January 21, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
January 22, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
VFW Sports Center – Bismarck, ND
NORTH IOWA BULLS (16-12-1-4)
@ BISMARCK BOBCATS (12-19-1-2)
BULLS vs. BISMARCK ALL-TIME: 2-2-0
NORTH IOWA MEDIA NOTES: FRIDAY | SATURDAY
NAHL STAT PACKS: FRIDAY | SATURDAY
IN A NUTSHELL:
North Iowa returns to Bismarck in the hunt for its first-ever win at the V.F.W. Sports Center.
NEXT HOME GAME:
North Iowa returns home to face the St. Cloud Norsemen on January 27 for their only Thursday night home game of the regular season, and the Bulls’ “Business Break” Night, with two free tickets to each Mason City Chamber of Commerce member. Adult tickets have been marked down to $5, with free kids’ admission, and domestic beers marked down to $2. That game will help break up a long road stretch for the Bulls, with nine road games out of 11.
MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME:
The Bulls’ task this evening will be to bring home the first win for a road team in the head-to-head series – the home team has won all of the first four meetings, starting with 6-4 and 6-3 wins for North Iowa back in November. Carter Rapalje earned Central Division Star of the Week honors that weekend with five goals, including a career-best four in the Friday night affair. Bismarck came back with a pair of wins at home right before Christmas, scoring five goals each night and going 3-for-7 on the power play in Saturday’s game. Rapalje enters the weekend as the league’s number-six goal scorer with 19 markers, and two above Cade Neilson’s 17 goals thus far for Aberdeen.
BODY BY JAKE:
The reigning Central Division Star of the Week is set to take the ice in this week’s series as the Bulls look to slow down Jake McLean, who picked up four goals and an assist in the Bobcats’ sweep of the Aberdeen Wings last weekend. He enters the weekend with 30 points, leading the way for the Bobcats through 34 games. North Iowa greatly appreciates the Bobcats’ contributions, as the Wings’ Saturday loss coupled with North Iowa’s win allowed the Bulls to climb back within a point of third place in the Central Division standings with a game in hand on Aberdeen, and take back the number-three spot in the division’s points-percentage rankings.
Two assists in last Saturday’s win at Minot allowed Michael Mesic to take back the top spot on the Bulls’ scoring leaderboard, entering the contest with 29 points. He scored two of the Bulls’ four goals in their last weekend visit to Bismarck, and heads into the night with goals in three straight meetings with the Bobcats.
ALL IT TAKES IS ONE:
Hudson Hodges got plenty of work in North Iowa’s most recent outing, but he is officially a winning goaltender in a Bulls uniform, following a 39-save effort last Saturday at the Minotauros. He came to the Bulls just before the end of 2021, making his North Iowa debut January 7 and taking a no-decision with 14 saves in a shootout loss to Aberdeen. The 39 saves marks a season-high for Hodges, narrowly missing the 40-save mark for only the second time in his junior career. That career-best came in his very first junior game, a 44-save loss against the Wings on November 28, 2020.