December 3, 2021 – 7:30 p.m. (Mason City Arena – Mason City, IA)
December 4, 2021 – 7:00 p.m. (Municipal Athletic Complex – St. Cloud, MN)
ST. CLOUD NORSEMEN (9-9-0-0)
vs. NORTH IOWA BULLS (13-6-0-2)
BULLS vs. ST. CLOUD ALL-TIME: 1-0-0
IN A NUTSHELL:
North Iowa welcomes the Norsemen to Mason City for the first time, and continues a decade-old tradition to benefit area children.
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS:
North Iowa hosts its 10th annual Teddy Bear Toss this evening, presented by CURRIES, part of the ASSA ABLOY group. Fans are invited to hurl teddy bears and other stuffed toys onto the ice following the first North Iowa goal. All toys tossed onto the ice will be donated to Toys For Tots.
SEA YOU DOWN THE ROAD:
The Bulls have landed a coach into the highest ranks of college hockey, with Alaska-Anchorage’s announcement this week that the Seawolves have hired Kevin Murdock as their new assistant coach. Murdock was back in Mason City as the Bulls’ Associate Head Coach/General Manager this season after spending two years in Alaska as an NAHL head coach with the Kenai River Brown Bears. He was a vital part of the Bulls’ success during his first stint in town from 2016 to 2019, leading the Bulls to 106 regular-season wins, two Fraser Cup tournament appearances and two division championships. UAA is reactivating its hockey program for 2022-23 after a two-year layoff due to financial difficulties, including COVID-related financial fallout.
NOT MES-ING AROUND:
One of North Iowa’s top blueliners has been out of the lineup since last Saturday, but not for injury or illness – Jack Mesic received a last-minute call-up to the United States Hockey League and the Lincoln Stars just ahead of their game last weekend against the Omaha Lancers. Mesic reunites with Rocky Russo and George Lewis, his coaches last year with the Amarillo Bulls, and became the first Bull to appear in a USHL game since North Iowa’s move to the NAHL. He also found himself sharing the ice with the very first Bulls alumnus to play in the USHL, former NA3HL West Division MVP Lucas Wahlin.
The Central Division standings remain a roller-coaster ride, with no sign of slowing down as the circuit’s teams head toward the season’s 40-percent mark. The Bulls’ two losses to Austin last week dropped them out of first place in the standings, but with two games in hand on the Austin Bruins, they remain atop the division in terms of winning percentage, and they have four games in hand on the Minot Minotauros, who sit just a point back of North Iowa for third. St. Cloud is looking to shake off a four-game skid in fifth place, while Bismarck has entered the chat just three points behind the Norsemen.
WARNING…THESE PUNS ARE BEAR-LY BEARABLE:
This game marks the Bulls’ 10th annual Teddy Bear Toss, which was begun in 2012 in the wake of the Newtown tragedy in Connecticut. North Iowa has never been “Grinched” in any of its Teddy Bear Toss games, with only the first one (a 2-1 win over the Breezy Point North Stars) seeing the bears stay in their fans’ paws-ession past the first intermission. The last two Teddy Bear Toss nights have seen the Bulls’ most “high-koalaty” starts yet, with Max Savaloja kicking off the fun just 2:19 into a Holiday Classic exhibition against the Sheridan Hawks. The wheel-bear-ows came out earliest in 2019, the final Teddy Bear Toss at the “Barn,” when Nick Bowlin scored just 45 seconds into a 6-3 win over the New Ulm Steel.