SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. – Besides being the two sides of Tier III junior hockey’s premier rivalry, Granite City and North Iowa are two teams who know how to win. The Bulls and Lumberjacks have combined for 10 division championships and six Fraser Cup titles over their seven years on the ice.
Granite City won Friday’s clash of the defending division champs handily, with the West Division titleholders defeating the three-time Central champions by a 6-1 final score. It’s the Lumberjacks’ first win in the series by such a margin in six years.
The ‘Jacks out-shot their visitors by a 12-7 margin in the first period, but with no goals and only one penalty meted out between the teams, it was a relatively straightforward 20 minutes.
The hosts asserted themselves early in the second period – Zack DeBoom and Jordan Olson turned a scoreless game into a two-goal affair with power-play goals just 21 seconds apart. Minor penalties to Joey Petronack (White Bear Lake, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) and Marco Escobar (Plainfield, Ill./Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede U18) put the Lumberjacks up 5-on-3 in the opening minute of the stanza.
DeBoom struck just 11 seconds after Escobar was whistled for holding, at the 1:07 mark of the period. With Escobar still serving his penalty, Olson added another one to push the lead to 2-0.
Noah Bissett buried his chance at 4:03 of the period, bumping the lead to three goals. Jordan Drobinski’s goal with 2:13 left in the period pushed the lead to four goals, and kept the Bulls from carrying the 3-0 game into the final period.
Garrett Sandberg was dinged for a holding penalty just inside the final minute of the second period, but Granite City earned its first shorthanded tally of the year on DeBoom’s second goal of the night, just 12 seconds into the third period.
DeBoom himself ended up in the box on a tripping call, allowing the Bulls to respond at 1:01 of the third. Ian Doner‘s (Mukilteo, Wash./Janesville Jets) second goal with the Bulls snapped the Lumberjack scoring run and dropped the lead to 5-1.
After six-and-a-half minutes, Granite City’s Ryan Pogue bested Evan Babekuhl (Long Lake, Minn./Orono H.S.) to lift the ‘Jacks back to a five-goal lead, a margin that survived the remainder of the game.
Special teams were a major factor in the game, with Brad Willner’s team leaving the home ice with three goals on five power-play chances, plus DeBoom’s shorthanded marker. Doner’s power-play goal snapped a string of 27 empty power-play chances for the Bulls, as Todd Sanden’s team wrapped up the night at 1-for-7 with the extra man.
Babekuhl stopped 26 of Granite City’s 32 shots, taking the loss and dropping to 1-3-0-0 on the season. Only Doner’s goal kept David Mulligan from landing his seventh career shutout with the Lumberjacks, with 27 saves on 28 North Iowa opportunities.
The Bulls drop to 5-4-0-0 on the season, while Granite City rings up its fifth win on the season in six games. The Bulls go for the split Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Armadillo Deck Rink at Sports Arena East. All North Iowa Bulls games, home and away are streamed live on HockeyTV. Select Bulls games, including Saturday’s game, are also audio-streamed at no charge on Mixlr.
North Iowa returns to the “Barn” on Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20 to face the Breezy Point North Stars and celebrate our first responders. Firefighters will be honored on “Fire and Ice Night” on Friday night, while law-enforcement will be honored at “Light It Up Night” on Saturday night. For advance tickets to those games, or any future Bulls home game, click here.
North Iowa 0 0 1 – 1
Granite City 0 4 2 – 6
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Sievek Gcy (interference-minor), 4:10.
2nd Period-1, Granite City, DeBoom 5 (Olson, Drobinski), 1:07 (PP). 2, Granite City, Olson 2 (DeBoom, Schwehr), 1:28 (PP). 3, Granite City, Bissett 6 (Amundson, Larson), 4:03. 4, Granite City, Drobinski 2 (Olson, DeBoom), 17:47 (PP). Penalties-Petronack Nio (tripping-minor), 0:19; Escobar Nio (holding-minor), 0:56; Flattum Gcy (holding-minor), 11:10; Schwehr Gcy (unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 14:33; Sommers Gcy (cross checking-minor), 16:03; Giddings Nio (holding-minor), 16:52; Verstegen Nio (cross checking-minor), 17:34; Sandberg Gcy (holding-minor), 19:03.
3rd Period-5, Granite City, DeBoom 6 0:12 (SH). 6, North Iowa, Doner 2 (Studioso, Dahlseide), 1:01 (PP). 7, Granite City, Pogue 2 (Amundson, Larson), 7:33. Penalties-DeBoom Gcy (tripping-minor), 0:32; Sandberg Gcy (hooking-minor), 5:26; Pogue Gcy (checking from behind-minor), 11:33; Verstegen Nio (checking from behind-minor), 18:04.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 7-10-11-28. Granite City 12-9-11-32.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 1 / 7; Granite City 3 / 5.
Goalies-North Iowa, Babekuhl 1-3-0-0 (32 shots-26 saves). Granite City, Mulligan 3-0-0-0 (28 shots-27 saves).
Linesmen-Tony Aronson, Kyle Domin.