BLAINE, Minn. – North Iowa came into the NA3HL Showcase with a power play goal in 10 straight games and a run of seven straight Showcase victories. North Iowa needed less than a period to extend the first of those streaks, while the latter took the entire evening in knocking off the Frontier Division-leading Bozeman Ice Dogs by a 5-1 count.
Bozeman’s Brock Finn picked up a holding penalty with just under six minutes left in the opening period, and the Bulls didn’t wait long to capitalize – in a brief puck battle in front of the crease, Carter Eha (Bloomington, Minn./Jamestown Rebels) swept a rebound in under Conan Hayton with 5:33 remaining to give the Bulls the 1-0 lead.
“We’re getting pucks on net (on the power play) and getting some lucky bounces sometimes,” said Eha. “Our forwards are burying their chances.”
North Iowa snuck in an extra goal before the intermission, though – Carter Wagner (Lino Lakes, Minn./Odessa Jackalopes) snapped one into the upper corner with 15 seconds left in the period, giving the Bulls a 2-0 lead heading to the locker room.
North Iowa would balance the big finish with another big start in the second period, thanks to Justin Daly’s (Delano, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) one-timer from just inside the slot at the 19-second mark of the period. That goal made it 3-0, but the Ice Dogs got one back when Luke McKay swept in a rebound on the back post to make it 3-1 just before the six-minute mark.
With 7:31 left in the second, Daly struck again with another rocket, this time over Hayton’s glove into the upper corner to make it 4-1.
“The linemates are buzzing,” said Daly. “They’re moving the puck well and they’re creating good chances.”
North Iowa gained a five-minute power play on a kneeing penalty to Hazen McKay at the 38-second mark of the third, and it didn’t take long for North Iowa to strike again on the man-advantage. Joey Petronack (White Bear Lake, Minn./Boston Jr. Rangers) finished off the scoring by mailing one in from just inside the blue line – the puck stayed low along the ice, and beat Hayton on his left side just 1:39 out of the locker room for the 5-1 lead.
In all, the Bulls capitalized on two of their five power-play chances, and Bozeman came up empty on its only power play of the evening, a two-minute cross-checking infraction against Eha in the third period. Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./North Iowa Bulls) made 15 saves to pick up his 10th win of the season, while Hayton fell to 7-6-1-0 with his 31 saves.
Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) had an impressive game of his own, putting three assists into the pile for the Bulls. Nick Bowlin (Woodbury, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) added two assists,
North Iowa takes a 21-4-2-0 record into a Fraser Cup semifinal rematch with the Texas Brahmas, with the opening puck drop set for 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. Bozeman’s record drops to 24-3-0-0 with the loss.
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Bozeman 0 1 0 – 1
North Iowa 2 2 1 – 5
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Eha 1 (Vercellono, Sullivan), 15:27 (PP). 2, North Iowa, Wagner 8 (Saltness, Roo), 19:45. Penalties-Greeley Boz (tripping-minor), 10:24; Finn Boz (holding-minor), 14:06.
2nd Period-3, North Iowa, Daly 6 (Dahlseide, Bowlin), 0:19. 4, Bozeman, McKay 14 (McKay, McGarrah), 5:56. 5, North Iowa, Petronack 2 (Dahlseide, Bowlin), 12:29. Penalties-Finn Boz (slashing-minor), 6:20; McKay Boz (roughing-minor), 8:48; Saltness Nio (slashing-minor), 8:48.
3rd Period-6, North Iowa, Petronack 3 (Dahlseide), 1:39 (PP). Penalties-McKay Boz (kneeing-major, kneeing-gm), 0:38; Eha Nio (cross checking-minor), 8:27.
Shots on Goal-Bozeman 6-6-4-16. North Iowa 15-12-9-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Bozeman 0 / 0; North Iowa 2 / 0.
Goalies-Bozeman, Hayton 7-6-1-0 (36 shots-31 saves). North Iowa, Skinner 10-2-2-0 (16 shots-15 saves).
Linesmen-H. Pickard, Ben Gawlik.