March 20, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Multipurpose Arena – Mason City, Iowa
GRANITE CITY LUMBERJACKS (23-10-0-1)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (26-9-1-1)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 43-28-6
TONIGHT’S PROMOTIONS: North Iowa finishes its Autism Speaks jersey auction weekend tonight 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.
THIS IS (MAYBE) IT: Depending on how the NA3HL West Division semifinals shake themselves out in two weeks, this may be the final time that Bulls fans get to see Granite City make a visit to the River City after a tremendous 10-year rivalry between the teams. This will be the 38th time the teams have met at either the North Iowa Ice Arena or the Mason City Multipurpose Arena, where the Bulls have enjoyed a .730 winning percentage in the head-to-head series. The series has ebbed and flowed, but North Iowa enjoyed a 15-game home winning streak against the Lumberjacks from January 19, 2013 to December 12, 2015.
FINISH STRONG: Even with the abbreviated home schedule, North Iowa will continue an outstanding run of home success as the 2020-21 regular season winds down. Friday’s victory over Granite City was the Bulls’ 15th home win of the season, the 10th year in a row the team has accomplished that feat. The Bulls’ 20- game home schedule matches that of their inaugural year in 2011-12, when North Iowa closed out the season with a 15-4-0-1 mark at the North Iowa Ice Arena. A 16th win at home would mark nine straight years with that accomplishment.
THIS IS WHAT’S AT STAKE: North Iowa’s magic number for a West Division championship is down to just six points after earning a win last night – the game was worth the typical two points in the standings, but four off the magic number (the Bulls’ two points plus the two points missed by the Lumberjacks). The cleanest way to get there for the Bulls is to win two of their final three matchups against Granite City and clinch the title on the Lumberjacks’ home ice. The best-case scenario for the Bulls would be to finish a sweep of the ‘Jacks and for Granite City to fall at New Ulm on Sunday or at home Wednesday against Willmar. 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 all of their final three meetings against North Iowa. Naturally, any overtime finishes would muddy the waters considerably.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCES: North Iowa earned a major feather in its cap with Friday’s win by topping Bailey Huber, the reigning West Division Star of the Week – Huber stopped 54 of 57 shots last week in wins over Alexandria and Willmar, earning Granite City’s third Star of the Week in four weeks. It’s been a banner stretch for the West’s top two teams, with five of the last six weekly honors in the West going to either a Bulls player or a Lumberjack.
MEDIA NOTES (click the arrow to expand):