MINOT, N.D. – The same winter storm that hit Mason City on Friday night and forced the postponement of the Mason City Toros’ home game hit North Dakota first, dropping 10 inches of snow on the Magic City Thursday night into Friday morning as the North Iowa Bulls arrived for their weekend set against the Minot Minotauros.
As Minot dug itself out on Friday evening, the Minotauros put the North Iowa offense on ice, posting the first nine shots on goal in a 4-1 win and picking up their 20th win of the season.
The Bulls notched their first couple of shots against Austin Zavoda before the Minot offense struck, rescuing a North Iowa clearing attempt before sending a point wrister past Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) and giving the hosts the 1-0 lead with 7:33 left in the period.
Minot wiped away North Iowa’s first power play of the night, but struck with just 15 seconds left on its first man-advantage, following a tripping call against Anthony Domina (Severna Park, Md./Northern Cyclones). With a pair of bodies screening Garvey in front of the net, Colby Joseph let a wrist shot fly from the right-wing faceoff dot, hitting the net inside the back post for a 2-0 lead with 5:32 left on the first-period clock.
The Minotauros went into the first intermission with a 15-6 shots-on-goal advantage and extended it to a 31-19 margin after the second period, but they had only a one-goal lead to work with after 40 minutes. With Christian Kadolph serving a tripping infraction of his own, Greg Japchen (Doylestown, Pa./Amarillo Bulls) muscled home a one-timer from Michael Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./Honeybaked 16U) at the right-wing circle, sneaking a shot past Zavoda with 3:03 left in the period to trim the margin to 2-1.
“It was nice. Honestly, I have no idea how it went through,” said Japchen. “I just kind of closed my eyes and shot it. It’s nice to score, just to get a little momentum for the team after that.”
With the momentum in the balance heading into the third period, the Minotauros made their move at 7:44 of the third period when Kade Nielsen took a backdoor pass from Connor McGrath and snapped in a wrist shot to stretch the lead back to two goals. With a delayed penalty to the Bulls and an extra attacker on the ice, Joseph added a second goal to his haul with 3:14 to go, giving the ‘Tauros their final three-goal lead.
One final skirmish between the teams saw 40 penalty minutes handed out, with 22 going to Minot’s Huston Karpman for roughing and pulling Garvey’s mask off in the fracas. An extra cross-checking call to Andrew Stacey (Toledo, Ohio/Tri-State Spartans 18U AAA), however, allowed the Minotauros to close the game on one final power play.
“It’s definitely a disappointment,” said Japchen. “We’d like to get the two points, especially since our division is really tight.”
The Minotauros finished the night with a 47-27 shots-on-goal advantage, and went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Bulls posted their own 1-for-4 mark with the extra man on the ice. Garvey made 43 saves in taking the loss, while Zavoda made 26 saves to earn the win in his first North American Hockey League start. The 43 saves marks Garvey’s third-highest mark of the season, just behind a 45-save effort against the Minotauros on October 9 that was briefly a career-high.
Despite the loss, Friday’s game was circled on the calendar for Stacey as well, celebrating his 19th birthday in the contest against the Minotauros.
North Iowa heads into Saturday’s rematch with a 15-12-1-4 mark, while Minot improved to 20-14-1-0 for the season. The teams get together again Saturday night for an 8:05 p.m. matchup at the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena. Live streaming coverage of Saturday’s game is available on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Advance tickets are on sale for all upcoming North Iowa home games – to purchase tickets to any future 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.
North Iowa 0 1 0 – 1
Minot 2 0 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Minot, Mickel 8 12:27. 2, Minot, Joseph 11 (Johnson, Johnson), 14:28 (PP). Penalties-Stachowiak Mnt (hooking-minor), 10:10; Domina Nio (tripping-minor), 12:43.
2nd Period-3, North Iowa, Japchen 7 (Mesic, Vlasich), 16:58 (PP). Penalties-Johnson Mnt (tripping-minor), 7:47; Morich Nio (holding-minor), 13:22; Kadolph Mnt (tripping-minor), 16:06.
3rd Period-4, Minot, Nielsen 4 (Karpman, McGrath), 7:44 (PP). 5, Minot, Joseph 12 (Skinner, Charchenko), 16:46. Penalties-Dombrowsky Nio (holding-minor), 3:08; Mexico Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 6:41; Urtis Mnt (high sticking-minor), 8:54; Gajewski Nio (slashing-minor), 16:46; Garvey Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 18:18; Stacey Nio (cross checking-minor, roughing-minor), 18:18; Vlasich Nio (roughing-minor), 18:18; Karpman Mnt (roughing-minor, removing opp helmet-gm), 18:18; Stachowiak Mnt (roughing-minor), 18:18.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 6-13-8-27. Minot 15-16-16-47.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 4; Minot 2 / 5.
Goalies-North Iowa, Garvey 11-9-1-4 (47 shots-43 saves). Minot, Zavoda 1-0-0-0 (27 shots-26 saves).
Linesmen-Gabe Halonen, Odin Nelson.