MASON CITY, Iowa – Saturday night’s game between the North Iowa Bulls and Aberdeen Wings ended up looking awfully familiar. In the end, it looked like Friday’s game.
The flow was the same – a quick goal from North Iowa, an early response from the Wings, a two-goal lead that would later be erased, and a one-goal Aberdeen lead later on.
The result was also the same, even if the score was a little different – a third-round shootout goal for Aberdeen was the only goal in the extra session and the Wings got out of the Mason City Arena with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Bulls, their third straight shootout win head-to-head.
Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) stretched the limits of the North Iowa record books with the game’s opening goal, taking a pass from Jack Campion (Crystal, Minn./Mason City Toros) along the wall and snapping a top-shelf shot past Greg Orosz eight seconds into the game to give the Bulls an early 1-0 lead.
After 10 unsuccessful tries against the North Iowa penalty kill this season, the Wings power play would strike at 5:39 to tie the game at 1-1 – with Joey Potter (Pittsburgh, Pa./Twin City Thunder) serving a penalty for hooking, Hugo Allais shot the puck down the slot through the traffic to beat Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) and square the game.
The Bulls went 21 straight power play chances against Aberdeen without a goal and had gone 22 straight power plays overall without scoring entering Saturday’s game. It took just four seconds into a high-sticking call against Parks Wallace for the Bulls to wipe out both of those streaks on Saturday, as Jack Mesic (Plymouth, Mich./Amarillo Bulls) played Campion’s faceoff win off the point wall and tossed it past Orosz at 8:37 of the period to take the lead back.
North Iowa built the lead to 3-1 at 11:09 of the first, when Carter Rapalje (Burlington, Vt./Amarillo Bulls) intercepted a clearing attempt and ripped a low chance past Orosz from above the left-wing circle to double the lead.
The Wings wiped away the lead in the second period, and took their only lead of the night – Landry Schmuck pushed the puck past Garvey in a scramble just 91 seconds into the period to trim the lead back to 3-2. The puck had appeared to sneak over the goal line before Sean Vlasich (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Amarillo Bulls) was able to yank it back into play, and the officials briefly conferenced to confirm Schmuck’s goal.
A second Wings power play would result in a second Wings power play goal – just 11 seconds off the restart on an Andrew Stacey (Toledo, Ohio/Tri-State Spartans 18U AAA) cross-checking minor, Will Gilson clipped Cade Neilson with a shot down the slot, and the redirect ended up in the back of the net for a 3-3 tie at the 5:43 mark of the period. Just a few minutes later, Ronan Walsh gave Aberdeen the lead just three seconds off of a faceoff in the Bulls’ end, giving the Wings a 4-3 advantage at the midway point of the period.
“That’s something we’ve got to figure out – our second periods, we tend to struggle a bit,” said Mesic. “We’re past the halfway point (of the season) now, so we’ve got to start to figure out how to hold off teams in the second and propel forward to get more goals.”
Just like Friday, though, the Bulls would score a dramatic goal in the third period to tie the game. This time, the honors went to Potter – the rebound on Vlasich’s shot sat just above the goal line, and Potter would poke it in at the 5:07 mark to even up the contest.
The Bulls managed just three shots in the final 25 minutes of play, but killed off a gargantuan Aberdeen chance in the final moments of regulation – a tripping call against Potter with 1:37 left and a delay-of-game whistle to Greg Japchen (Doylestown, Pa./Amarillo Bulls) with 2.5 seconds remaining put the visitors on a 5-on-3 power play to begin overtime, but North Iowa would clear the power plays off the board before going to the shootout. Neilson’s stick-side goal in the shootout would represent the last goal of the night in the Wings’ win.
Aberdeen’s 5-2 win October 22 in their first-ever home game against the Bulls remains the only matchup between the teams to be decided by more than a goal. It also marks the first time North Iowa has ever played an opponent to a shootout in three straight meetings, and only the second time the Bulls have faced an opponent in three shootouts in the same season – the Chicago Hitmen won two of their three shootouts against North Iowa in the Bulls’ inaugural 2011-12 campaign.
Campion had two assists for North Iowa’s only multi-point outing, while Neilson and Schmuck each posted a goal and an assist for Aberdeen. Orosz earned his fourth win of the year with 11 saves, while Garvey took the loss with 33 saves on 37 Aberdeen shots. The game also marked the first appearance in a Bulls uniform for hometown forward Nik Howell (Mason City, Iowa/Mason City Toros), who played just a handful of shifts after helping the Toros to a 3-1 win over the Willmar WarHawks on Saturday afternoon.
North Iowa has just one home game left in the month of January, and will travel to North Dakota twice before returning to home ice on Thursday, January 27. The Bulls head to Minot to face the Minotauros on Friday and Saturday night next week. Friday’s opening puck drop at the Maysa Arena is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
Advance tickets are currently on sale for all upcoming North Iowa home games – to purchase tickets to any future Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Aberdeen 1 3 0 0 – 5
North Iowa 3 0 1 0 – 4
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Dombrowsky 10 (Campion), 0:08. 2, Aberdeen, Allais 6 (DuBois, Schmuck), 5:39 (PP). 3, North Iowa, Mesic 5 (Campion), 8:37 (PP). 4, North Iowa, Rapalje 18 (LaRusso, Mesic), 11:09. Penalties-Potter Nio (hooking-minor), 4:41; Wallace Abd (high sticking-minor), 8:33; Gaffney Abd (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 12:45; Campion Nio (roughing-minor), 12:45; Gilson Abd (cross checking-minor), 14:06; Gajewski Nio (roughing-minor), 14:06.
2nd Period-5, Aberdeen, Schmuck 8 (Davis, Gaffney), 1:31. 6, Aberdeen, Neilson 17 (Gilson, Gustafsson), 5:43 (PP). 7, Aberdeen, Walsh 13 (Bosse, Neilson), 10:02. Penalties-Stacey Nio (cross checking-minor), 5:32; Schmuck Abd (holding-minor), 10:50.
3rd Period-8, North Iowa, Potter 2 (Vlasich, Gajewski), 5:07. Penalties-Mesic Nio (hooking-minor), 10:13; Walsh Abd (interference-minor), 11:38; Howell Nio (slashing-minor), 11:38; Neilson Abd (roughing-minor), 15:56; Potter Nio (tripping-minor), 18:23; Japchen Nio (delay of game-minor), 19:59.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Walsh Abd (hooking-minor), 4:35.
Shootout – Aberdeen 1 (Campbell NG, Gaffney NG, Neilson G), North Iowa 0 (Hartley NG, Mesic NG, LaRusso NG).
Shots on Goal-Aberdeen 8-13-12-4-1-38. North Iowa 7-5-3-0-0-15.
Power Play Opportunities-Aberdeen 2 / 5; North Iowa 1 / 3.
Goalies-Aberdeen, Orosz 4-3-0-0 (15 shots-11 saves). North Iowa, Garvey 11-8-1-4 (37 shots-33 saves).
Linesmen-Colin Briscoe, Jacob Rozenberg.