ABERDEEN, S.D. – In their first road preseason game as a North American Hockey League club, the North Iowa Bulls weren’t about to be kept on the ground against the Aberdeen Wings, even if it took a little while to get a good tailwind going.
Aberdeen grabbed a first-period lead thanks to a late power play goal, but North Iowa roared back with two goals in both the second and third periods for a 4-1 victory, with one game remaining on the exhibition slate before next week’s North American Hockey League Showcase and regular-season opener.
It didn’t take the Wings long to get the afterburners going, posting 18 shots to North Iowa’s five in the opening period. With just seconds remaining on their second power play of the night, Jacob Vockler sprinted down the right wing and tossed a backhand shot past goaltender Mitchell Day (St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis Blues AAA) to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The Wings continued their torrid pace in the second period despite a lengthy stretch of play in their defensive zone, out-shooting the Bulls 14-7 for the stanza. With 7:30 remaining in the period, though, North Iowa finally broke through with a rope to the top of the net from Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./North Iowa Bulls) to tie the game at 1-1.
The lead went to North Iowa for good with 5:13 left in the period, when a shot off of a faceoff in the Aberdeen end of the rink banked off of the end boards to Landon Peterson (New Prague, Minn./Notre Dame Hounds), who swung it past Cole Moore to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
North Iowa tightened its grip on the game in the third, with a transition goal from Logan Dombrowsky (Stevens Point, Wis./North Iowa Bulls) at 5:48 of the period and a snap from Jake LaRusso (Colts Neck, N.J./North Iowa Bulls) at the right-wing faceoff circle with 2:42 to play.
The Bulls closed the gap in the shots-on-goal count somewhat in the third period, with a dozen more chances in the final 20 minutes. Day earned the unofficial victory with 36 saves on 37 Aberdeen chances, while Moore went 20-for-24 in the loss.
Just two nights after killing all seven Corpus Christi power plays in a pair of preseason mini-games against the IceRays, North Iowa was nearly perfect again Friday, wiping away three of Aberdeen’s four chances on the man-advantage. The Bulls did not score on any of their five power plays in the game, including a pair of abbreviated opportunities.
The teams battle again Saturday afternoon in the Bulls’ preseason finale, with the opening puck drop at the Odde Ice Center scheduled for 3 p.m. Live streaming coverage of Saturday’s game is available on HockeyTV.