Norsemen Post Late Comeback For Overtime Win Over Bulls

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. – When it comes to the newest face on the North Iowa Bulls’ roster, just say “yes.”

One night after scoring his first goal as a Bull in front of the home fans, Dylan Gajewski (Woodhaven, Mich./Austin Bruins) went in front of the St. Cloud Norsemen faithful and doubled his fun with two more, putting the Bulls in front on two separate occasions.

However, North Iowa never found the insurance goal it sought, and the Norsemen put together a late comeback for a 3-2 overtime win.

The Bulls snagged the early lead just before the halfway mark of the first period, when Gajewski shoveled a backhand chance down the slot to beat Tomas Bolo and give the Bulls a 1-0 lead.

For 37 minutes, North Iowa held the lead and Hunter Garvey (San Diego, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) held St. Cloud at bay, stopping all 13 shots against the Bulls in the first period and all 17 in the second period. At the 6:40 mark of the third, Kade Peterson hit his mark, sending one over Garvey’s right shoulder into the top corner of the net for the 1-1 tie.

Gajewski had more to say, finishing a 2-on-1 chance from Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./Amarillo Bulls) to take the lead back with 10:17 remaining in regulation.

Down by a goal again, the Norsemen merely cranked up the pressure a little further. The hosts would capitalize on a turnover deep in the Bulls zone with a backdoor pass to Blake Perbix, who tucked the puck past Garvey’s outstretched right leg to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:46 to play.

Neither team put a full scoring chance together in the extra session until the 2:46 mark, when Nik Hong entered the zone in a 1-on-1 chance, with only one man between him and the North Iowa netminder. Hong found St. Cloud veteran Ryan O’Neill for a backdoor pass, and O’Neill dangled the puck into the net for his third game-winning goal of the season.

Despite the loss, Garvey was sensational in net for the Bulls, making 49 saves on his 52 chances. Bolo picked up his second win of the weekend, making 23 saves on 25 North Iowa shots.

“We played pretty well. Garvey stood on his head for us, and we really didn’t help him out a lot in the end,” said Dombrowsky. “It’s good to see Dylan doing well – he definitely adds to our speed. We have a lot of fast guys on our team and he helps with that. He’s got a good shot, and he’s going to help us out in the long run. I don’t think we played terrible, we just have to get back on track next weekend.”

The Norsemen climbed to 11-9 for the season, flipping a four-game losing skid into their first winning streak since its four-game run came to an end on October 8. North Iowa saw its own skid extend to four games, but the Bulls picked up the bonus point, with a 13-7-1-2 record for the season. That extra point helped North Iowa climb back into a tie with Austin for the first-place spot in the Central Division after the Bruins’ shutout loss to the Aberdeen Wings on Saturday.

Minot also jumped into the three-way tie atop the Central standings with a 3-1 win over the Bismarck Bobcats, though North Iowa still enjoys the division’s best winning percentage with two games in hand on the Bruins and three on the Minotauros.

Gajewski’s three goals for the weekend matched his 2021-22 total with the Bruins, while Dombrowsky’s two assists put him into the team lead ins coring with 21 points. Sota Isogai’s (Nagano, Japan/Mason City Toros) secondary assist on the game’s opening goal was his first point in the North American Hockey League, after piling up 100 points in 99 games at the NA3HL level.

“It’s fast. It’s a different level (than the NA3HL),” said Isogai. “We need to just keep going.”

The Bulls will enjoy some rare inter-division competition next Friday and Saturday night, when the Springfield Jr. Blues head into Mason City for the Bulls’ annual Naughty and Nice games and the first jersey auction weekend of the season. The opening puck drop in both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Mason City Arena with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.

To purchase advance tickets to those games, or any upcoming North Iowa 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.

 

North Iowa 1 0 1 0 – 2
St. Cloud 0 0 2 1 – 3

1st Period-1, North Iowa, Gajewski 5 (Dombrowsky, Isogai), 9:41. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Rapalje Nio (cross checking-minor), 8:07.

3rd Period-2, St. Cloud, Peterson 6 (Hanson, Opilka), 6:40. 3, North Iowa, Gajewski 6 (Dombrowsky), 9:43. 4, St. Cloud, Perbix 7   16:14. Penalties-Japchen Nio (holding-minor), 12:15.

OT Period-5, St. Cloud, O’Neill 9 (Hong), 2:46. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-North Iowa 6-8-11-0-25. St. Cloud 13-17-21-1-52.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 0; St. Cloud 0 / 2.
Goalies-North Iowa, Garvey 9-4-1-2 (52 shots-49 saves). St. Cloud, Bolo 7-3-0-0 (25 shots-23 saves).
A-
Referees-Cameron Giancarlo, Jake Jackson.
Linesmen-Devin Kasperek, Nicholas Seppala.