January 23, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Multipurpose Arena – Mason City, Iowa
WILLMAR WARHAWKS (8-9-0-0)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (13-4-0-0)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. WILLMAR ALL-TIME: 19-0-1
TONIGHT’S PROMOTIONS: North Iowa hosts its Christie Door Company “Frontline Heroes” Night tonight, with a special recognition for all of our area’s essential workers during the first intermission and a presentation featuring Christie Door’s USRA Iron Man Challenge champions prior to the second-intermission Chuck-a-Puck. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
SLIDING INTO SECOND: Evan Babekuhl’s win on Friday evening moved him past a pair of North Iowa goaltending giants, landing him all alone in second place on the Bulls’ all-time wins list. Babekuhl’s 16-save performance was his 32nd win as a North Iowa Bull, moving him past Chris Amsden and David Johnson, who each left North Iowa with national championships in their final appearances. The only remaining North Iowa goalie to catch is Matthew Bartels, who led the Bulls to their first national title in 2013 and finished his career with 41 regular-season victories.
GAINING ALTITUDE: In tonight’s opponent, the Bulls will face a Willmar WarHawks team that is catching fire at the start of the new year. The WarHawks lost eight of their first 10, but have since flipped a switch with six wins in their last seven games, including wins in all three games out of the extended Minnesota COVID shutdown. That run includes a 6-1 rout of West Division winning-percentage leader Granite City last weekend, including four-point nights from Jack Willis and Michael Sweetland. Sweetland notched a hat trick, which included one of his three game-winning goals during the recent run.
WE’RE TALKIN’ ABOUT WILLIS: Willmar’s Jack Willis will look to continue a torrid run of his own as the WarHawks return to the ice tonight – his two assists in their 6-1 win over Alexandria on Wednesday extended his point streak to nine games, and his eight straight games with an assist is the longest such active streak in the league. A goal on Halloween night at North Iowa started the point streak, but remains his most recent tally. Willis is the reigning West Division Star of the Week, after posting two assists last Friday against the Blizzard and four more against the Granite City Lumberjacks on Saturday.
NOT POWERLESS TO STOP IT: North Iowa will be looking for a little extra pep in its step from the special teams in tonight’s game after getting off to a sluggish start out of the new year. An 0-for-1 mark last night put the Bulls at 12 straight power play chances that have been killed off by opponents, and 17 of the last 18. The Bulls’ penalty kill sits at 9-for-13 coming out of the break, and just 7-of-11 in the last two games.
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