NEW ULM, Minn. – The North Iowa Bulls spent much of their Friday-Saturday home set against the Granite City Lumberjacks as the team being hunted. On four different occasions, North Iowa grabbed the lead, and on four different occasions Granite City swiped it from them.
The matchup was different on Sunday, and the circumstances changed with it. This time, the Bulls were the hunters, as New Ulm took the lead five separate times on the way to a 6-5 win at the New Ulm Civic Center.
The scoring started at 7:27 of the first period following a shot from Joey Gimberlin at the right point – his shot bounced off of Zach Maillette in front of the net, with Jake Saver getting the last scrape on the puck for a 1-0 lead.
Carter Newpower (Cottage Grove, Minn./Park H.S.) teamed up with Carson Jones (Eden Prairie, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) to tie the game with 5:51 left in the period, sliding a pass to Jones at the left-wing faceoff dot for a quick rip to the back of the net.
52 seconds later, New Ulm got the lead back thanks to a neutral-zone turnover and a rush from Gimberlin to grab the 2-1 advantage with just under five minutes remaining in the period.
North Iowa tied it again with 1:49 left in the period on a short-side wrister from Cal Nauss (Wayzata, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) in the left-wing faceoff circle, but New Ulm entered the intermission with a 3-2 lead, thanks to a snap from Josh DeLange that beat Max Gutjahr (Appleton, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) on his glove side with 1:10 showing on the first-period clock.
The teams went more than halfway through the second period before North Iowa tied it yet again – 50 seconds through a boarding penalty to DeLange, Nauss fired a well-screened shot to Griffin Foster’s right ti tie the game at 3-3.
This time, the teams would trade power play goals – after a tripping whistle against Jase Sofo (Sylvania, Ohio/Amarillo Bulls) with 6:53 remaining in the period, Nate Looft walked the puck to the top corner of the right-wing circle and picked up a goal of his own at 13:44 to take another one-goal lead.
Jones faced up and banged one in off the crossbar with 5:20 to go in the second, giving the Bulls their fourth tie of the game. However, DeLange had himself a very productive shift with the time winding down in the period. Maillette hit DeLange on the right wing on an odd-man rush with 3:25 remaining in the period to make it 5-4, and his shot from the left point clipped James Spaargaren’s stick for the insurance goal just 17 seconds later.
That goal spelled the end of Gutjahr’s night, but the scoring rush wasn’t quite finished – a long-distance shot from Campbell Cichosz (Albert Lea, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) along the left wing popped up in front off of Foster, and Jack Campion (Crystal, Minn./Armstrong-Cooper H.S.) sprawled out to sweep home the second chance with 2:13 to go in the period.
The way the first 40 minutes went, it seemed the scoring was destined to stay ramped up in the final period. However, the offenses finally ran out of gas in the last 20 minutes, with 170-plus minutes of hockey in the books already for the Bulls on the weekend and an emotional overtime loss for New Ulm the previous night.
The teams combined for 15 shots in the third period, but neither team returned to the scoreboard. Gutjahr took his first regulation loss as a North Iowa Bull, making 12 saves on 18 chances before leaving after Spaargaren’s goal. Carsen Stokes (Prior Lake, Minn./Minnesota Wilderness) made all seven saves he was tasked with in relief. Foster made 32 saves to bump his record to 4-5-1 with the victory.
The six Steel goals against North Iowa tied an all-time high for the franchise’s New Ulm era, dating back to 2016. DeLange scored his first two goals as a junior hockey player, after settling for just two assists over his first 17 appearances.
For North Iowa, Newpower and Jones tallied three points apiece, with Jones now firmly in the team scoring lead with 18 goals and 33 total points. Nauss finished with two goals of his own, sitting at 30 points heading into the final four weeks of the regular season.
The Bulls get set for another three-game week next weekend, with a home game against the Willmar WarHawks on Thursday night and a Saturday-Sunday visit to the Willmar Civic Center. Thursday’s puck drop at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
Updated news and information on the North Iowa Bulls’ 10th Anniversary season are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
North Iowa 2 3 0 – 5
New Ulm 3 3 0 – 6
1st Period-1, New Ulm, Saver 2 (Looft, Gimberlin), 7:27. 2, North Iowa, Jones 17 (Newpower, Sullivan), 14:09. 3, New Ulm, Gimberlin 7 15:01. 4, North Iowa, Nauss 7 (Newpower, Sullivan), 18:11. 5, New Ulm, Delange 1 (Stormer), 18:50. Penalties-Kaneko Nio (boarding-minor), 12:33; Jones Nio (delay of game-minor), 19:57; Lillico Num (delay of game-minor), 19:57.
2nd Period-6, North Iowa, Nauss 8 (Isogai, Jones), 10:32 (PP). 7, New Ulm, Looft 2 (Spaargaren, Stormer), 13:44 (PP). 8, North Iowa, Jones 18 (Newpower, Jorgenson), 14:40. 9, New Ulm, Delange 2 (Maillette, Spaargaren), 16:35. 10, New Ulm, Spaargaren 14 (Delange), 16:52. 11, North Iowa, Campion 12 (Cichosz), 17:47. Penalties-Zowin Num (roughing-minor), 5:43; Delange Num (boarding-minor), 9:42; Sofo Nio (tripping-minor), 13:07.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Mohs-Messerli Nio (slashing-minor), 1:47.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 10-18-9-37. New Ulm 10-10-5-25.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 2; New Ulm 1 / 3.
Goalies-North Iowa, Gutjahr 4-0-1-0 (18 shots-12 saves); Stokes 0-3-0-0 (7 shots-7 saves). New Ulm, Foster 4-5-1-0 (37 shots-32 saves).
Linesmen-Colton Capelle, Evan Davis.