Bulls Swoop In Looking to Defend First Place Against Wings



(4-4-0-0, 8 pts)


October 7, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
October 8, 2022 – 7:15 p.m.
Odde Ice Center
Aberdeen, S.D.


(6-2-0-0, 12 pts)



IN A NUTSHELL: North Iowa defends its newfound first-place position in the Central Division standings.

ALL-TIME SERIES:North Iowa trails, 2-4-6.

THE SCENE-SETTER: The Bulls are back in first place after gutting out yet another one-goal win last Saturday night in sweeping the Austin Bruins. The scoring came in spurts in a 5-4 North Iowa victory, starting with a pair of goals from Byron Hartley and Cayden Casey in the latter minutes of the first period. The second period got off to a rocky start for the hosts, with Dylan Cook notching a power play goal in the opening 50 seconds and Matt Desiderio sending two to the back of the net to take the lead just 4:21 out of the break. Max Scott picked up a power play goal of his own with 5:05 left in the period, and Justin Mexico took the lead back on a penalty shot with 1:17 remaining in the second. The lead did not survive, however – Walter Zacher’s power play goal with 6:31 left put the Bruins back even, and North Iowa needed goals from Casey and Scott in the shootout to close out the victory. Erik Chaffe made 11 saves in a no-decision, while Mitch Day made 13 saves for a victory in relief. The power play units were impressive with North Iowa finishing 2-for-4 and Austin going 2-for-6.

KNOW YOUR FOE:­ Aberdeen will look to continue the momentum from its weekend last week against St. Cloud – the Wings went on the road and snagged a sweep, winning by scores of 5-1 and 6-3. Kyle Contessa and Ronan Walsh each scored a pair of goals on the week, with Walsh scoring both of his in the four-goal win Friday. It’s been a topsy-turvy start for the Wings, dropping their last two at the Showcase as well as both games against the Bismarck Bobcats to open divisional play before jumping back into the win column twice against the Norsemen. Wings newcomer Nikolai Tishkevich leads the team with eight points entering the weekend, while Geno Pichora’s 2.01 goals-against average and .947 save percentage lead the way in net.

GIVING YOU A BONUS: The teams are quite familiar with each other, facing off twice this preseason and last preseason, as well as 12 times last regular season. In fact, they’re a little extra familiar with each other, going to overtime six times last season and once in each of the two preseason weekends. Last year, the Wings snagged the preseason overtime win and in all six regular-season meetings that went beyond the regulation 60 minutes. This year, though, the Bulls took the overtime win in the preseason thanks to a breakaway goal from Cayden Casey.

IT’S A TIGHT ONE: After playing 40 opponents to a one- or two-goal finish last season, the Bulls have found themselves in the midst of more nailbiters this time around. Every one of North Iowa’s four divisional games so far has finished with a one-goal gap, as well as the Bulls’ Showcase win over the Shreveport Mudbugs. While six of North Iowa’s eight games have gone to a one- or two-goal finish, most of the Wings’ games have ended up with decisive final scores for better or worse – only two games have gone to a two-goal finish, and the Wings have not yet ground out a one-goal finish this year.

PUSHING IT TO THE MAX: Max Scott put the “power” in the Bulls’ power play last week, scoring power play goals in both games against the Austin Bruins. Last year, only one North Iowa skater – Dylan Gajewski – scored power play goals in back-to-back games. He also did it against the same team in the same weekend, picking up power play markers in both games against the Springfield Jr. Blues on December 10 and 11. Scott scored seven points in six appearances against Aberdeen last year.