ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – Who says you can’t go home?
For Joey Petronack (Woodbury, Minn./Boston Jr. Rangers), North Iowa was home last season before starting the season in the Eastern Hockey League. For Jackson Vercellono (Laconia, N.H./St. Cloud Blizzard), Alexandria was home while playing across town at Northstar Christian Academy. They each scored Saturday night, Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./North Iowa Bulls) looked right at home with 30 saves in net, and the Bulls made themselves at home at the Runestone Community Center for a 10-0 victory over the Alexandria Blizzard.
North Iowa got the first seven shots of the night, and Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) buried one on that seventh shot at 4:24 of the first period, going to the top corner for a 1-0 North Iowa lead. A pass from Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) found Carter Wagner (Lino Lakes, Minn./Odessa Jackalopes) at the edge of the slot for a one-timer with 3:12 left in the period, giving the Bulls a 2-0 lead at the break.
A pair of penalties surrounding the first intermission gave the Blizzard some power play time, but the only team to capitalize was North Iowa – Ryan Hempel (Katy, Texas/Elliot Lake Wildcats) forced a turnover below the Alexandria blue line, setting Sota Isogai (Nagano, Japan/Okanagan U20) up for a shorthanded goal at 1:04 of the second period.
Petronack made his return to the Bulls complete at 4:39 of the period, tossing one past Bailey Rosch and giving North Iowa a 4-0 lead. That goal chased Rosch from the net – Ville Hyttinen came on in relief, but the Bulls continued to pepper the Finnish native with shots.
Harrison Stewart’s (Rockford, Ill./Amarillo Bulls) toss from inside the blue line took a hop off of Nick Bowlin (Woodbury, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) before finding the back of the net, putting the Bulls ahead by five at the 6:46 mark. Justin Daly (Delano, Minn./Kenai River Brown Bears) set Dalton Saltness (Forest Lake, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) up from below the goal line for the Bulls’ next chance, and Saltness’s one-timer made it 6-0 just before the eight-minute mark.
With a full contingent of Northstar teammates and coaches looking on, Vercellono brought his old mates to their feet with just 42 seconds on the second-period clock, snapping one past Hyttinen from the left-wing faceoff circle and giving the Bulls a 7-0 lead at the break.
“It felt great,” said Vercellono, “like I was walking back into something familiar. I got to see a bunch of my brothers and my old billet family, so it was really awesome.”
Dahlseide found the net again at 3:40 of the third period on a one-timer from the bottom corner of the faceoff circle. the Maplewood, Minnesota native set Isogai up for his second goal of the game at the 5:32 mark. Jac Triemert (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury H.S.) capped the scoring with 7:54 remaining off of a setup shot from Jack Kubitz at the left point, giving North Iowa its fifth double-digit victory of the season.
“It felt great (to be back),” said Petronack. “I missed the boys, so I decided to come back buzzing, and I’m ready to keep going.”
The Bulls finished the night at 3-for-6 on the power play, while the Blizzard came up short on all three of their chances. Rosch took the loss, stopping 14 of the 18 North Iowa shots he saw. Hyttinen fared little better, making 22 saves on 28 chances. Skinner’s shutout was his second of the season, and fourth as a Bull, while the win was his ninth of the season.
“This building always seems to treat us well. I don’t know why,” said Skinner. “I always love playing in this building, and the boys were really rolling tonight.”
Callahan Nauss (Wayzata, Minn./Phoenix Jr. Coyotes) and Noah Roitman (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley H.S.) were the only North Iowa skaters left without a point in the game, but Roitman finished with a +5 plus/minus rating for the night. The win was by far the most dominant in the 38-game series between the two teams that began in 2012. To date, North Iowa has won 30 of those 38 meetings.
The win pushes North Iowa’s record to 19-3-2-0, while Alexandria dropped to 10-6-2-1 with the loss. The two teams meet again on Saturday night at the North Iowa Ice Arena in the “Barn’s” final junior hockey game. The opening puck drop in the building’s 782nd and last junior contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with live coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. To purchase advance tickets to future Bulls home games, call 641-423-4625 or click here.
North Iowa 2 5 3 – 10
Alexandria 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Dahlseide 13 (Kubitz, Isogai), 4:24. 2, North Iowa, Wagner 7 (Roo, Aguilera), 16:48. Penalties-Taraszewski Alx (head contact-minor), 1:14; Vercellono Nio (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 9:03; Trejbal Alx (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 9:03; McNeil Alx (cross checking-minor), 18:46; Saltness Nio (goalie interference-minor), 19:42.
2nd Period-3, North Iowa, Isogai 10 (Hempel), 1:04 (SH). 4, North Iowa, Petronack 1 (Fagerlee, Callahan), 4:39. 5, North Iowa, Bowlin 8 (Stewart, Isogai), 6:46 (PP). 6, North Iowa, Saltness 3 (Daly, Fagerlee), 7:59. 7, North Iowa, Vercellono 4 (Stewart, Petronack), 19:18 (PP). Penalties-Isogai Nio (high sticking-minor), 1:58; Rieland Alx (cross checking-minor), 6:34; Busse Alx (holding-minor), 10:00; Dropik Alx (head contact-minor), 18:40.
3rd Period-8, North Iowa, Dahlseide 14 (Petronack, Daly), 5:34 (PP). 9, North Iowa, Isogai 11 (Dahlseide, Kubitz), 5:52. 10, North Iowa, Triemert 4 (Kubitz, Vercellono), 12:06. Penalties-McNeil Alx (cross checking-minor), 3:44; Kubitz Nio (slashing-minor), 17:47.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 13-16-17-46. Alexandria 14-8-8-30.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 3 / 5; Alexandria 0 / 1.
Goalies-North Iowa, Skinner 9-1-2-0 (30 shots-30 saves). Alexandria, Rosch 3-2-0-1 (18 shots-14 saves); Hyttinen 6-3-2-0 (28 shots-22 saves).
Linesmen-Dylan Krikke, Nicholas Seppala.