ROCHESTER, Minn. – After a scoreless first period, North Iowa lit the lamp first in hopes of taking some momentum into this week’s NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. The power play goal by Dalton Saltness (Forest Lake, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) early in the second period, however, was the Bulls’ only goal in a 2-1 defeat against the Rochester Grizzlies Friday night at the Rochester Recreation Center.
His goal did extend a lengthy streak for the Bulls, giving the team its 10th straight game with a power play goal. After a first period in which the Grizzlies out-shot North Iowa by a 10-5 margin, Saltness buried a shot inside the far post at the 4:39 mark, giving North Iowa a 1-0 lead with 38 seconds remaining on a hooking penalty against Rochester’s Garrett Smith.
Lucas Newman didn’t wait long to tie it, though, scoring on a rush up the left wing and putting the Grizzlies on the board at 8:07 of the period to even the game at 1-1. Just before the halfway mark of the third period, Devin Hays’s point-blank shot ricocheted off of Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./North Iowa Bulls) and Joey Fodstad was able to put away the rebound to put the Grizzlies in front for good.
“We picked it up as the game went on, but we didn’t play to our full potential,” said Saltness. “As we go into the Showcase, we need to pick it up a lot, and I think we will. We have a really good team and I think we’ll do just fine.”
Rochester out-shot their visitors by a 31-23 margin in the game, but went 0-for-3 with the extra man. Saltness’s goal came on the Bulls’ only power play of the night. Mathias Backstrom racked up 22 saves to earn his ninth win of the season and extend his winning streak to six. Skinner took the loss despite making 29 saves.
The Bulls fall to 20-4-2-0 on the year, while the Grizzlies rise to 17-5-1-0 heading to the Showcase. In an odd twist, both teams will face the same three teams in Blaine, though in a different order. North Iowa opens the three-day affair with a Sunday afternoon matchup against Bozeman, while Elmira matches up with Rochester on Sunday. Both teams will also face the Texas Brahmas before the three days are up.
Live streaming coverage of all NA3HL Showcase games is available exclusively on HockeyTV. The North Iowa Bulls return home to open the new downtown Mason City Arena on Saturday, December 28.
Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. To purchase advance tickets to upcoming Bulls home games, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
North Iowa 0 1 0 – 1
Rochester 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-1, North Iowa, Saltness 5 (Stewart, Eha), 4:39 (PP). 2, Rochester, Newman 10 (Heitkamp), 8:07. Penalties-Eha Nio (roughing-minor), 2:17; Parker Roc (roughing-minor), 2:17; Smith Roc (hooking-minor), 3:17; Aguilera Nio (holding-minor), 10:58; Noonan Roc (cross checking-minor), 10:58; Isogai Nio (elbowing-minor), 17:11.
3rd Period-3, Rochester, Fodstad 17 (Hays), 9:55. Penalties-Nauss Nio (head contact-minor), 18:56; Sullivan Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 5-10-8-23. Rochester 10-12-9-31.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 1; Rochester 0 / 3.
Goalies-North Iowa, Skinner 9-2-2-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Rochester, Backstrom 9-2-0-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
Linesmen-Jared Cummins, Jacob Paugh.