MASON CITY, Iowa – The North Iowa Bulls and Aberdeen Wings are known for being two of the fastest-paced teams around. They may not always get the offenses going, but they certainly get shots and create their opportunities.
Both teams got their offenses going on Friday night, cranking out four goals apiece in the opening 20 minutes, but the Wings had the last word for a 7-6 shootout victory at the Mason City Arena. Aberdeen’s victory was its second by shootout this season over North Iowa, and third overall, while the Bulls fell to 1-3 in the skills contest.
Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) got the action started just 62 seconds after the opening faceoff, scrapping a second-chance goal past Dominik Wasik for a 1-0 advantage. Aberdeen was able to tie the game at the 3:21 mark, when Devon Carlstrom found Jackson Yee for a backdoor pass in front of the post, and Yee tossed his shot to the far post to even the game at 1-1.
North Iowa held the game’s only two-goal lead, both on backdoor feeds – Dylan Gajewski (Woodhaven, Mich./Austin Bruins) found Tyler Braccini (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Magicians) at the bottom of the right-wing circle for a go-ahead snap at 4:16 of the period, and Braccini picked the puck off the wall to send it to Justin Mexico (Madison Heights, Mich./Maine Nordiques AAA) on the back door for his own marker just five minutes later.
The lead did not last – Owen DuBois banged in a second-chance goal on an initial shot from Ronan Walsh at 10:29 of the period, and the Wings tied it with 3:26 left in the period when DuBois walked the puck to the front of the crease before sliding it over to Seamus Campbell for a one-timer to make it a 3-3 game.
The teams traded goals again in the final minutes of the period – Anthony Domina’s (Severna Park, Md./Northern Cyclones) pass snuck out above the right-wing circle to Jack Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./North Iowa Bulls), whose wrist shot beat Wasik low to his left for a 4-3 advantage with 2:09 left in the first. With 52 seconds remaining, Aberdeen equalized the game again, blasting a loose puck past Hudson Hodges (Moorhead, Minn./Austin Bruins) with a slap shot from the middle of the slot to tie the game at 4-4.
The Bulls went into the first intermission with a 16-14 shots-on-goal advantage, but the Wings took the lead in the second period when Campbell dragged the puck to Hodges’s glove side and slid it in for a nifty goal just 1:48 out of the intermission. Dombrowsky made his return to the scoring chart at 5:16, just three seconds after North Iowa’s first power play of the night, poking a rebound from Joey Potter’s (Pittsburgh, Pa./Twin City Thunder) initial shot off of an Aberdeen stick and into the net.
The next North Iowa man-advantage was a fortuitous one for the visitors – with Mason Kelly serving a cross-checking minor, Hugo Allais shoveled a backhand chance into the top corner of the cage for a 6-5 Aberdeen lead at 7:29 of the second period. That goal ended Hodges’s night, but the Bulls were not able to wipe away the Aberdeen lead until Brett Morich (Phoenix, Ariz./Jamestown Rebels) rippled the net with a top-corner tally from the edge of the slot at 12:14 of the third.
Both teams got plenty of looks in overtime, with each team notching five shots on goal – the only time the puck got to the back of the net after the end of regulation, though, was on Kyle Gaffney’s top-half goal in the top of the third round of the shootout for Aberdeen. The Bulls got their three chances in the shootout, but were never able to get the puck past Wasik again.
“Obviously, we played pretty well on offense, but we’ve got to tighten it up on the [defensive] side,” said Dombrowsky. “When you score six goals in a game, you should be able to win it. It was nice to get two goals for myself. I had a lot of help from my teammates.”
Dombrowsky led the offense for the Bulls, while Mexico, Mesic and Braccini had a goal and an assist apiece. Gajewski had three assists of his own, while Campbell and DuBois led the Aberdeen effort with two goals and an assist each. Michael Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./Honeybaked 16U) closed out the night without a goal for the Bulls, ending a run of four straight games with a goal, the third North Iowa player to post such a run this season.
Wasik earned the win, making saves on 34 of North Iowa’s 39 shots. Hodges took the no-decision, stopping 14 of the 20 shots that he faced. Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) took on the relief duties, making all 14 saves asked of him entering the shootout. It was the second time this season that Garvey has been saddled with a shootout loss in relief against the Wings, taking over for Carsen Stokes mid-game in the Bulls’ last meeting with Aberdeen on October 23.
With 13 total goals, the game was North Iowa’s highest-scoring in the NAHL era, and its highest-scoring outing of any kind since defeating the Willmar WarHawks 13-3 last October 30 during the team’s final season of NA3HL competition. It was not only the first 7-6 game ever for North Iowa, it was the first time since a 9-6 win at the Twin City Steel on September 29, 2012 that the Bulls have played in a game where both teams scored at least six goals, and the game was also the highest-scoring overtime or shootout contest in franchise history.
The loss drops North Iowa to 15-11-1-3 for the year and boosts Aberdeen’s record to 17-12-0-2, as the Wings regain the third-best points percentage in the division to go along with their third-place slot in the Central Division points standings. The teams battle again on Saturday night at the Mason City Arena, with the opening puck drop slated for 7:30 p.m. and live streaming coverage available on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Saturday’s game is North Iowa’s “Hockey and Heroes” game, with famed D.C. Comics superhero characters set to make an appearance. Advance tickets to Saturday’s game and all upcoming North Iowa home games are currently on sale – to purchase advance tickets to any future Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Aberdeen 4 2 0 0 – 7
North Iowa 4 1 1 0 – 6
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 8 (Gajewski, Campion), 1:02. 2, Aberdeen, Yee 9 (Carlstrom, Campbell), 3:21. 3, North Iowa, Braccini 3 (Gajewski, Mesic), 4:16. 4, North Iowa, Mexico 4 (Braccini), 9:17. 5, Aberdeen, DuBois 5 (Walsh), 10:29. 6, Aberdeen, Campbell 10 (DuBois, Walsh), 16:34. 7, North Iowa, Mesic 4 (Domina, Bulger), 17:51. 8, Aberdeen, DuBois 6 (Davis), 19:08. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-9, Aberdeen, Campbell 11 1:48. 10, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 9 (Potter, Gajewski), 5:16. 11, Aberdeen, Allais 5 (Carlstrom, Davis), 7:29 (SH). Penalties-Walsh Abd (roughing-minor), 3:13; Kelly Abd (cross checking-minor), 6:17; Gaffney Abd (roughing-minor, cross checking-minor), 19:47; Gajewski Nio (roughing-minor), 19:47.
3rd Period-12, North Iowa, Morich 3 (Mexico, Roepke), 12:14. Penalties-No Penalties
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Aberdeen 1 (Campbell NG, Schmuck NG, Gaffney G), North Iowa 0 (Gajewski NG, Mesic NG, Rapalje NG).
Shots on Goal-Aberdeen 14-10-6-5-1-36. North Iowa 16-9-9-5-0-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Aberdeen 0 / 0; North Iowa 0 / 3.
Goalies-Aberdeen, Wasik 10-6-0-1 (39 shots-33 saves). North Iowa, Hodges 9-5-1-0 (20 shots-14 saves); Garvey 11-8-1-3 (15 shots-15 saves).
Linesmen-Cameron Johnson, Jacob Rozenberg.