MASON CITY, Iowa – A few weeks ago, Bulls forward Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/Okanagan Europe U20) was just getting settled into his new routine in northern Iowa, with new surroundings and a new host family. His English is still a bit broken, but his play was as polished as ever on Friday evening in an 8-2 win over the Breezy Point North Stars.
Isogai scored the first three goals of the night, ending the evening with the eventual game-winner just 18 minutes into his second game on the Bulls’ home ice.
Rebounds were the name of the game for the Japanese native, banging in the extra chances off of shots from Sean Sullivan (Middleton, Wis./Madison Capitols 18U) at 10:46 of the opening period and Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) at the 14:25 mark.
With 1:58 left in the period, Isogai finished off his hat trick with another assist from Roo before the teams had a chance to stretch their legs in the first intermission. Roo himself lit the lamp just seconds later off of a right-point blast from Davis Smidt (Brentwood, Tenn./Kenai River Brown Bears), giving the Bulls a 4-0 lead heading to the locker room.
The first line that had been so potent against Willmar last weekend came up big again halfway through the second period, with Cam Fagerlee (St. Anthony, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) sprinting into the Breezy Point zone and ripping one off of his back foot past North Stars goalie Conan Hayton’s left shoulder for a 5-0 lead.
Harrison Stewart (Rockford, Ill./Amarillo Bulls) fired a wrist shot from the right wing that nosed its way through the traffic with just under five minutes remaining in the period, pushing the lead to 6-0.
After almost two full periods without a penalty, the special teams made their presence felt late in the second stanza. Zeph Goret snuck one past Joe Daninger (Blaine, Minn./Blaine H.S.) with just 10.9 seconds on the clock, sending the North Stars to the locker room with some momentum.
That momentum quickly went back to the home team, with Fagerlee picking up goal number two at the 1:27 mark of the second period for a 7-1 advantage. Mario Maietta caught a pass from Garrett Freeman along the right wing, and snapped a wrist shot in stride at the 9:00 mark of the third to trim the lead again to five goals.
The Bulls got their second hat trick with just 3:18 left, after Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) found Fagerlee for a tap-in on the doorstep to cap the scoring. Dahlseide finished the night with three assists, as did Lucas Wahlin (Woodbury, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.). Sullivan closed the night with a pair of assists of his own.
Daninger closed out the night with 14 saves on 16 Breezy Point shots, earning his third win as a Bull, while Hayton made 50 saves in the loss. The Bulls did not score on either of their power play chances in the contest, ending their streak at six straight games with a power play tally.
As for the winning streak in the head-to-head series, North Iowa has won 10 straight, with the teams set to face each other for the final time in the “Barn” on Saturday night. The opening puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
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Breezy Point 0 1 1 – 2
North Iowa 4 2 2 – 8
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Isogai 2 (Sullivan, Wahlin), 10:46. 2, North Iowa, Isogai 3 (Roo, Stewart), 14:25. 3, North Iowa, Isogai 4 (Roo, Wahlin), 18:02. 4, North Iowa, Roo 4 (Wahlin, Smidt), 18:34. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-5, North Iowa, Fagerlee 8 (Dahlseide, Sullivan), 10:57. 6, North Iowa, Stewart 2 (Enright, McNeil), 15:08. 7, Breezy Point, Goret 1 (Maietta, Freemon), 19:51 (PP). Penalties-Bowlin Nio (tripping-minor), 17:09; Praetz Bzp (interference-minor), 17:38; Slepica Bzp (unsportsmanlike conduct – 10 minute), 17:38; Sullivan Nio (tripping-minor), 18:13.
3rd Period-8, North Iowa, Fagerlee 9 (Bowlin, Dahlseide), 1:27. 9, Breezy Point, Maietta 4 (Freemon, Bourassa), 9:00. 10, North Iowa, Fagerlee 10 (Dahlseide, Bowlin), 16:42. Penalties-Freemon Bzp (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 2:07; Freemon Bzp (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct, unsportsmanlike conduct-gm), 10:44; Enright Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 10:44; Isogai Nio (high sticking-minor), 12:52; Bourassa Bzp (slashing-minor), 13:35; Sorby Bzp (slashing-minor), 18:43; Wagner Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 18:43; Bourassa Bzp (roughing-double minor), 19:51; Kingery Bzp (roughing-double minor), 19:51; Wahlin Nio (roughing-double minor), 19:51.
Shots on Goal-Breezy Point 8-5-3-16. North Iowa 16-19-23-58.
Power Play Opportunities-Breezy Point 1 / 3; North Iowa 0 / 3.
Goalies-Breezy Point, Hayton 0-3-1-0 (58 shots-50 saves). North Iowa, Daninger 3-0-0-0 (16 shots-14 saves).
Linesmen-James McQuesten, Calvin Stace Alvarado.