WILLMAR, Minn. – The first period has been good for the North Iowa Bulls this season, but for years, Todd Sanden’s team has been a second-period team. After a 20-minute feeling-out process, it’s time to strike.
Strike they did Friday night, four times in the middle stanza of a 5-1 win over the Willmar WarHawks, as the Bulls picked up their 12th win in their last 13 games. Konnor Carlson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley H.S.) and Peter Verstegen (Oshkosh, Wis./North Iowa Bulls) each scored a pair of goals. Justin Callahan (Algonquin, Ill./Chicago Cougars) scored a third-period goal to debut in the scoring column for North Iowa.
Despite combining for 25 shots, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first period. It only took 2:20 out of the second period for Carlson to backhand in the opening goal of the night, beating Lucas Ehrlich for the game’s opening goal.
Four minutes later, Brandon Holt answered to tie the game, grabbing his own rebound and wrapping it around the net for a second-chance shot to Dysen Skinner‘s (Billings, Mont./Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede U18) left.
Nick Bowlin (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan H.S.) combined his hockey know-how with a bit of puck-luck for the response at 8:03 of the second period, bouncing a pass off the side of the goal frame and out in front for Carlson to bat in, and the Bulls took the lead back. The insurance goal came at the 11:46 mark of the period, with Verstegen teaming up to jam Matt Dahlseide‘s (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) wraparound try into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Just 63 seconds later, the second-period scoring flurry was over, thanks to a 2-on-1 and Verstegen’s tap-in with 7:14 remaining on the second-period clock. North Iowa out-shot the WarHawks 13-9 in the second period and 24-4 in the third, but managed only one goal, at the 5:30 mark on Callahan’s toss from the right point to the net that snuck past Ehrlich and the heavy traffic in front.
Ehrlich had his hands full throughout the night, making 44 stops on 49 North Iowa shots to fall to 3-11-2-0 on the season. Skinner won his fifth straight decision, moving to 7-2-0-0 with 25 saves on 26 WarHawk shots. During that five-game run, Skinner has allowed only six goals on 140 shots, for a .957 save percentage.
The game saw Dahlseide take the title from Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) for the longest active point streak on the North Iowa roster. Dahlseide has tallied at least one point in 11 straight contests, with Studioso’s run ending at 14 games.
North Iowa and Willmar will get together Saturday evening on the Bulls’ home ice, at the back end of a weekend home-and-home between the two teams. The Bulls and WarHawks drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. at the North Iowa Ice Arena, with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
It’s “Naughty and Nice Night” at the North Iowa Ice Arena, with special appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch. It’s also the Bulls’ annual YMCA members’ night, with $2 off admission at the door for all YMCA members. For advance tickets to Saturday’s game or any future Bulls home game, click here.
North Iowa 0 4 1 – 5
Willmar 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Fagerlee Nio (tripping-minor), 4:55; Brandt Nio (tripping-minor), 14:25; Knowlton Wil (interference-minor), 19:53.
2nd Period-1, North Iowa, Carlson 4 (Bowlin, Rozman), 2:20. 2, Willmar, Holt 3 (May, Sylvester), 6:28. 3, North Iowa, Carlson 5 (Bowlin, Rozman), 8:03. 4, North Iowa, Verstegen 18 (Dahlseide, Brandt), 11:46. 5, North Iowa, Callahan 1 (Rozman, Carlson), 12:49. Penalties-Ginger Wil (hooking-minor), 8:59; Fagerlee Nio (boarding-minor), 9:52; Blackowiak Nio (roughing-minor), 10:28; Knowlton Wil (holding-minor, roughing-minor), 10:28; Rollo Wil (cross checking-minor), 17:48.
3rd Period-6, North Iowa, Callahan 2 (Carlson, Rozman), 5:30. Penalties-Slagter Wil (head contact-minor), 7:40; Sylvester Wil (kneeing-minor), 12:49; Dahlseide Nio (hooking-minor), 13:10; VanDeVere Wil (elbowing-minor), 13:39; Junker Nio (tripping-minor), 16:35; Knowlton Wil (holding-minor), 18:20.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 12-13-24-49. Willmar 13-9-4-26.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 0; Willmar 0 / 0.
Goalies-North Iowa, Skinner 7-2-0-0 (26 shots-25 saves). Willmar, Ehrlich 3-11-2-0 (49 shots-44 saves).
Linesmen-David Berndgen, Zachary Caroselli.