BLAINE, Minn. – The North American Tier 3 Hockey League sets its annual Showcase schedule with the expectation of giving teams three competitive games, in hopes that its players will have the best chance to show their best work in front of college and junior scouts.
The Bulls will get a true test in mid-December at the three-day event, with the release of the Showcase schedule late Monday. North Iowa will play on Sunday, December 15 against the Bozeman Ice Dogs, followed by a Monday contest against the Texas Brahmas and a Tuesday showdown with the Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles.
North Iowa’s Showcase opener pits two of the top three teams in the league against each other – the Bulls enter Thanksgiving week with an .833 winning percentage, while Bozeman enters with the league’s best record at 20-1. The IceDogs lead a crowded Frontier Division race, thanks in part to an eight-game winning streak heading into the holiday stretch. The teams have only met once – a 7-2 North Iowa win in the 2014 NA3HL Showcase. That was the Frontier Division’s debut season in the league.
The Monday contest also pits two of the top three teams in the league against each other, with Texas entering the Thanksgiving week at 15-2, the second-best record in the league. Storylines abound in the matchup with the Brahmas – with only 33 goals against, no team in the NA3HL has been scored on fewer times than the defending Fraser Cup national champions. This is the third time in the last four seasons that the teams have played each other at the Showcase, but the biggest storyline is the rematch of last year’s Fraser Cup semifinals, which the Brahmas won by a 3-1 count.
The final game pits North Iowa against a familiar opponent with a brand-new name. The Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles were formerly known as the Binghamton Jr. Senators before moving an hour west to Elmira during the offseason. The Jr. Soaring Eagles are just out of first place in the Northeast Division, but have the division’s best winning percentage with five games in hand on division leader Danbury. The Bulls faced Binghamton once, earning an overtime win during the 2017 Silver Cup tournament.
Live streaming coverage of all three games is available exclusively on HockeyTV.