March 19, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Multipurpose Arena – Mason City, Iowa
GRANITE CITY LUMBERJACKS (23-9-0-1)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (25-9-1-1)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 42-28-6
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS: North Iowa returns to home ice this Friday and Saturday for their Autism Speaks jersey auction weekend against Granite City – the Bulls will wear special jerseys, which are being auctioned throughout the week through DASH Auction. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
SO CLOSE AT SHATTUCK: The Bulls nearly pulled off another franchise first on Wednesday night in an exhibition game at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, falling just short against one of the nation’s top prep hockey programs. Carter Newpower picked up the game’s first goal just 20 seconds in, but the Sabres evened up the game just 1:03 later, and got the eventual game-winner from Charlie Lurie on a third-period power play goal in a 3-2 win over North Iowa. Lurie ended the night with a goal and an assist, denying the Bulls their first-ever win in Faribault.
ONE STEP CLOSER: Neither team will be able to clinch a West Division championship this weekend, but both teams can get within sight of the crown by the end of the night on Saturday. North Iowa’s magic number is just 10 points – the cleanest way to get there for the Bulls is to win three of their final four matchups against Granite City and clinch the title on the Lumberjacks’ home ice. The best-case scenario for the Bulls would be to sweep the ‘Jacks and for New Ulm to grab another win over Granite City on Sunday. However, Granite City’s own magic number for a West Division championship is 14, meaning the Lumberjacks would need a single additional win if they are able to take three of four against North Iowa over the next two weeks. Naturally, any overtime matchups would muddy the waters considerably.
AS CLOSE AS IT GETS: The last two times North Iowa and Granite City got together, the teams made history, marking only the third time in Bulls history that they had decided back-to-back games in a shootout. North Iowa decided back-to-back shootouts with a loss to Alexandria and a win at Granite City late in the 2012-13 season, and split back-to-back shootouts with the Chicago Hitman during the inaugural 2011-12 campaign. The Bulls and Lumberjacks are no strangers to extra-long contests, with the Bulls holding a 6-5 advantage all-time in overtime and shootout meetings.
CLOSE THE DOOR: Granite City is one a hot streak despite Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the New Ulm Steel, a game in which the Steel led by as many as three goals – the Lumberjacks have won 10 of 12 behind outstanding goaltending from Bailey Huber, the reigning West Division Star of the Week. Huber stopped 54 of 57 shots last week in wins over Alexandria and Willmar for Granite City’s third Star of the Week in four weeks.
MEDIA NOTES (click the arrow to expand):