MASON CITY, Iowa – In their last three meetings, the North Iowa Bulls have been able to tame their Central Division cattle companions, but the Bulls found themselves in a rough ride Saturday night against the Minot Minotauros. After enjoying some hot starts of late, the Bulls surrendered three goals to the Minotauros in the opening 4:23 at the Mason City Arena, a stretch that spurred the visitors to a 6-1 victory and snapped a three-game losing skid against North Iowa.
Minot would pick up the game’s first six shots on goal, and score on three of the game’s first four. A goal for the Minotauros at the game’s 37-second mark would prove to be an ominous start, as Trevor Stachowiak snapped one from the right-wing circle underneath Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) to get the scoring started.
Two goals in 51 seconds would threaten to break the game open – Cole Mickel stretched the puck through neutral ice to find Zack Simon, who deked the puck past Garvey’s left leg for the 2-0 lead at the 3:32 mark. The run wrapped up with a toss from the left wing that caught Jaksen Panzer along the goal line, and Huston Karpman was able to control the ricochet off of Panzer’s stick for a three-goal Minotauros advantage.
Despite the slow start, the Bulls got their share of chances in the first period, taking the 11-10 shots-on-goal advantage through a period. After battling for most of the second period to get on the board, North Iowa did it with a fraction of a second left on a power play at 13:01, with Joey Potter’s (Los Angeles, Calif./Twin City Thunder) shot from the left-wing faceoff circle clipping Simone Dadie (Brunico, Italy/Okanagan Europe U20) and bounding into the net past Zach Sandy.
The Minotauros got it back on a man-advantage of their own with 1:12 left in the period – as the Bulls worked to wipe away a holding infraction to Greg Japchen (Doylestown, Pa./Amarillo Bulls), Panzer found Karpman again in the right-wing circle, and his wrister beat Garvey to push the lead to 4-1 going to the second intermission.
Minot was able to break the game open in the third, starting on a 5-on-3 at the 32-second mark – Mickel’s shot from the left-wing circle caught Colby Joseph in front of the net and popped off of his hands into the cage to push the lead to four goals. With 8:49 remaining, a short pass across the slot from Joseph caught Tom Friden in front, and the deflection found its way into the cage to cap the scoring for the night.
“It was definitely a tough one,” said Bulls forward and captain Ryan Coughlin (Charlotte, N.C./Amarillo Bulls). “Any time you play a team four straight games, there’s going to be some room to make mistakes, and they’re going to pick up on what we’re doing. I don’t think we brought our best effort tonight and I think it showed. We did some good things and got some tough bounces, but it is what it is.”
North Iowa did enjoy some good news on the evening, seeing Chris Carroll’s (Islip, N.Y./Amarillo Bulls) point streak stretch to 10 games thanks to his assist on Dadie’s goal. The power play goal also snapped a stretch of 31 unsuccessful power play chances for the Bulls, giving them a power play marker in Central Division play for the first time.
Garvey took the loss with 32 saves on 38 Minotauro shots, picking up his first regulation loss with the Bulls after winning his last four games in a row. After being saddled with four straight losses to open the season, Sandy earned his first win with 32 saves on 33 North Iowa shots. Minot closed out the night 2-for-7 on the power play and improved its record to 4-7-1-0 on the year, while North Iowa ended the night at 1-for-5, taking its first Saturday loss of the year and dropping to 8-3-0-1. The Austin Bruins’ win over the Bismarck Bobcats evened up the Central Division race, with the Bruins holding a game in hand and taking the lead on percentage points.
Next up for North Iowa is a visit to the Aberdeen Wings, with whom the Bulls split their opening weekend of the Central Division schedule. The opening puck drops in Aberdeen, South Dakota on Friday and Saturday night are both slated for 7:15 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
The Bulls return home on November 5 and 6 as the Bismarck Bobcats make their way to Mason City for the first time since March 21, 2010 against the North Iowa Outlaws. Tickets for that game, and all North Iowa home games, are on sale now – to purchase advance tickets to any Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Minot 3 1 2 – 6
North Iowa 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Minot, Stachowiak 2 (Schwenninger), 0:37. 2, Minot, Simon 4 (Mickel, Freiji), 3:32. 3, Minot, Karpman 7 (Panzer), 4:23. Penalties-Joseph Mnt (hooking-minor), 6:06; Scott Nio (holding-minor), 15:15.
2nd Period-4, North Iowa, Dadie 2 (Potter, Carroll), 13:01 (PP). 5, Minot, Karpman 8 (Panzer, Joseph), 18:48 (PP). Penalties-Johnson Mnt (checking from behind-minor), 5:54; Stachowiak Mnt (slashing-minor), 11:01; Mesic Nio (holding-minor), 14:03; Japchen Nio (holding-minor), 17:28; Dombrowsky Nio (fighting(instigator)-minor), 19:21; Karpman Mnt (fighting-major, fighting-10 misc), 19:37; Sweeney Nio (fighting-major, fighting-10 misc), 19:37.
3rd Period-6, Minot, Mickel 3 (Joseph, Schwenninger), 0:32 (PP). 7, Minot, Fridén 1 (Joseph, Fridén), 11:11 (PP). Penalties-Cline Nio (tripping-minor), 0:08; Vlasich Nio (head contact-minor), 3:59; Nesburg Mnt (slashing-minor), 7:16; Dadie Nio (boarding-minor), 8:07; Westlund Mnt (cross checking-minor), 13:12; Freiji Mnt (roughing-minor), 13:49; Coughlin Nio (roughing-minor), 13:49; Boxer Nio (checking from behind-minor), 17:47.
Shots on Goal-Minot 10-15-13-38. North Iowa 11-8-14-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Minot 3 / 7; North Iowa 1 / 5.
Goalies-Minot, Sandy 1-4-0-0 (33 shots-32 saves). North Iowa, Garvey 4-1-0-1 (38 shots-32 saves).
Linesmen-Zach Carson, Reilly Hickey.