Bulls Preview: Exhibition vs. Shattuck-St. Mary’s


WEDNESDAY – Shattuck-St. Mary’s @ North Iowa, 7:00 p.m.



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THIS WEEK’S PROMOTION: Tonight’s game is the Bulls’ “Midweek Mustaches and Mullets” Night – the first 100 fans in the building will receive a free mustache, and the team is conducting a ticket giveaway on Facebook for the best mustache and/or mullet photo. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.

IN IT TO WIN IT: North Iowa has only two wins in its nine-game exhibition series against the Sabres, but those wins have been a harbinger of good things to come. The Bulls knocked off Shattuck-St. Mary’s 6-5 in their first home meeting in November 2013, adding to an incredible 57-5 season. They also won 50 games in 2015-16, not including a 5-3 victory in Mason City. Both of those seasons saw the Silver (now Fraser) Cup come home to North Iowa at year’s end. The first of those two victories featured Clayton Keller, the leading scorer each of the last two seasons for the Arizona Coyotes.

WORLDWIDE TRAVELERS: The Shattuck-St. Mary’s hockey reputation is one that speaks for itself – the boys’ prep program has won nine under-18 national championships, and sent 80 former players into the National Hockey League draft (including 15 first-round picks). 41 alumni are currently playing professional hockey across the globe, including 13 Sabres alumni who are currently playing in the National Hockey League. Among them are top overall NHL draft picks Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh, 2005) and Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado, 2013). 34 others are currently playing NCAA Division I hockey.

KEEP THE TANK FULL: Last year’s game got off to a great start for North Iowa, but the Sabres have a habit of cranking the pace up and never running out of gas. Ivan Bogach and Nick Bowlin each scored in last year’s meeting to get the Bulls out to a 2-0 lead, but Shattuck-St. Mary’s ran off nine unanswered goals on the way to a 9-2 win. Evan Babekuhl exited the game at the halfway point after giving up a pair of goals just a minute apart, but Connor Poczos allowed seven in the final 30 minutes. North Iowa put just 25 chances on the Shattuck-St. Mary’s net, with the Sabres tossing 46 shots at the Bulls’ goaltenders. It was the biggest win for Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the series between the teams.

CLIMBING THE LADDER: Half of the Sabres’ roster has a home at the next level of junior hockey already, should they choose to go that route – eight players have already been drafted by United States Hockey League teams, and Scott Morrow was chosen by both Val d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Youngstown of the USHL in their 2018 drafts. Five Shattuck-St. Mary’s players have already announced commitments to NCAA Division I teams.