September 25, 2020 – 7:05 p.m.
Rochester Recreation Center @ Rochester, Minn.
NORTH IOWA BULLS (2019-20: 38-7-2-0)
@ ROCHESTER GRIZZLIES (2019-20: 37-8-1-1)
BULLS vs. ROCHESTER ALL-TIME: 6-6-1
NEXT HOME GAME: North Iowa opens the season with a home contest against the Alexandria Blizzard on Friday, October 2 – the Bulls’ home opener will feature a magnet schedule giveaway for the first 200 fans, and a handful of raffles and prize giveaways. Autographed schedule posters will be available in Brutus’s Locker Room Sponsored by Christie Door Company, and a few posters will also be tossed into the crowd during the game. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
LAST TIME IN THE MED CITY: The Rochester Recreation Center rink has been a tough place to pick up a win in recent visits for the Bulls, with the home team controlling the series ever since their head-to-head get-together in the West Division Semifinals two seasons ago. In the last meeting, the Grizzlies showcased their defense, allowing just 10 shots over the first 40 minutes of play. Lucas Wahlin’s goal 15 seconds into the third period was the lone marker for North Iowa in a 3-1 loss, as Mathias Backstrom made 21 saves for Rochester in the win. The last win for the Bulls in Rochester came on December 29, 2018, a come-from- behind 3-1 victory in which Dysen Skinner posted 21 saves on the 22 Grizzlies shots that he saw.
BACK 4 MORE: The defensive group is not a big one right now, but there is an abundance of returning talent among the Bulls’ four returning blueliners. Nico Aguilera returns after posting 33 points in his rookie season of junior hockey, the second-most among defensemen on last year’s team – close behind was Sean Sullivan, who posted 30 points, including 24 assists. Noah Roitman returns as well, having scored a goal in North Iowa’s first game in their new home in January, and notching a pair of points in the 2019-20 season opener at Breezy Point. The last returner only started the season with the Bulls before returning to his high school team – Albert Lea, Minnesota native Campbell Cichosz made a solid showing over the season’s first two months and then became the Tigers’ top-scoring defenseman in his final season of prep hockey.
DECADE OF DOMINANCE: This game marks the end of the Bulls’ preseason, as the team gets ready to begin its 10th Anniversary season on the ice in Mason City. Over the previous nine years, the Bulls have made their mark on the junior hockey landscape, winning 397 of their 499 games against junior competition and three more against the famed Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep team. The Bulls’ seven division championships and three national championships also out-rank every other team in the NA3HL over that nine-year span. More than 200,000 fans have taken in a North Iowa home game since the franchise debuted in 2011, with the NA3HL attendance title landing in Mason City in eight of those nine years. All of the Bulls’ six largest crowds have been posted since moving downtown, a number that appears poised to grow as the team plays its first full season at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena.
MEDIA NOTES (click the arrow to expand):