Game Highlights presented by the Best Western Holiday Lodge of Clear Lake
MASON CITY, Iowa – The North Iowa Bulls’ winning streak is now at seven games, after putting away a pair of wins against the La Crosse Freeze, who currently stand in second place in the NA3HL’s Central Division. Special teams were a major part of Friday night’s contest in La Crosse, with each team scoring a pair of powerplay goals in a 5-2 Bulls win. Caylen Dyni (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac H.S.) tallied with the extra man in the first period, before J.P. Eykyn notched an equalizer on the man-advantage just 40 seconds into the second. A North Iowa flurry later in the second period, with a pair of goals from Owen Larson (Edina, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) and a goal from Mitch Parsons (Grandville, Mich./North Iowa Bulls) turned a 1-1 stalemate into a 4-1 onslaught in barely two minutes. Josh Benson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area H.S.) earned his second win in a Bulls uniform, stopping 30 of the Freeze’s 32 shots, while Brendan Pasdo took the loss with 32 saves in his La Crosse debut.
Owen Larson scores two goals in 15 seconds
The Bulls set out to take control of Saturday’s contest with early goals, and they did it in triplicate, starting in the first period on Marshall Barnes‘s (Edina, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) blast from the right faceoff circle just 2:46 into the period. In the second period, though, the offense got clicking again, starting with Kristian Kause‘s (Tampere, Finland/Ilves) rebound tap-in at the 2:05 mark. Only an unassisted Sam Dabrowski goal at 3:27 was able to slow the Bulls’ momentum, as Dabrowski tucked one just inside the post to the left of Brady Meyers (Rochester, Minn./John Marshall H.S.). The second period was a heated one, with most of the stanza played on a 2-1 score. The game turned into a runaway with a pair of Sean Mallonee (Kennewick, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) goals at 16:09 and 16:59 of the period, and Connor Clemons (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) ripped one past Taylor Thompson with 2:04 left on the clock to send the game to the third with a 5-1 score.
“The game went in a similar trend to [Friday] night,” said head coach Todd Sanden. “We really carried the play in the first and only had one goal to show for it, and we went into the locker room and talked to the kids. We were excited with the way we were playing, and we wanted to tweak a couple of things, just getting pucks up the rink a little bit quicker. In the second period, we scored four and came out of there with a pretty sizable lead.”
Thompson wouldn’t remain in the game much longer – Mike Lyons (Wheaton, Ill.) hit the back of the net with a laser from the right point at 1:47 of the third for his first of the year, and Dyni got one in underneath the first-time Freeze netminder just 32 seconds later to push the lead to 7-1. Enter Pasdo, who would be beaten only once the rest of the way, on Kause’s power play goal at 7:45 of the period.
Meyers moved his record with the Bulls to 3-1, stuffing 20 of La Crosse’s 21 shots in the game. Kause and Mallonee each ended up the night with four points, including a pair of goals apiece.
“The difference was our discipline, which was more evident tonight,” said Sanden. “We had a couple of matching minors with no loss of manpower, but I thought our kids really managed that part of the game, which just gives us more success. La Crosse is a good hockey team, and if we allow them continued opportunities on the power play they’re going to find a way to beat us.”
North Iowa now stands at 9-2-0 on the year, with wins in all six home games so far. The Bulls head on the road for a three-game series at Chicago next weekend at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville, Ill. The Bulldogs will host the Bulls at the same arena where North Iowa finished its magical Silver Cup run back in April, starting with Friday night’s contest at 8 p.m. North Iowa returns to “The Barn” to start a home-and-home weekend on Friday, Oct. 28 with “Fright Night at The Barn” against the Rochester Ice Hawks. All Bulls games are streamed live on HockeyTV, with audio-streaming of Bulls home games and select road games on Mixlr.