MASON CITY, Iowa – Sota Isogai’s home nation is known as the Land of the Rising Sun – after all, as the sun rises, Japan is one of the first prominent countries it reaches after crossing the International Date Line.
His star is clearly rising in North Iowa, and his stock is also rising on the North American Tier 3 Hockey League scene. After a tremendous two-game performance this past week, Isogai was named the West Division’s Bauer Hockey Star of the Week on Tuesday. He is the third straight North Iowa player to earn a Star of the Week award, after Garrett Freeman and Brayden Uttech earned those honors each of the last two weeks.
The native of Nagano, Japan had two goals and an assist on Friday night in a 13-3 win over the Willmar WarHawks – Isogai’s first-period goal was one of a franchise-record eight in the opening 20 minutes. He added the other on the penalty kill with less than a minute to go in the second period by racing corner-to-corner behind the Willmar net with the puck before reversing back and wrapping the puck around the post into the WarHawks’ net. After the Bulls’ unreal start on Friday, he opened the scoring 1:40 into Saturday’s 5-2 win over Willmar in Mason City.
After coming up empty the previous week, Isogai climbed back within a single point of a point-per-game pace for the season, with six goals and an assist over his first eight appearances. It’s been a week full of exciting news for the forward’s family, with younger brother Kenta officially earning a spot on the opening-night roster for the United States Hockey League’s Youngstown Phantoms on Tuesday as well.
The Bulls wrap up a brief homestand this weekend with home games against Willmar on Friday and the Alexandria Blizzard on Saturday. This weekend marks North Iowa’s “Decade Of Dominance” weekend, celebrating the team’s 10th Anniversary season with special jerseys, which will be auctioned off after Saturday’s game. Former North Iowa standouts will also appear at this weekend’s games, and the team will also raffle a jersey from its inaugural season in 2011-12. To purchase advance tickets to any upcoming North Iowa Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
Updated news and information on the North Iowa Bulls’ 10th Anniversary season are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.