A sweep of Granite City keeps North Iowa in the hunt for a 3HL West division title.
The North Iowa Bulls got their first two wins against Granite City in five tries. After going 0-2-1 in 3 previous games all on the road against the Lumberjacks the Bulls welcomed them to the North Iowa Events Center Ice Arena. \\
On Friday, the home crowd of 698 cheered the Bulls on to a 3-2 victory powered by a pair of Matt Kroska goals. Kroska\’s second marker came while the Bulls were shorthanded and proved to be the game winner. Bulls netminder Matt Bartels made 24 saves. North Iowa captain Kyle Gonzalez made a spectacular play late in the third after the puck slipped by Bartels, \”Gonzo\” swooped through the crease and cleared the puck to the corner that was clearly heading into the open net.
Saturday night after staking the Jacks to an early first period 1-0 lead, Bulls forward Patrick Sivets received a slick pass from linemate Tony Paulson sending him in alone on Jacks netminder Murray. Sivets converted the breakaway opportunity at the 12:11 mark of the first. With the Bulls beginning the second period a man down, Sivets found the back of the net again with his first shorthanded goal of the year assited by Kroska and Connor Langfield. Tim Santopoalo added an even strength marker assisted by James Hughes at 5:21 of the second giving the Bulls a 3-2 edge. Just two and a half minutes later Hughes added the game winner, a power play goal assisted by Eric Behrend and Jake Johnson making it 4-2. Granite City added a power play goal of their own late in the second period closing the gap to 4-3 after 40 minutes. The late Granite City marker and an early power play in the third for the Jacks gave the road team a boost. Bartels weathered the storm for his \’mates and earned his 7th win of the season. Sivets added a late power play goal into an empty net to complete his hattrick assisted by Kroska and Langfield at 19:45 of the third sealing a 5-3 home sweep of the Lumberjacks.
The combined home crowd of over 1500 fans for the two nights definitely boosted the Bulls in their efforts on the ice. \”Both nights our fans were just amazing, creating an atmosphere that was electric. I hope they enjoyed the games as much as we enjoyed their cheers and the energy they provided us.\”-Sanden