MASON CITY, Iowa – North Iowa wasn’t content to coast into the intermissions in its 6-1 win Saturday night against the Alexandria Blizzard. In fact, the Bulls added a final power-play goal with just 1:05 left in the game to seal the deal and pick up their sixth straight victory. Including the two pool-play wins at the Silver Cup tournament last year, North Iowa has earned standings points in 16 straight contests.
“That’s a pretty good weekend, [winning] 6-2 last night and 6-1 tonight,” said head coach Todd Sanden. “These West Division opponents, there’s history there and they have a few former Bulls on their roster, so you have to respect that team. They’re a good team coming off of a four-game winning streak before they got here in that tough West Division.”
North Iowa got off to another big start 6:35 into the contest on a rebound goal from Connor Clemons (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls).
Five minutes later, Jason Miner‘s (Cottage Grove, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) long stretch pass into the Blizzard half of the rink found Tyler Bump (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) with just 60 feet to go to the net. Bump dragged the puck to the right side of the slot and trickled it in underneath Meyers to push the first-intermission lead to 2-0.
It took almost to the 11-minute mark of the second period for North Iowa to earn another goal – Dan Sandvig (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville H.S.) found Bryceton Butkiewicz (Kettle River, Minn./Minnesota Wilderness) on the doorstep to pound one in, extending the lead to 3-0. Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) knocked in a one-timer with 7:02 to go in the period to extend the lead even further.
The Bulls almost got a fifth goal at the second-period horn. On a penalty kill, Sandvig raced the puck to the Blizzard net and ripped one over Brady Meyers’s shoulder to beat the horn. However, an errant stick from Jake Joyaux (Bloomingdale, Ill./North Iowa Bulls) found its way under the visor of Alexandria’s Logan Nelson. The high stick not only knocked the fifth goal off the board, but also led to a five-minute major penalty and the end of Joyaux’s night.
Colin Cain (Hummelstown, Pa./N.J. Junior Titans U18) took care of his share of the work on a long 5-on-3 penalty-kill, making five stops in one stretch, including one without a mask. In all, the Blizzard got 11 shots off during the five-minute power-play, but only got one in the net. Matt Dahlseide beat Cain to cut the lead to 4-1 at the 1:19 mark of the period, just three seconds after the Bulls got back to 5-on-4 play.
Alex Timm (Sand Creek, Wis./Northwest H.S.) ripped one over Meyers’s shoulder at 6:23 of the third period to take the lead back to four goals, and Brendan Studioso‘s (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) rebound goal on the power play with 1:05 left put an exclamation point on Saturday’s game.
“These were some hard-fought, hard-earned wins,” said Sanden. “We’re proud of our guys and the fact that they got that done.”
Cain was the star of the night yet again for the Bulls, making 39 saves on 40 shots, giving up only the third-period rebound tally to Dahlseide. Meyers took the loss for the second straight night, with 33 saves on 39 North Iowa chances. Alexandria’s power-play marker was the first allowed by the Bulls in two weeks, while Sanden’s team left the ice with a 2-for-7 count on the man-advantage.
The Bulls return home for a highly-anticipated series next week against the defending Silver Cup national champion Granite City Lumberjacks. Friday and Saturday night’s contests mark the Bulls’ “Thankful For” weekend – fans can get a $2 discount on admission with a non-perishable food donation each night.
Both games will be streamed live on HockeyTV, and Saturday night’s home contest will also be audio-streamed on Mixlr. For advance tickets to next weekend’s games or any other future Bulls home game, click here.