THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES:
FRIDAY – Granite City @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY – Granite City @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
GRANITE CITY LUMBERJACKS, 27-5-0-0 (ROSTER, STATS)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS, 27-4-2-0 (ROSTER, STATS)
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$), Mixlr (audio/free)
BULLS vs. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 35-26-5
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS: This weekend is Rivalry Weekend, with free koozies to be given away with each purchase of two beers. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON: Not only is first place on the line this weekend, but the Bulls and Lumberjacks will fight to continue the league’s two longest active winning streaks. Granite City enters with an eight-game winning streak, taking its last loss to the Coastal Division-leading Northeast Generals at the NA3HL Showcase in December. The Bulls’ last loss came against the Rochester Grizzlies prior to the Showcase, and North Iowa enters on a seven-game run of its own.
START ON TIME: Each team has had a habit of getting the first word this season, with Granite City entering the weekend having scored first in 27 of its 32 games this year. The Bulls have scored first in a dozen straight, and 26 of 33 overall – no team has scored the opening goal more often this season than the Lumberjacks.
THE FANTASTIC FOUR: The floodgates are officially open on North Iowa’s college-commitment list – within less than a week-and-a-half, four North Iowa players have made college decisions. Three of them – Nick Bowlin, Matt Dahlseide and Joey Petronack – have chosen Wisconsin-Stout as their college destination starting next season. That makes four commitments to the Blue Devils for next year, including Cam Fagerlee’s commitment back in December. In all, 16 Bulls players have committed to Wisconsin-Stout since the franchise’s first season ended in 2012.
SOLVE THE PUZZLE: The Bulls will attempt to become the first team this season to figure out Nate Johnston, who enters the weekend with 14 wins and a pair of no-decisions. No team has yet solved the onetime Rogers High School netminder, and his numbers are on track to set the pace in Granite City history. His 1.40 goals- against average and .938 save percentage are on track to set new franchise records, but no Lumberjacks goalie has ever topped Matt Grove’s 29 wins from the Lumberjacks’ inaugural NA3HL season in 2011-12.