March 4, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason City Multipurpose Arena – Mason City, Iowa
WILLMAR WARHAWKS (14-15-0-0)
@ NORTH IOWA BULLS (22-7-1-1)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. WILLMAR ALL-TIME: 21-0-2
TONIGHT’S PROMOTIONS: North Iowa returns to home ice for “Thirsty Thursday,” with all domestic canned beers and craft draws marked back to just $3. Special St. Patrick’s Day t- shirts will also be on sale at Brutus’s Locker Room Sponsored by Christie Door Company, with a special first-night discount. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: North Iowa cannot sew up home-ice advantage in the first round of the Fraser Cup playoffs in this game, but a win puts them within striking distance – the magic number to lock out the WarHawks is just five points, while the magic number to hold off fourth-place Alexandria is even lower. Any two wins for the Bulls this weekend would cement another milestone in the team’s 10th Anniversary season, or a loss for Willmar against New Ulm on Friday could also give North Iowa the lead it cannot relinquish, though either a Thursday or Friday loss must be in regulation. In nine previous seasons (including last year’s COVID-cancelled playoffs), the Bulls have never failed to gain home-ice in the first round of the postseason.
NEAR-MISSES: The Bulls’ loss last Sunday tied the most goals allowed to the Steel in the team’s New Ulm era (since 2016), but it kept North Iowa from making history with its third straight overtime game – back-to-back overtime games have happened five different times in Bulls history, but they have never played in back-to-back-to-back overtime contests. North Iowa’s most recent home game against Willmar was also a near-miss, with the WarHawks narrowly ending an 18-game losing streak to the Bulls and an 11-game skid on North Iowa’s home ice. The Bulls have never lost in regulation to Willmar, but have twice won a regulation meeting by just one goal.
CHILD OF THE CORN: North Iowa’s newest college commitment was just made on Tuesday, with a formal announcement coming soon – goaltender Evan Babekuhl has announced he will head to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota to continue his career next season. The veteran North Iowa netminder has posted 35 wins in his career, second in Bulls history to only Matthew Bartels with 41. He is the sixth Bull all-time to make a commitment to the Cobbers.
MORE IN THE TOOLBOX: The latest Bauer Hockey West Division Star of the Week award has seen a little more hardware dropped in the North Iowa toolbox, with Carson Jones picking up the award yesterday – Jones had six points in a three-game week last week, including two goals and an assist in Sunday’s loss to New Ulm. It’s the sixth time a Bulls player has earned the division’s Star of the Week award.
MEDIA NOTES (click the arrow to expand):