dorn), 1:00. 5, New Ulm, Savelkoul 5 (Bauman, Halvorson), 3:53. 6, North Iowa, Dahlseide 12 (Bowlin), 5:42. 7, North Iowa, Daly 2 (Stewart), 18:19 (PP). Penalties-Callahan Nio (interference-minor), 12:48; Zowin Num (slashing-minor), 17:32; Wagner Nio (slashing-minor), 17:32; Broten Num (cross checking-minor), 18:07; Fennell Num (roughing-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 18:31; Daly Nio (roughing-minor, cross checking-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 18:31.
3rd Period-8, North Iowa, Wagner 5 (Aguilera, Nauss), 13:56. 9, North Iowa, Wagner 6 (Roo, Aguilera), 14:59. Penalties-Smidt Num (head contact-minor), 9:41; Bauman Num (abuse of official-10 misc), 16:28; Halvorson Num (tripping-minor), 16:28; Savelkoul Num (abuse of official-10 misc), 19:19.
Shots on Goal-New Ulm 6-7-6-19. North Iowa 13-6-8-27.
Power Play Opportunities-New Ulm 0 / 2; North Iowa 1 / 3.
Goalies-New Ulm, Cohen 3-3-1-1 (27 shots-21 saves). North Iowa, Babekuhl 5-1-0-0 (10 shots-7 saves); Skinner 8-1-1-0 (9 shots-9 saves).
Linesmen-Reid Schroeder, Calvin Stace Alvarado.