FARIBAULT, Minn. – North Iowa has beaten the famed Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep hockey team three times in their six meetings in Mason City, including when they played at the “Barn” back in November. Knocking off the Sabres on the frigid Parise Arena ice in Faribault, though? Maybe the fifth time would be the charm.
And on Wednesday night, it almost was. The Bulls erased an early three-goal deficit, tying the game twice in the second and third periods. However, the power play would be North Iowa’s undoing in a 7-5 loss to the Sabres. Shattuck-St. Mary’s finished 3-for-4 on the power play, including the eventual game-winner early in the third period.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s didn’t waste much time grabbing the lead, either – just 3:22 into the contest, Scott Morrow walked across the blue line to take a pass from Artem Shlaine out of the corner, stepped to the edge of the slot, and fired a wrister past Joe Daninger (Blaine, Minn./Blaine H.S.) for a 1-0 lead.
Morrow did it again barely five minutes later, adding to a 2-on-2 chance started by Nik Hong. His pass found Morrow above the faceoff circles again, and again it took just one stride to find a seam, this time on Daninger’s stick side for a 2-0 lead.
The scoring came fast and furious at the end of the period, though – with 4:29 to go, Shlaine found the last of several passes across the North Iowa slot and tapped it in on the doorstep for the Sabres’ first power play goal of the night and a 3-0 lead.
The Bulls answered quickly, though – Matt Dahlseide’s (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) takeaway on the left-wing half-wall set up a pass to Justin Daly (Delano, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) on the right wing, and his snap beat Marino Ramirez with 3:40 remaining in the first period to cut the lead to 3-1. The lead was cut in half just 50 seconds later, when Carter Eha’s (Bloomington, Minn./Jamestown Rebels) pass from below the goal line found Joey Petronack (White Bear Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) on the right wing – his shot was kicked out wide, but right to Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls), who buried the rebound to make it 3-2.
Less than five minutes into the second period, though, Shattuck-St. Mary’s put some extra cushion into the lead when Shlaine drove the puck the length of the slot – his point-blank chance against Daninger did not go, but a brief scramble left Jackson Kunz enough room to poke the puck into the net.
Then, it was up to the Bulls to make something happen. With just over eight minutes left in the period, Jac Triemert (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury H.S.) snuck the puck above the goal line from just to the right of Ramirez, and hit Cam Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) on the doorstep for a one-time tap-in to trim the lead to 4-3.
Just 76 seconds later, the lead that Shattuck-St. Mary’s had long held was gone. Carter Wagner (Lino Lakes, Minn./Odessa Jackalopes) led a 2-on-1 rush into the Sabres’ end, hitting Ryan Hempel (Katy, Texas/Elliot Lake Wildcats) on the right wing, who immediately dumped the puck into the net to tie the game at 4-4.
A power play chance would give the Sabres the lead once again heading to the third, though – a cycling pass from Michael Quinn found Jack Blake on the left wing, who guided a wrist shot into the upper corner of the net with 5:30 to go in the period for a 5-4 Shattuck-St. Mary’s advantage.
Once again, an early third-period goal gave the Bulls the opening they needed. A shot from Daly at the top of the slot bounced out long to Lucas Wahlin (Woodbury, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) on the left wing, and Wahlin buried the second chance at 3:49 of the period to eliminate another lead.
The final two goals, though, belonged to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. On the power play, Morrow deked a shot inside the blue line before taking another peek and letting one fly into the top corner for the 6-5 lead with 13:21 to go. Daninger headed to the bench with 1:35 remaining, and a leisurely toss in front of the Bulls net from Shlaine allowed Kunz to finish off the scoring with an empty-net marker.
“They’re a fast team. They’re young and quick,” said Hempel. “They just get on you fast, and you have no time to do anything. Those two quick goals (from us) really helped out the team mentally, and our boys just kept going and kept fighting as hard as we could.”
Morrow finished the night with three goals and Kunz wrapped up the game with two, while five different North Iowa players scored a goal apiece. The Bulls’ league record of 28-5-2-0 does not change, while Shattuck-St. Mary’s adds to a five-game unbeaten streak ahead of their trip to a tournament at St. Andrew’s College in Ontario next weekend, and moves to 28-7-2 on the season. The Sabres also find themselves at 15-1-1 on home ice at J.P. Parise Arena.
The Bulls return to NA3HL play on Friday when they host the New Ulm Steel on “Pets and Pucks” Night, with the opening puck drop at 7:30 p.m. at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena. Live streaming coverage is available on HockeyTV, with free audio streaming on Mixlr.
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.