MASON CITY, Iowa – Saturday’s game between the North Iowa Bulls and Aberdeen Wings was a roller-coaster affair: sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating, but always breathtaking. One night after wrapping up a 3-2 win with three unanswered goals, Aberdeen roared back again with four straight after falling behind 3-0, only to see the Bulls take charge late with three straight of their own in a 6-5 victory.
The win puts both teams at 4-2 for the season, and places the Bulls within a point of first place, with a pair of games against Central Division leader Austin on tap for next week.
North Iowa nearly started with a four-goal lead – a shot from the left wing snuck under the crossbar and popped the water bottle off behind Dominik Wasik, but neither the goal judge nor referee Tyler Hascall signaled a goal, and the Bulls’ scoreless start continued until the 7:41 mark, when Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) beat Wasik right off of a faceoff win by Chris Carroll (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) to take the lead.
They extended the lead with a pair of long-distance goals from a pair of defensemen – Jack Mesic’s (Plymouth, Mich./Amarillo Bulls) shot from the left point tunneled through the traffic in front to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead less than halfway through the opening period. With 6:32 left before the break, Greg Japchen’s (Doylestown, Pa./Amarillo Bulls) toss from the blue line beat Wasik as well, and after seeing just eight shots, Aberdeen head coach Steve Jennings called for backup Kyle Kozma.
Aberdeen began its climb back after that – with just under four minutes left in the period, Jackson Yee played the puck off of Nick Liotino (Commerce Township, Mich./Compuware 18U AAA) looking to center the puck in the North Iowa zone, and the carom beat Carsen Stokes (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) to trim the lead to 3-1. Yee scored again with just 17 seconds remaining in the period, scoring on a rebound in front of the net and giving North Iowa just a one-goal cushion coming out of the opening period.
The Wings took the lead in short order midway through the second – at 9:16, a pass from Owen DuBois down the slot found Maksis Brimanis in front of the net, who pulled it to the right post and threw it in the net to tie the game. Six seconds later, Aberdeen raced into the Bulls’ zone after winning the ensuing faceoff, and the second pass led Landry Schmuck in front of the North Iowa net for a dangle and a 4-3 lead.
North Iowa took the lead back barely six minutes later – the Bulls got several cracks at the tying goal in front of the Aberdeen net before Anthony Domina (Severna Park, Md./Northern Cyclones) stuffed home a third chance at 11:53 of the period. Simone Dadie’s (Brunico, Italy/Okanagan Europe U20) goal with 4:26 left, on an odd-man rush, gave North Iowa the lead they never relinquished.
In fact, the Bulls added on with 4:15 gone in the third, with Hunter Bulger (St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis Blues AAA) splitting the defensemen and burying a forehand to give North Iowa a 6-4 lead. Aberdeen got one back thanks to Jacob Bosse with an extra attacker on the ice, but the hosts defended their one-goal lead for the final 46 seconds, with a pass to the left point fleeing the zone and Ryan Coughlin (Charlotte, N.C./Amarillo Bulls) sprinting down to the Wings end to cover the puck against the boards and run out the time.
“That was a fun weekend,” said Domina. “It felt to get up 3-0, they came back, and we needed to keep our composure, which we did. We came back and finished the game strong.”
The penalty-killing units were exceptional again, registering a 5-for-5 night and a total of 17-for-17 on the weekend between the two teams. Kozma took the loss, making 22 of 25 saves, while Stokes earned his second win behind a 25-save performance.
Dadie earned his first points as a Bull, with two assists to go along with his goal, while four other Bulls posted multi-point nights. Yee enjoyed a two-goal outing for the Wings, while Cade Neilson posted a couple of assists.
The Bulls’ next game against the Austin Bruins will be the first junior hockey game between teams from Mason City and Austin since the North Iowa Huskies and Austin Mavericks faced off in the United States Hockey League in 1985. The opening puck drop at the Mason City Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Single-game tickets are on sale for all North Iowa home games in 2021-22 – to purchase advance tickets to any upcoming Bulls home contest, 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 2 2 1 – 5
North Iowa 3 2 1 – 6
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 4 (Carroll), 7:41. 2, North Iowa, Mesic 2 (Coughlin, Mesic), 9:46. 3, North Iowa, Japchen 4 (Scott, Coughlin), 13:28. 4, Aberdeen, Yee 3 16:09. 5, Aberdeen, Yee 4 (Allais, Neilson), 19:42. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-6, Aberdeen, Brimanis 1 (DuBois), 9:17. 7, Aberdeen, Schmuck 1 (Davis), 9:22. 8, North Iowa, Domina 1 (Dadie, Bulger), 11:53. 9, North Iowa, Dadie 1 (Domina, Scott), 15:34. Penalties-Carlstrom Abd (tripping-minor), 12:50; Mesic Nio (tripping-minor), 13:21.
3rd Period-10, North Iowa, Bulger 1 (Dadie), 4:15. 11, Aberdeen, Bosse 1 (Neilson, Gilson), 19:14. Penalties-Diamond Abd (slashing-minor), 2:02; Dombrowsky Nio (tripping-minor), 10:19; Carlstrom Abd (tripping-minor), 12:56.
Shots on Goal-Aberdeen 7-12-11-30. North Iowa 10-13-10-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Aberdeen 0 / 2; North Iowa 0 / 3.
Goalies-Aberdeen, Wasik 0-0-0-0 (8 shots-5 saves); Kozma 2-2-0-0 (25 shots-22 saves). North Iowa, Stokes 2-0-0-0 (30 shots-25 saves).
Linesmen-Grant Crowell, Dylan Sater.