MASON CITY, Iowa – There may be no more dangerous three-win team in hockey right now than the New Ulm Steel, and the North Iowa Bulls weren’t about to take anything for granted on Friday night at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena.
18 North Iowa players found their way onto the score sheet, including 10 who notched a goal apiece, and the Bulls ran off a 10-2 win over the New Ulm Steel, their 16th win in a row at home. The eight-goal margin was North Iowa’s second-most lopsided ever in the series, and the biggest margin in the franchise’s New Ulm era. Only the Bulls’ 14-1 win over the then-Twin City Steel in the final game of the 2012-13 regular season, was a bigger win in the head-to-head series.
The scoring started in earnest at the 6:32 mark of the first period, with Hayden Fox’s (Anchorage, Alaska/Team Alaska U18) snipe from the right point after a drop pass from Nick Mohs-Messerli (Orono, Minn./Orono H.S.).
Jake Saver tied the game by banging in a rebound off of a right-point slap shot from Tommy Broten with 2:02 left in the first period, but North Iowa responded quickly on a delayed penalty call against Parker Dorn to grab the lead again. Mohs-Messerli went to the back post, sliding in a backhand chance and beating Griffin Foster to push the lead to 2-1 after the opening period.
The Bulls’ engines simply revved hotter in the second – North Iowa scored two goals 51 seconds apart in the opening moments, turning a 2-1 game into a three-goal affair. A tripping minor to Teddy Lillico with 31 seconds left in the first period opened the door, and Lucas Jorgenson (Orono, Minn./Holy Family H.S.) responded by deflecting in a shot down the slot from Cal Nauss (Wayzata, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) just 42 seconds out of the break.
At 1:33, Garrett Freeman’s (Sartell, Minn./Breezy Point North Stars) shot missed wide of the net, bouncing out to Nauss on the right wing – his rebound shot from just a foot above the goal line snuck through to give the Bulls a 4-1 lead.
New Ulm was not about to go quietly – at 4:18 of the second period, Joe Daninger (Blaine, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) found himself caught in a collision in front of the Bulls’ net, allowing Joey Gimberlin’s pass across to find Zach Maillette, and Maillette’s shot to find the open net for a 4-2 game.
North Iowa decided to go far more loudly into the night, rattling off six unanswered goals to close out the game. Three came in the middle stanza, starting with a left-point cannon from Brendan Sloth (Anoka, Minn./Minnesota Wilderness) that caught the stick of Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/North Iowa Bulls) on its way past Foster at the 9:49 mark.
Griffin Foster gave way to Zach Foster at the 13:12 mark of the period, after Jorgenson found Carter Newpower (Cottage Grove, Minn./Park H.S.) on the left post for a one-timer to make it a 6-2 game. The latter Foster allowed his first goal just 56 seconds later on a Jase Sofo (Sylvania, Ohio/Amarillo Bulls) shot that caromed off of Freeman into the New Ulm net, and North Iowa carried a five-goal lead back into the locker room.
Two nights after a momentous two-goal performance against Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Carson Jones (Eden Prairie, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) tallied another one at the 4:52 mark of the third period, grabbing the puck below the goal line and floating one over the shoulder of Zach Foster for an 8-2 lead.
The final two goals came on the power play, with Jack Campion (Crystal, Minn./Armstrong-Cooper H.S.) ripping one over Zach Foster’s right shoulder at 7:03 to make it 9-2, and Caden Smith’s (Lakeville, Minn./Janesville Jets) weave-and-dangle to the New Ulm net with 7:54 to go, sliding the puck inside the back post for a 10-2 margin and the game’s final score.
“I think we’re trying to keep it simple right now,” said Campion. “We’re not trying to force anything (on the power play), we’re just dumbing it down right now and making easy plays, and getting pucks on net helps too.”
Campion and Newpower finished with a goal and two assists apiece, while eight other North Iowa players posted two-point performances. Daninger made 17 saves for the win, moving to 5-1, and posting the Bulls’ first goaltender point since Caleb Mayer’s (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North H.S.) assist against the Steel on November 21, the teams’ most recent meeting prior to Friday.
“Everybody’s getting on the score sheet,” said Newpower. “We have four lines that we can just roll through and put the puck in the net, and I think we’re all having fun with it.”
Griffin Foster took the loss, making 27 saves and dropping to 3-4 on the year. Zach Foster made 10 saves, picking up a no-decision in a relief role. The North Iowa special teams were nearly perfect, going 4-for-5 on the power play and wiping out New Ulm’s only man-advantage of the night.
North Iowa’s 16-game winning streak on home ice is its longest since a 19-game spurt spanning the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. That run does not include two playoff wins during the 2016 Silver Cup postseason on the way to the Bulls’ most recent national championship.
The Bulls travel to face Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the return game of their exhibition series on Wednesday night before welcoming Granite City to town on Friday, February 5. That game at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena gets underway at 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
Updated news and information on the North Iowa Bulls’ 10th Anniversary season are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
New Ulm 1 1 0 – 2
North Iowa 2 5 3 – 10
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Fox 7 (Mohs-Messerli, Campion), 6:32. 2, New Ulm, Saver 1 (Barry, Broten), 17:58. 3, North Iowa, Mohs-Messerli 2 (Campion, Fox), 18:43. Penalties-Dorn Num (holding-minor), 18:43; Lillico Num (tripping-minor), 19:29.
2nd Period-4, North Iowa, Jorgenson 4 (Nauss, Newpower), 0:42 (PP). 5, North Iowa, Triemert 3 (Freeman, Wendorf), 1:33. 6, New Ulm, Maillette 5 (Looft), 4:18. 7, North Iowa, Isogai 10 (Sloth, Smith), 9:49 (PP). 8, North Iowa, Newpower 8 (Jorgenson, Jones), 13:12. 9, North Iowa, Freeman 11 (Sofo, Triemert), 14:08. Penalties-Rauschenberger Num (interference-minor), 7:55; Mohs-Messerli Nio (cross checking-minor), 10:37; Stormer Num (hooking-minor), 14:47.
3rd Period-10, North Iowa, Jones 6 (Newpower), 4:52. 11, North Iowa, Campion 8 (Sullivan, Cichosz), 7:03 (PP). 12, North Iowa, Smith 2 (Sofo, Daninger), 12:06 (PP). Penalties-Saver Num (hooking-minor), 6:38; Gimberlin Num (tripping-minor), 11:47.
Shots on Goal-New Ulm 10-5-4-19. North Iowa 19-18-10-47.
Power Play Opportunities-New Ulm 0 / 1; North Iowa 4 / 5.
Goalies-New Ulm, Foster 3-3-0-0 (33 shots-27 saves); Foster 2-2-1-0 (14 shots-10 saves). North Iowa, Daninger 5-1-0-0 (19 shots-17 saves).
Linesmen-Evan Davis, Ben Gawlik.