October 9, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.
Sports Arena East – Sauk Rapids, Minn.
NORTH IOWA BULLS (1-0-0-0)
@ GRANITE CITY LUMBERJACKS (1-0-0-0)
COVERAGE: HockeyTV (video/$)
LIVE STATS: CLICK HERE
BULLS vs. GRANITE CITY ALL-TIME: 38-27-5
NEXT HOME GAME: North Iowa returns to home ice on Saturday, October 17 for “Hocktoberfest,” featuring $2 beer specials and free pucks and mini-sticks with a $25 merchandise purchase. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
LAST GOOD TIME IN TOWN: The Bulls and Lumberjacks split each of their first three weekends together last season, but the difference in the season series came in the final weekend in Minnesota – Harrison Stewart snapped one past Bailey Huber just 44 seconds into overtime in the Friday night contest for a 5-4 Bulls win, and North Iowa recovered from a pair of early Granite City power-play goals to score five unanswered on Saturday for a 5-2 win. Lucas Wahlin scored two goals in each game, and the Bulls earned their first weekend sweep in Sauk Rapids since the 2013-14 season. The Bulls head into the weekend on a nine-game winning streak, while Granite City ended its 2019-20 season with six losses in seven games for the first time since 2017-18.
ALREADY GONE: North Iowa has already said goodbye to three players who made a major mark in the season’s opening weekend, sending them on to the North American Hockey League’s Kenai River Brown Bears. Isaac Lindstrom, Caleb Huffman and Carter Eha are all part of the Brown Bears’ preseason roster, as they battle for spots on Kenai River’s opening-night roster on November 5. They are poised to add to an impressive alumni list for the Bulls, with more than 50 players moving from North Iowa to the NAHL since the team’s inaugural 2011-12 season.
THE LONG RUN: The series between North Iowa and Granite City is always a battle, and not being able to settle a bout in 60 minutes is a common occurrence. The overtime game between the Bulls and Lumberjacks on March 6 marked the fifth consecutive season that a North Iowa/Granite City game has gone to overtime, and of the 70 meetings all-time between the teams, a dozen have gone to the extra session. Each team has won six of those games.
NEW KIDS IN TOWN: Granite City is in reloading mode this season, after saying farewell to a dynamic and experienced group from the 2019-20 campaign. Highlighting the list of players who aged out of junior hockey is Bailey Sommers, who scored 23 goals last year and became the Lumberjacks’ all-time top goal scorer during the final weekend against the Bulls. Leading scorer Carson Simon returns for a third season of junior hockey after scoring 25 goals in back-to-back seasons (2018-19 with Breezy Point). Seven of the top nine scorers from last season departed, but returning forward Nick Plautz came up big with a pair of goals in last Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Willmar WarHawks.