MASON CITY, Iowa – Saturday night’s North Iowa Bulls game in Mason City featured a home team doing what it hasn’t done all season and will hope to not do again until the Fraser Cup tournament in March – play three games on back-to-back-to-back days. The legs might have been slowing at times, but the Bulls scored at warp speed on a shorthanded Wausau RiverWolves team in a 13-0 win.
The RiverWolves dressed just a dozen skaters for the game, after losing 13-4 to the Rochester Ice Hawks the previous night. Four players in that game were ejected, including top-scoring Wausau defenseman Ron Rentner, who was assessed 69 penalty minutes on the night after coming off the bench to instigate a fight in the second period.
The penalty summary was far quieter in this one, but the Bulls got their home crowd to their feet late in the first period, with a Shane Bernhardson (Apple Valley, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) goal with 6:01 to go.
That opened the floodgates – Cameron Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./Totino-Grace H.S.) notched two and Tucker Kruse (Woodbury, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) fired one in off of a faceoff won by Isaac Baron (Burnsville, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels), all in the span of less than three minutes, to make it a 4-0 game at the break.
Fagerlee finished off his hat trick in short order, scoring 1:49 into the second period for a 5-0 North Iowa lead. Tyler Bump (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) put away the team’s second power-play goal of the game at 4:18 to push the lead to six, and a steal at the blue line would set Baron up for a goal of his own at the 5:52 mark.
North Iowa wasn’t done yet – Jett Larson (Rancho Mirage, Calif./Shattuck-St. Mary’s U18) scored on a rebound in front of the net just past the halfway point of the period, and with 3:19 to go before the second intermission, Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) beat Wausau backup Jackson Fazendin for his team-leading 30th goal of the season.
Already up 9-0 heading to the third, Mitch Dolter (Faribault, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) added to the lead just 11 seconds into the period, and Kruse would light the lamp at 3:40 for an 11-0 advantage.
Lucas McKinnon (Chapin, Iowa/North Iowa Bulls) fed Daniel Sandvig (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville H.S.) for a goal with 5:24 remaining to make it an even dozen, and Connor Clemons‘s (Savage, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) first goal of the night at 18:09 capped off the festivities. Clemons would finish with a game-high five helpers to go with that final goal.
The Bulls peppered the Wausau net from start to finish, racking up 62 shots in the game, while Colin Cain (Hummelstown, Pa./N.J. Junior Titans U18) pushed aside all 22 challenges from the RiverWolves for his fifth shutout and 21st win of the season. Henry Baribeau stopped 26 of North Iowa’s first 33 shots before being replaced by Fazendin, who made 23 stops on the Bulls’ last 29 shots.
With the victory, Cain moves into sole possession of third place on the Bulls’ single-season wins list. Just four victories separate him from the team record, with 11 games to go on North Iowa’s regular-season schedule.
Six of those remaining games, however, are against current division leaders, starting with a Friday/Saturday set against the Metro Jets next weekend at the North Iowa Ice Arena. Live streaming coverage of all North Iowa Bulls games is available on HockeyTV, with free audio streaming Saturday on Mixlr.
Fans who give blood in this week’s blood drive at the North Iowa Ice Arena will receive half-price admission for Friday night’s home game, while Saturday night is YMCA Night at “The Barn.” For advance tickets to those games or any other Bulls home game, click here.