February 10, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Sports Arena East – Sauk Rapids, Minn.
NORTH IOWA BULLS (17-4-0-0)
@ GRANITE CITY LUMBERJACKS (9-6-0-0)
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 40-28-5
NEXT HOME GAME: North Iowa celebrates Valentine’s Day on Sunday with a home contest against the Willmar WarHawks. “Hockey and Hearts” date-night packages are still available, featuring pizza, drinks and tickets to the game with a view from one of the Bulls’ club boxes. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
SOTA’S SECOND TIME AROUND: The Bulls have their first repeat winner of the NA3HL’s West Division Star of the Week award for this season, after Sota Isogai was chosen as the division’s top player from last weekend. Isogai wrapped up the weekend with five points, including two goals and an assist in Friday’s 7-5 win over the Lumberjacks. His two goals, including an empty-net toss from in front of the visiting penalty box, bookended the scoring in the Bulls’ first home game of the year against Granite City. He was also named the division’s Star of the Week for a four-point weekend over Halloween against the Willmar WarHawks. He enters this weekend on a six-game point streak, the longest active streak on the team and one shy of the Bulls’ season-best, set by Kyle Heffron.
THE RACE IS ON: Sota Isogai and Garrett Freeman also find themselves in quite a battle for the top scoring honors on this season’s roster – Isogai has five goals in as many games, including three during the past weekend, and has jumped into the team lead with 13 goals. Freeman picked up three assists over the weekend, but went without a goal over the two games, sitting at 11 entering the new week. The Sartell, Minnesota native has climbed into the team scoring lead alongside defenseman Cal Nauss, with 21 points apiece – he and Northeast’s Deacon More are the only defensemen in the league to lead their teams in scoring (with both currently tied for their teams’ top spots).
STARTING STRONG: It’s especially important for each team to take every opportunity to draw first blood in this game – North Iowa has scored first in 15 games this season and won 14 of them, while the Lumberjacks have won all five games in which they’ve struck first. The door is a little more open for the Bulls, though – while the first period has yielded the most scoring chances for the Lumberjacks, it is also their lowest-scoring period.
JUST TRY AND KEEP UP: The last get-together between North Iowa and Granite City was a topsy-turvy one last Friday, a 7-5 Bulls win featuring five ties and four lead changes. The last meeting with that much offensive firepower came on February 3, 2017 – the ‘Jacks won that one by a 7-5 count on the Bulls’ home ice. Only the Bulls’ 10-5 win on January 25, 2014 yielded more offense between the two teams than last Friday’s battle.
MEDIA NOTES (click the arrow to expand):