April 8, 2022 – 7:30 p.m.
April 9, 2022 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Arena – Mason City, IA
BISMARCK BOBCATS (25-27-1-3)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (22-24-4-6)
BULLS vs. BISMARCK ALL-TIME: 3-7-0
NORTH IOWA MEDIA NOTES: FRIDAY | SATURDAY
IN A NUTSHELL:
Both teams will battle for their Robertson Cup playoff lives this weekend, while hunting for some help from the division’s top team.
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS:
The Bulls return home Friday for “Room and Boarding” night, with $5 admission for college students with a valid student ID – lifelong learners of all ages 21 and up get domestic beers for just $3. Saturday, North Iowa welcomes some up-and-coming young members of the community with the Bulls’ “Junior Community Partner Night,” with $5 tickets for area 4-H club members, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Admission for their families is only $7.
HIGH-FIVE FOR HARTLEY:
North Iowa forward Byron Hartley’s scoring streak continues, after earning last week’s Central Division Star of the Week award. With an assist in each game last week, Hartley is up to five straight games with a point, tied for the second-longest point streak on the roster this season. The Philly native has nine points over his last eight games, scoring points in seven of the eight. Earlier this year, he posted 15 points in a 10-game span, with points in eight of those 10 outings.
IN IT TO WIN IT:
Last Friday’s loss to St. Cloud ended a five-game point streak for North Iowa, its longest since November 20 and just one game short of tying a season-high. Few NAHL teams have spent as much time in such close quarters as the Bulls, with 37 of the 56 games this season decided by one or two goals – only Aberdeen (43) and Lone Star (38) have played more games to a one-goal or two-goal conclusion. Four of the 10 meetings between the Bulls and Bobcats have been one- or two-goal games, but none has gone to overtime.
THIS IS IT:
Both teams are chasing the fourth-place Minot Minotauros, and time is of the essence, with North Iowa and Bismarck both five points back of the final playoff spot and four games remaining. The Bulls do have a little extra cushion in the race, by virtue of their head-to-head series with Minot – the Minotauros have already clinched the head-to-head race with Bismarck, winning seven of the 10 meetings this season, putting their elimination number at three points. North Iowa won five of their eight meetings with the ‘Tauros, meaning if the Bulls win out in their final four games, Minot would have to pick up four points to assure their spot in the postseason. Minot faces the division champion St. Cloud Norsemen this weekend before facing Bismarck again next week.
‘BOUT THE BOBCATS:
Bismarck charged back from a three-game losing skid with a huge offensive night on Saturday, defeating the Aberdeen Wings by a 7-4 count – the Bobcats built a 5-1 lead with 5:47 left in the second period before the Wings scored two in the final 43 seconds of the period. Ryan Taylor had two goals and two assists to headline the Bismarck effort. Bismarck has picked up points in every other game through their last nine outings, dating back to their home win over the Bulls on March 5. Oskar Spinnars Nordin, who has won seven of his eight decisions against North Iowa this year, has been an iron man in net, playing in all of the Bobcats’ last 24 games with Ben Behrens out of the lineup.