March 4, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
March 5, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
VFW Sports Center – Bismarck, ND
NORTH IOWA BULLS (21-19-2-4)
@ BISMARCK BOBCATS (20-23-1-2)
BULLS vs. BISMARCK ALL-TIME: 3-5-0
IN A NUTSHELL:
North Iowa looks to avenge a rocky weekend against the Bobcats in Mason City two weeks ago, and climb the Central Division standings.
NEXT HOME GAME:
The Bulls welcome the Austin Bruins to the River City on Friday, March 11 to begin the home stretch with “Reading Stampede” night, including a book exchange at the game and a raffle for a Dr. Seuss collection. Fans can also bring in books to donate ahead of game day and receive $1 off their admission for each book they bring in (up to a $5 discount per ticket).
BACK “2” BACK:
For the first time since before Thanksgiving, North Iowa is officially on a winning streak – Saturday’s victory over the Jr. Blues provided a few milestones in the 2021-22 campaign for the Bulls, also marking the team’s first weekend sweep of a single opponent since the Veterans’ Day holiday against the Austin Bruins, and the first road sweep of an opponent since early October against the Minot Minotauros. The wins put North Iowa right in the thick of the Central Division playoff race, with four teams jammed up within four points of each other, while St. Cloud and Bismarck bookend the leaderboard.
YOU’RE A DUTCHMAN, JOEY:
North Iowa has its next college commitment, with defenseman Joey Potter announcing his commitment to NCAA Division I Union College this week. Potter is one of five players on the North Iowa roster with an NCAA Division I commitment, and fourth Bull to make a Division I announcement this season. He has two more seasons of junior eligibility after this year, and will eventually join fellow Bulls blueliner Greg Japchen on the Dutchmen roster.
The future is bright for both groups in this weekend’s matchup, as the Bulls and Bismarck ice two of the three youngest teams in the North American Hockey League – only the Chippewa Steel, with three 2004-born players and a dozen 2003-born players on hand this season, have rostered a younger group. Michael Mesic continues his strong run, with points in five of his last six games – with 42 points, he not only leads the Bulls in scoring, but is the highest-scoring 17-year-old in the NAHL, ahead of Corpus Christi’s Stepan Kuznetsov and his 27 points.
IT’S MY TIME:
North Iowa has another forward getting on a hot streak at just the right time – Jake LaRusso has posted points in six of his last seven games, including a goal and two assists in the Bulls’ 4-2 win on February 5 at Austin. Nearly a third of his 25 points this season have come in that span, pushing him into seventh on the Bulls’ team scoring chart.
LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT:
Lost in the excitement of last Saturday’s hat trick for Dylan Gajewski – his second of the season against Springfield – were two important games for a pair of unsung Bulls. Max Scott and Andrew Stacey posted a pair of assists apiece in the 5-3 victory that secured the weekend sweep – for Scott, the two points marked his first with the Bulls since December 3, thanks to a two-month stint that began with a call-up to the USHL’s Lincoln Stars and ended with a brief sojourn to the injured list. The two assists also pushed him to his first multi-point game since October 22 at Aberdeen, while Stacey’s two assists gave him his first multi-point outing at the junior level.
A HOT TEAM IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT:
With St. Cloud’s loss last Saturday, Bismarck now takes over the mantle of the Central Division’s hottest team, winning five straight heading into the weekend. Brady Egan has led the charge for them, with seven goals in those five games. In four games against North Iowa, Egan has notched six goals and three assists, including a hat trick in the Bobcats’ 6-2 win at North Iowa on February 18.