BREEZY POINT, Minn. – North Iowa has just about completed its climb to the top of the NA3HL West Division, with only percentage points standing in the way after a 7-1 win Saturday night at the Breezy Point North Stars. The Bulls have now tied the Granite City Lumberjacks at the top of the division with 28 points, and are two points ahead of the Rochester Grizzlies. However, with games in hand for each team, North Iowa remains in third place by winning percentage.
After scoring goals in his last four games, Jarod Blackowiak (Eden Prairie, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) decided to put the momentum on North Iowa’s side right away, taking a pass out of the corner from Harrison Stewart (Rockford, Ill./Milwaukee Jr. Admirals) and delivering a one-timer past Lane Fox just 1:35 into the game.
5:07 into the game, Lucas Brockman hit Carson Simon with a rinkwide pass, setting up Simon’s snipe from the right wing to tie the game. Just 48 seconds later, though, Evan Junker (Elk River, Minn./Elk River H.S.) hit Blackowiak with a feed from the blue line, and the second-year Bulls forward put it away to take the lead for good.
However, the Bulls were far from done – Joey Petronack’s (White Bear Lake, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) toe drag on his way up the left wing drew two defenders, opening up Cam Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) on a centering pass, and North Iowa went to the locker room up 3-1.
Petronack found himself on a line with former high school teammate Scott Moyer (Stillwater, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) in his junior debut Saturday, and Moyer notched his first Bulls goal on a centering pass from his old Pioneers teammate just over four minutes into the second period.
Already up 4-1, the usual suspects made another appearance for Todd Sanden’s team later on – a toss from Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) to the net found Peter Verstegen (Oshkosh, Wis./North Iowa Bulls) on the doorstep for a tally just before the halfway point of the period.
With 5:23 left on the second-period clock, Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) capitalized on a turnover inside the Breezy Point zone, picking his way through the traffic before ripping one past Fox to push the lead to 6-1.
A roughing penalty on Stewart with just under nine minutes left opened another shorthanded scoring chance for the Bulls. Nick Bowlin (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan H.S.) picked the pocket of Reid Morin at the North Iowa blue line before sprinting the other direction and scoring on a backhand on the breakaway to cap the scoring with 7:50 to go. That goal game one night after Bowlin notched his first junior goal for the Bulls in an 8-1 win.
Evan Babekuhl (Long Lake, Minn./Orono H.S.) pushed his record back into winning territory, moving to 4-3-0-0 on the season with his 13 saves. Fox had 43 saves in the loss, dropping to 0-4-0-0 with the defeat.
With his pair of goals on Saturday night, Blackowiak pushed his goal-scoring streak to five straight games, with a dozen goals over that stretch. Studioso’s active run is up to 11 games with at least one point, tallying multiple points in his last five straight.
Dahlseide’s point-scoring streak also rose to seven games, but Jimmy McDermott’s (Dubuque, Iowa/Wisconsin Whalers) point streak came to an end at eight games, all with at least a pair of points. With that shorthanded tally in the third period, the Bulls have now scored eight goals while down a man, and allowed only 10 goals on opposing teams’ power plays. North Iowa has killed 31 of its last 33 power-play chances since their first home meeting with the North Stars on October 19.
The Bulls’ winning streak is now at nine games heading to the Thanksgiving holiday, and North Iowa now stands at 14-5-0-0 for the season. Breezy Point slipped to 3-15-2-0 with the loss. North Iowa returns home to face the Alexandria Blizzard on Friday, with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at the North Iowa Ice Arena and live streaming coverage on HockeyTV. Free audio streaming will also be available on Mixlr.
Friday’s game is Black Friday, with merchandise and concession specials throughout the night. The game also marks the Bulls’ Military Appreciation Night as we give thanks to those who have served to protect our country and our freedoms. For advance tickets to Friday’s game or any future North Iowa Bulls home game, click here.
North Iowa 3 3 1 – 7
Breezy Point 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Blackowiak 12 (Stewart, Studioso), 1:35. 2, Breezy Point, Simon 10 (Brockman), 5:07. 3, North Iowa, Blackowiak 13 (Junker, Studioso), 5:55. 4, North Iowa, Fagerlee 9 (Petronack, Dahlseide), 11:17 (PP). Penalties-Brockman Bzp (slashing-minor), 7:36; Hoheisel Bzp (hooking-minor), 10:02; Bogach Nio (roughing-minor), 13:01; Brockman Bzp (roughing-minor), 13:01; Borseth Bzp (roughing-minor), 15:15; Johnson Nio (roughing-minor), 15:51.
2nd Period-5, North Iowa, Moyer 1 (Petronack, Taraszewski), 4:05. 6, North Iowa, Verstegen 16 (Dahlseide, Bogach), 9:25. 7, North Iowa, Studioso 11 (Dahlseide, Petronack), 14:37. Penalties-Rozman Nio (high sticking-minor), 0:32; McDermott Nio (hooking-minor), 5:18; Verstegen Nio (slashing-minor), 6:00; Simon Bzp (unsportsmanlike conduct-gm (gesture)), 6:00.
3rd Period-8, North Iowa, Bowlin 2 12:10 (SH). Penalties-Blackowiak Nio (roughing-minor), 7:19; Bourassa Bzp (slashing-minor), 7:19; Stewart Nio (roughing-minor), 11:09; Hoheisel Bzp (high sticking-minor), 13:53; McDermott Nio (roughing-double minor, unsportsmanlike conduct – 10 minute), 15:34; Evers Bzp (roughing-double minor, unsportsmanlike conduct – 10 minute), 15:34.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 22-14-14-50. Breezy Point 2-9-3-14.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 4; Breezy Point 0 / 5.
Goalies-North Iowa, Babekuhl 4-3-0-0 (14 shots-13 saves). Breezy Point, Fox 0-4-0-0 (50 shots-43 saves).
Linesmen-Brennan Hockman, Glenn Hagberg.