BLAINE, Minn. – North Iowa took to the ice on Tuesday at the Super Rink and made an immediate mark on their contest against the Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles, with a goal just 37 seconds into the contest. They left the ice at the end of a 12-0 win hoping they’d left some impressions that will remain well into March.
Harrison Stewart (Rockford, Ill./Amarillo Bulls) had the initial goal, firing one in from the middle of the slot in front of Thomas Held, giving North Iowa the initial lead. Justin Daly (Delano, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) entered the score sheet at the 5:01 mark, after Sean Sullivan’s (Middleton, Wis./Madison Capitols 18U) shot from the left point rebounded out in front. Daly tucked the second chance under the crossbar, doubling the Bulls’ lead.
Just over three minutes later, Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/Okanagan U20) grabbed the puck off of a faceoff to Held’s right and whipped it toward the net, beating the Elmira netminder on his stick side for a 3-0 lead.
The Bulls made a late charge to add to the lead before the break, with Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) snapping one in on an odd-man rush witih 3:05 left and Isogai burying a one-timer off a corner pass from Ryan Hempel (Katy, Texas/Elliot Lake Wildcats) with 51 seconds remaining.
After racking up a 20-9 lead in the shot count through the opening 20 minutes, the Bulls put up 21 more in the second period and allowed only three. It took more than eight minutes for Jackson Vercellono (Laconia, N.H./St. Cloud Blizzard) to put North Iowa back on the board, though, burying a one-timer from Carter Eha (Bloomington, Minn./Jamestown Rebels) on a 2-on-0 break.
Two more goals in quick succession gave the Bulls an 8-0 lead, and gave two North Iowa players their second goals of the day. Matt Dahlseide’s (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) pass from the left-wing faceoff dot found Daly at the edge of the slot for a one-timer goal with 6:17 left in the period, and Roo’s slot wrister trickled through for another tally with 4:59 on the clock.
Isogai made his final mark with a one-timer from the right-wing faceoff circle to make it 9-0 at the 4:30 mark of the final period. Carter Wagner (Lino Lakes, Minn./Odessa Jackalopes) made it 10-0 barely two minutes later, tipping in Jack Kubitz’s (Orono, Minn./Orono H.S.) pass from the left-wing faceoff circle.
The final two goals came in the final two minutes, with Vercellono poking in a point-blank rebound with 1:41 remaining and Wagner earning his second goal on a rocket from the right circle with 45 seconds left.
Nico Aguilera’s (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South H.S.) setup pass on Vercellono’s second goal was the last of his three points on the day, one of four North Iowa players to finish with three points. Isogai’s hat trick was the highlight, but Daly finished with two goals and an assist and Stewart added two helpers to his early marker.
Joe Daninger (Blaine, Minn./Blaine H.S.) posted his first junior shutout, blocking 15 Elmira chances and pushing the Bulls to nearly 174 minutes without allowing a goal. The Bulls outscored their opponents 21-1 for the week, thanks in large part to the team’s largest win ever at an NA3HL Showcase event. The win was also North Iowa’s 10th Showcase victory in a row.
“My defense played unreal in front of me and blocked a bunch of shots for me, and let me see the puck,” said Daninger. “They did a good job of getting the puck out of my zone and not spending a bunch of time in the defensive zone. They played a pretty offensive game.”
Held made 46 saves, taking the loss and sending the Jr. Soaring Eagles to the new year with an 0-3 finish in Blaine. North Iowa returns after the Christmas break to debut their new arena at Southbridge Mall in Mason City, with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop on December 28 against the Alexandria Blizzard. Live streaming coverage is available on HockeyTV, with free audio streaming on Mixlr.
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North Iowa 5 3 4 – 12
Elmira 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Stewart 5 (Dahlseide, Daly), 0:37. 2, North Iowa, Daly 8 (Sullivan, Dahlseide), 5:01. 3, North Iowa, Isogai 12 (Aguilera), 8:15. 4, North Iowa, Roo 15 (Saltness, Roitman), 16:55. 5, North Iowa, Isogai 13 (Dahlseide, Triemert), 19:09. Penalties-Nauss Nio (roughing-minor), 1:13.
2nd Period-6, North Iowa, Vercellono 5 (Eha, Roitman), 8:11. 7, North Iowa, Daly 9 (Dahlseide, Stewart), 13:51. 8, North Iowa, Roo 16 (Roitman), 15:01. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-9, North Iowa, Isogai 14 (Aguilera, Triemert), 5:30 (PP). 10, North Iowa, Wagner 9 (Kubitz, Roo), 6:41. 11, North Iowa, Vercellono 6 (Aguilera, Kubitz), 18:19. 12, North Iowa, Wagner 10 (Triemert, Isogai), 19:15. Penalties-Saurbaugh Ese (kneeing-minor), 4:18; served by Nauss Nio (too many men-minor), 8:13; Auchterlonie Ese (slashing-minor), 13:27; Nauss Nio (roughing-minor), 16:18; Murphy Ese (roughing-minor), 16:18.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 20-21-17-58. Elmira 9-3-3-15.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 2; Elmira 0 / 2.
Goalies-North Iowa, Daninger 5-0-0-0 (15 shots-15 saves). Elmira, Held 2-4-0-0 (58 shots-46 saves).
Linesmen-Chet Halonen, Nicholas Seppala.