MASON CITY, Iowa – The step from Tier III junior hockey to the North American Hockey League is only one step, but it’s a big step. For goaltender Erik Chaffe, that one big step is clearly a manageable one.
Chaffe anchored the defense for two of the North Iowa Bulls’ three wins at the NAHL Showcase this past week, shutting out both opponents that he faced in one of North Iowa’s most successful starts in team history. Those efforts earned him the league’s Bauer Hockey Central Division Star of the Week award, the first handed out by the NAHL this season. The Marion, Iowa native posted a 19-save shutout Wednesday against the Wisconsin Windigo to open the season, and then stopped 23 more saves Friday in a perfect performance against the Odessa Jackalopes.
“Erik had an impressive debut to his NAHL season, and we appreciate the effort giving us back-to-back shutouts,” said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden. “He’s calm and collected between the pipes which creates a calmness around him. As a top goalie in the NA3HL last year for the Toros we are excited to see the ladder of development working.”
Chaffe is well-known to hockey fans in Mason City, winning 15 games last season as a member of the North American 3 Hockey League’s Mason City Toros and leading the team to within a win of the Fraser Cup championship tournament. Last week, he tag-teamed with Mitchell Day to bring home the Bulls’ first back-to-back-to-back shutout wins since January of 2020, and the first consecutive shutout wins ever to open a season.
Four different players won the division’s Star of the Week award last season, taking home top honors a total of five times. Goaltender Hunter Garvey won the award twice last season, earning the hardware in October and November.
Chaffe will look to keep his hot streak going when the Bulls make the trip to Minot, North Dakota this weekend to begin divisional play against the Minot Minotauros. Both games at the Maysa Arena are slated for a 7:35 p.m. puck drop, with live coverage on HockeyTV Presented by Dakota Fix Shelter Insurance and NorthIowaBulls.com.
Advance tickets for all North Iowa home games are available online now at northiowabulls.isportstix.com. Updated news and information on Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.