November 5, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
November 6, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Arena – Mason City, IA
BISMARCK BOBCATS (3-10-1-0)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (8-4-0-2)
BULLS vs. BISMARCK ALL-TIME: 0-0-0
IN A NUTSHELL:
After a weekend off to recharge, North Iowa looks to open the 2021 stretch run with a victory.
THIS WEEKEND’S PROMOTIONS:
North Iowa celebrates its return to home ice Friday with Fleet Farm “Bucks and Pucks” Night, featuring a mini-stick giveaway to the first 100 fans in the door, plus intermission games and prizes, a special mascot appearance and additional fan freebies from Fleet Farm. Friday’s game is also a “Friday Night Lights” game, with selected Bulls players signing postgame autographs.
REKINDLING A COLD WAR:
Tonight’s game marks the first-ever meeting between the Bulls and Bobcats, but North Iowa’s battle against Bismarck was one of the hotter rivalries in the Central Division during the Outlaws’ run in town from 2005-10. This game marks the Bobcats’ first visit to Mason City since their 2-1 win on March 21, 2010 – that was one of 21 Bismarck victories in the five-year series against the Outlaws, against 25 losses.
SHOOT YOUR SHOT:
Bulls forward Carter Rapalje notched two game-tying goals in North Iowa’s most recent game against the Aberdeen Wings, and he got plenty of good looks – he notched a game-high nine shots (still the highest single-game total for any Bulls player this season), and has posted 18 scoring chances over the last three contests. Chris Carroll’s seven shots on net in that game ranks second for any North Iowa single-game total, while Hunter Bulger’s 27.8-percent shooting mark currently leads the team.
Much has happened on the alumni front since North Iowa’s last contest 13 days ago – 2014-16 star and one-time NA3HL MVP Brett Gravelle is already on his second stint in the ECHL, joining the Rapid City Rush for their weekend road trip to Utah. Last Wednesday, he earned a call-up from the SPHL’s Quad City Storm (where he had been playing with former teammate Tommy Stang) to the Iowa Heartlanders, where he reunited with Bulls teammate Jeff Solow and posted two goals and an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Wheeling Nailers. He becomes the third Bulls alumnus in the ECHL, along with Rush goaltender Adam Carlson, who made his junior debut with North Iowa during the 2012-13 season. 2019-20 NA3HL Rookie of the Year Lucas Wahlin has also made headlines with his NCAA Division I commitment to St. Thomas last week – Wahlin is the only Bulls alumnus to ever appear in a United States Hockey League game, currently playing for the Lincoln Stars.
BOBBING FOR WINS:
Bismarck earned three of four possible points against the St. Cloud Norsemen in their most recent week of action, and they’re also hoping a week off will propel them into the final six weeks of 2021. Brandon Lajoie earned the overtime winner for St. Cloud in a 4-3 victory on October 22, but Adam Pietila’s third-period goal clinched a 2-1 win for the Bobcats the following night. Bismarck struggled out of the gate, opening the season on a six-game losing skid.