MINOT, N.D. – North Iowa is spending its weekend up north.
At the top of the lower 48, in fact.
The Bulls are trending northward in the North American Hockey League’s Central Division standings as well, riding a three-goal first period to a 3-2 victory Friday night against the Minot Minotauros, keeping pace with new rival Austin at the top of the division leaderboard. Austin defeated St. Cloud by a 5-3 tally on Friday, giving each team six wins and 13 points in the Central Division standings.
North Iowa snagged the lead early, just as it did in last Saturday’s win on the Bruins’ home ice, and just like last Saturday’s game, Byron Hartley (Philadelphia, Pa./Philly Little Flyers 18U) got the action started with the opening goal of the night. In this one, Chris Carroll (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) fed the puck out of the North Iowa zone to Hartley, who sprinted down the left wing to beat the defense and toss a forehand past starting goalie Carter Clafton just 2:03 into the contest on the game’s first shot.
The Bulls played most of the opening period with a one-goal lead, but quickly turned it into a 3-0 margin in the waning minutes of the period. With 2:06 left in the opening stanza, Logan Dombrowsky’s (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) sharp-angle chance from the left wing was blocked back to Michael Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./Honeybaked AAA 16U), who snapped the second chance past Clafton from just inside the left-wing circle.
57 seconds later, the Bulls added on, as Carroll’s pass from below the goal line tipped off the side of the goal frame right to Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./Amarillo Bulls), who was waiting out front to put the puck away for his first North Iowa goal.
The Bulls took a 12-10 shots-on-goal advantage to the second period, and chased Clafton in favor of backup Zach Sandy. North Iowa would not solve Sandy, but did maintain the three-goal lead through the second period and the opening minutes of the third.
David Nesburg took charge for the Minot offense in the final period, beating Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) stick-side from the middle of the slot at 3:52 of the third period to cut the North Iowa lead to 3-1. At 9:49 of the period, a pass from Christian Kadolph along the left wing caught Nesburg in front of the net, and with the toe of his stick, he jousted the puck into the top of the North Iowa net for his second goal of the game to trim the lead back to 3-2, but that was as close as the game ever got again.
Scott tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Bulls’ offense, and Carroll posted a pair of assists, while Nesburg headlined the Tauros’ offense with his two tallies. In the end, Minot would out-shoot North Iowa 34-30, but would not beat Garvey, who posted 32 saves for his second win of the year. Sandy was perfect in net for the Minotauros, making 18 saves in the game’s final 40 minutes.
“I feel electric,” said Scott of his big night. “[That first goal] has been long in coming, and I’m glad that we came out on top here. I’m just glad I could contribute to the team’s success on the ice. My work ethic, I really feel helped in the [defensive] zone, and helped the team to a great win tonight.”
The penalty-killing units took care of their end of the work, with the Bulls going 4-for-4 against the Minot power play, and the Minotauros’ penalty kill going 2-for-2.
North Iowa goes for the sweep on Saturday night before the teams get together again in Mason City for a Friday-Saturday set next weekend. Saturday’s game at the Maysa Arena is slated for a 7:35 p.m. opening puck drop., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
The Bulls return home for their “Fall Into Hockey” weekend October 15 and 16 against the Minot Minotauros. To purchase advance tickets to those games, or any upcoming North Iowa Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
North Iowa 3 0 0 – 3
Minot 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Hartley 2 (Carroll, Scott), 2:03. 2, North Iowa, Mesic 4 (Dombrowsky, Liotino), 17:54. 3, North Iowa, Scott 1 (Carroll, Vlasich), 18:51. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Tuggey Nio (interference-minor), 3:49; Karpman Mnt (slashing-minor), 8:32; Keller Mnt (tripping-minor), 16:39; Carroll Nio (hooking-minor), 17:47; Potter Nio (hooking-minor), 19:47.
3rd Period-4, Minot, Nesburg 1 (Panzer, Johnson), 3:52. 5, Minot, Nesburg 2 (Kadolph, Karpman), 9:49. Penalties-Dadie Nio (tripping-minor), 15:18.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 12-8-10-30. Minot 10-9-15-34.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 2; Minot 0 / 4.
Goalies-North Iowa, Garvey 2-0-0-1 (34 shots-32 saves). Minot, Clafton 2-3-1-0 (12 shots-9 saves); Sandy 0-2-0-0 (18 shots-18 saves).
Linesmen-Jake Stach, Eric Steele.