January 7, 2022 – 7:30 p.m.
January 8, 2022 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Arena – Mason City, IA
ABERDEEN WINGS (16-12-0-2)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (15-11-1-2)
BULLS vs. ABERDEEN ALL-TIME: 1-2-1
NORTH IOWA MEDIA NOTES: FRIDAY | SATURDAY
IN A NUTSHELL:
A win for the Bulls tonight would also mean a chance to move up in the Central Division standings.
THIS WEEKEND’S PROMOTIONS:
North Iowa commemorates Mental Wellness Month Friday night with the Bulls’ “Hockey Talks” game – fans are encouraged to take the “$4 For a Score” pledge to donate four dollars to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention’s Iowa chapter for each goal the Bulls score in Friday’s game. On Saturday, the Bulls welcome several favorite D.C. Comics superhero characters to the arena for “Hockey and Heroes” Night, with area merchants and businesses taking part in a “Super Job Fair” on the concourse from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. prior to and during the game.
Michael Mesic’s first-period goal against the Bruins last Saturday night gave him a goal in four straight games, the third player on the North Iowa roster to post a tally in four straight. Byron Hartley posted his first junior goals during a four-game stretch in early October, while Dylan Gajewski opened his tenure as a Bull with goals in four straight in early December, the first North Iowa player to post goals in his first four goals as a Bull since Dominic Skrelja at the beginning of the team’s 2017-18 NA3HL campaign.
THEY’RE KILLIN’ IT:
The first four meetings between the teams were memorable for both Aberdeen and North Iowa’s penalty-killing units – the Wings and Bulls combined for 28 power play chances in their first two weekends against each other, with a perfect penalty-kill mark on each side. North Iowa went scoreless on its 18 power plays in their first four get-togethers with Aberdeen, while killing off all 10 of the Wings’ power plays in that same time frame.
AN ARMY OF ONE:
North Iowa’s latest NCAA Division I commitment belongs to defenseman and captain Sean Vlasich, who is set to take his game to West Point next season. Vlasich announced his commitment last Thursday and the Bulls followed with an announcement on Monday, as Vlasich becomes the Bulls’ second player to make it to the United States Military Academy. However, he’ll be the first former Bull to make it onto the Black Knights’ Division I roster – defenseman Jaxon Jones is in his third year with West Point’s ACHA Division II club after earning an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.
POSTING THE HIGH SCORE:
Dylan Gajewski’s two points last weekend made him the sixth member of the Bulls’ 20-point club for this season (despite half of those points coming with the Austin Bruins prior to his joining North Iowa at the start of last month) – the Bulls are one of only six teams in the NAHL with at least six 20-point scorers on the roster as the first full weekend of the new year gets underway. The title of top scorer coming into this game, though, belongs to the Aberdeen Wings’ Cade Neilson, whose 28 assists and 44 points both rank at the top of the NAHL leaderboard.
READ THE ROOM:
With the exception of Aberdeen and North Iowa, the Central Division points standings once again mirror the percentage rankings, with Minot’s .609 mark leading the way. North Iowa ranks fourth in points with the third-best winning percentage, while the inverse is true for the Wings.