MASON CITY, Iowa – It seemed only fitting that on the night of the 11th-to-last game in the North Iowa Ice Arena, the Bulls would leave the ice at the end of the night with 11 goals on the scoreboard.
They also packed the house, piling more than 1,000 fans into the “Barn” to open the home schedule with an 11-1 victory over the Willmar WarHawks. The Bulls scored seven goals in the second period alone, and posted another barn-burning performance on special teams with two power play goals and a tally on the penalty kill.
The bounces certainly went the Bulls’ way early, as a shot from Davis Smidt (Brentwood, Tenn./Kenai River Brown Bears) bounced off the end wall right out to Ryan Hempel (Katy, Texas/Elliot Lake Wildcats) for the Texas native to pop into the top of the net just three minutes into the contest.
After a tying goal on the power play from Willmar newcomer Danny Klatt with 11:44 left in the first period, it was all North Iowa. Just 90 seconds later, Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) put the Bulls ahead for good with a rip to the top shelf, and Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/Okanagan Europe U20) added his first goal as a Bull off of a faceoff with 5:56 left in the stanza.
Then, the machine hit full speed. Isogai sent one to the net for Lucas Wahlin (Woodbury, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) to push in under Luc Haggitt, and at 6:07 of the second period, the Bulls made it 4-1. Six more goals came in the final 10 minutes of the second period alone, including three from Cam Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./North Iowa Bulls).
Fagerlee’s first goal came off of a fadeaway shot, using the defender as a screen, just past the period’s halfway mark. Fagerlee’s second goal came on the power play, off of a rebound from Nick Bowlin’s (Oakdale, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) shot. Jordan Roo’s (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) goal off of a backdoor pass less than two minutes later also came with the extra man. Bowlin added a goal from the right-wing faceoff dot on a one-timer between Fagerlee’s rebound tally and Roo’s power play marker.
The Bulls added a shorthanded tally with 3:31 to go on a two-on-none break, with Dahlseide feeding Fagerlee on the right wing. Nico Aguilera (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South H.S.) ended the flurry by pushing in another rebound goal with 1:16 left before the second-period break.
After going into the final period with a 10-1 lead, Austin McNeil (Shakopee, Minn./Shakopee H.S.) added his first goal as a Bull with 5:39 remaining, taking advantage of a stretch pass through neutral ice to slip one into the upper corner on a delayed penalty call.
Evan Babekuhl (Orono, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) picked up his second win of the year, making 22 saves. The loss went to Haggitt, with 18 saves on 25 Bulls shots. He exited the game following Bowlin’s goal with 6:39 remaining in the second period, and Gunnar Banks closed out the night with seven saves on 11 shots.
The win was the Bulls’ most lopsided since facing the WarHawks on November 10 of last year, a 14-1 win at the “Barn.” It also marks the fifth straight game that the Bulls have buried a power play goal, notching nine of them just in their last four contests.
Due to renovations at the Willmar Civic Center, Saturday’s rematch will be played at the Litchfield Civic Arena in nearby Litchfield, Minnesota. The game time of 7:30 p.m. has not changed. Live streaming coverage of all Bulls games, home and away, is available on HockeyTV.
The North Iowa Bulls return to the “Barn” on Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12 to continue the building’s final countdown, as the Breezy Point North Stars make the trip to Mason City. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, or through the team’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. To buy advance tickets to any Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
Willmar 1 0 0 – 1
North Iowa 3 7 1 – 11
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Hempel 4 (Smidt), 3:00. 2, Willmar, Klatt 1 (Holt, Brownell), 8:16 (PP). 3, North Iowa, Dahlseide 2 (Fagerlee, Stewart), 9:46. 4, North Iowa, Isogai 1 (Roo), 14:05. Penalties-Dahlseide Nio (slashing-minor), 3:49; Stewart Nio (holding-minor), 7:56; Brownell Wil (holding-minor), 9:56.
2nd Period-5, North Iowa, Wahlin 6 (Roitman, Isogai), 6:07. 6, North Iowa, Fagerlee 4 (Dahlseide, Bowlin), 10:10. 7, North Iowa, Fagerlee 5 (Bowlin, Stewart), 12:59 (PP). 8, North Iowa, Bowlin 2 (Dahlseide), 13:22. 9, North Iowa, Roo 3 (Wahlin, Wagner), 14:54 (PP). 10, North Iowa, Fagerlee 6 (Dahlseide), 16:28 (SH). 11, North Iowa, Aguilera 4 (McNeil, Bowlin), 18:16. Penalties-Kubitz Nio (roughing-minor), 10:27; Santarelli Wil (hooking-minor), 12:50; Gee Wil (slashing-minor), 14:30; Smidt Nio (roughing-minor), 15:51.
3rd Period-12, North Iowa, McNeil 1 (Sullivan, Bowlin), 14:21. Penalties-Fagerlee Nio (tripping-minor), 0:22; Slagter Wil (boarding-minor), 3:16; Wagner Nio (boarding-minor), 10:32; Isogai Nio (hooking-minor), 13:06; Santarelli Wil (tripping-minor), 13:45; Sunderland Wil (slashing-minor), 14:21.
Shots on Goal-Willmar 7-10-6-23. North Iowa 16-16-4-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Willmar 1 / 7; North Iowa 2 / 5.
Goalies-Willmar, Haggitt 2-1-0-1 (25 shots-18 saves); Banks 1-0-0-0 (11 shots-7 saves). North Iowa, Babekuhl 2-0-0-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
Linesmen-Dylan Krikke, Aaron Mostrom.