Bulls Ride Home With Preseason Sweep Over Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, S.D. – There are bound to be a few bugs to work out when a team takes the ice for a preseason game, but in one respect, the North Iowa Bulls and Aberdeen Wings are already in midseason form.

After going to overtime once in the preseason and six more times in the regular season, the two teams went to the extra session once again in their exhibition matchup Saturday afternoon at the Odde Ice Center. The Bulls snagged their first overtime win over Aberdeen, unofficial as it may be, with a hard-fought 2-1 victory to send them into the 2022-23 regular season on a good note.

The teams battled to a stalemate for the majority of the afternoon, with North Iowa out-shooting their hosts 11-8 in the opening 20 minutes. On their fifth power play of the afternoon, though, Aberdeen snagged the 1-0 lead when Maxwell Donohoe picked the puck out of a crowd in front of the Bulls’ net and slipped it past the right leg of Erik Chaffe (Marion, Iowa/Mason City Toros).

On a Saturday afternoon dominated by college football, the Bulls ran their own two-minute drill to take the win, starting with a goal at the 18:02 mark off of a pass to Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./North Iowa Bulls) that banked off of his skates and dribbled past Geno Pichora to tie the game at 1-1.

The winner came off of a pass left unclaimed coming through center ice, where Cayden Casey (Elk River, Minn./Andover H.S.) gathered up the loose puck and dashed into the Wings’ end. His shot to the top corner over Pichora’s left shoulder closed the game and a successful week for the Bulls that also included a strong mini-game doubleheader Wednesday against the Corpus Christi IceRays.

North Iowa had the only two shots on goal in the overtime period, and went 0-for-3 on the power play in the game. Chaffe had a solid outing to say the least, making 22 saves to secure the victory. Pichora made 23 saves to take the loss, with Aberdeen taking a 1-for-5 mark for the day on the man-advantage.

The preseason was an especially productive one for Scott, who tallied the first goal for North Iowa in both games against Aberdeen after posting two assists Wednesday against the IceRays. Goaltenders Chaffe and Mitchell Day (St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis Blues AAA) also showed their potential for the upcoming season, stopping 65 of the 68 shots they saw in eight-plus periods of hockey over the past four days.

The regular season now begins in earnest for the Bulls, with a Wednesday matchup against the Wisconsin Windigo at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. That game will serve as the regular-season opener for both teams, as well as the official debut for the Windigo, who moved to Wisconsin after nine years in Richfield, Minnesota as the Minnesota Magicians. The opening puck drop is slated for 5 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV Presented by Dakota Fix Shelter Insurance and free audio streaming on NorthIowaBulls.com.

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