February 4, 2021 – 7:30 p.m. (Mason City Arena – Mason City, IA)
February 5, 2022 – 7:05 p.m. (Riverside Arena – Austin, MN)
AUSTIN BRUINS (22-14-1-2)
vs. NORTH IOWA BULLS (18-15-1-4)
BULLS vs. AUSTIN ALL-TIME: 4-3-1
IN A NUTSHELL:
North Iowa welcomes its border rival in hopes of keeping pace in the Central Division standings.
The Bulls are heating up a cold River City with their “Friday Night Fever” promotion, with a $45 ticket package featuring two game tickets and 10 beer tickets. All beers have been marked down to $3, and the team’s “Drink From a New Cup” shirts will sell for the temperature as of 6:30 p.m. as the doors open (with a minimum of $8 for an 8º degree temperature or below).
NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
North Iowa will have a new face on the roster at the NAHL’s Top Prospects event on Monday and Tuesday – Byron Hartley was chosen to replace an injured Carter Rapalje on the Central Division team, while the addition of a Selects team and the National Team Development Program’s U17 team led to Michael Mesic’s move to the new Selects roster. Monday’s first two games will pit those two new additions against each other at 12:30 p.m., while the Central and Midwest Divisions face off at 3 p.m. The Selects open Tuesday morning with an 8 a.m. start against the Midwest Division, and the Central Division all-stars face the South Division team in the next game at 10:30 a.m.
Power play numbers are climbing across the league, and that includes North Iowa – though the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks remain the only team behind the Bulls in the league’s power play rankings, North Iowa has picked up goals on the man-advantage in three of their last four games. The Bulls are 3-for-their-last-14 on the power play, a mark that would put them among the league’s 10 best for the season. The Bruins’ penalty kill remains the last frontier for the Bulls’ power play to conquer, with Austin keeping its neighbor to the south off the board in each of the Bulls’ 26 power play chances so far this season.
THE IRON HORSE:
North Iowa has turned to an “old reliable” in net this season to gather up minutes and keep the puck out of the net – Hunter Garvey picked up decisions in all three games last weekend, posting 105 saves over three nights. Garvey has been a steadfast standby in the Bulls’ net this season, posting his first decision as a North Iowa Bull in the team’s October 1 shootout loss to the Bruins – since then, he has come off the ice with 29 of his team’s 32 decisions, including a pair in relief against Aberdeen. Garvey won four games last season for the Amarillo Bulls, making the move to North Iowa with the team.