THIS WEEK’S GAMES:
SUNDAY – North Iowa vs. Bozeman, 4:00 p.m.
MONDAY – North Iowa vs. Texas, 10:30 a.m.
TUESDAY – North Iowa vs. Elmira, 12:15 p.m.
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$)
BULLS AT NA3HL SHOWCASE ALL-TIME: 20-6-1
NEXT HOME GAME: The Bulls’ home game on Saturday, December 28 will be the team’s first home game at Southbridge Mall in downtown Mason City, and the new Mason City Arena, featuring a postgame skate. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
THE SEASON SO FAR: North Iowa has been able to string together wins fairly consistently through the first portion of the season, though that battle has heated up in recent games. The Bulls have enjoyed a pair of six-game win streaks, and started the year with a five-game run on their way to first place in the West. However, Granite City has climbed into the top spot in terms of winning percentage, thanks to their four games in hand on North Iowa. Dysen Skinner and Evan Babekuhl have been more than steady in net in their second years with the team, while Jordan Roo leads a group of four Bulls with more than 30 points. Todd Sanden’s roster has been somewhat fluid of late, with four players moving to New Ulm and Alexandria last month and Lucas Wahlin remaining in the NAHL with the Jamestown Rebels. Justin Callahan has also committed to Iowa State, and is set to leave the team for good after the team’s “second home opener” at its new downtown Mason City arena.
BIG-GAME BOZEMAN: Of the Bulls’ three opponents at the Showcase, the IceDogs may be the best tested, thanks to the gauntlet that has been this year’s Frontier Division race. Luke Hartge’s 60 points have him in the top four in the league, on the way to the league’s best record at the halfway point of the year. With more than 50 shots per game, this group doesn’t need much of a push to get on the board, and once they get ahead, they stay ahead with an airtight 20-0 record when leading after two periods.
(All-time series: Bulls lead 1-0-0; 7-2 loss in only meeting at 2015 NA3HL Showcase)
ANOTHER BATTLE OF THE CATTLE: The Bulls’ best storyline easily belongs to its Monday game against Texas, a rematch of last year’s Fraser Cup semifinals, which the Brahmas won, 3-1. 14 players from last year are back in hopes of bringing the Fraser Cup back to the DFW area – this year’s Brahmas are highlighted by goaltenders Bryce Runyan and Kaden Hargraves, and an iron-willed defense that allows less than 25 shots a game.
(All-time series: Bulls trail 1-1-1; third Showcase meeting in four years)
SAME FACES, NEW PLACES: The Bulls’ Tuesday game pits them against a longtime power in Elmira, which previously dominated the Northeast Division as the Binghamton Jr. Senators. At just 12 percent, the power play is a major weakness, but their discipline has been impressive to say the least. The Jr. Soaring Eagles come in as the league’s least-penalized team.
(All-time series: Bulls lead 1-0-0; 3-2 overtime win in 2017 Fraser Cup pool play)