BLAINE, Minn. – The North Iowa Bulls had plenty of optimism going into Thursday’s North American Hockey League Showcase game against the Jamestown Rebels from the league’s East Division. The Bulls were riding the momentum of a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wilderness on Wednesday, and facing a group that had lost 7-0 to the Springfield Jr. Blues the previous day.
What a difference a day made for the Rebels.
Jamestown took the lead 6:10 into the contest and built the lead to as many as four goals on the way to a 4-1 victory, picking up a win in the first-ever meeting between the teams. Thursday’s game landed the Rebels in the win column for the first time since March 6, 2020, a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Titans. The Rebels were forced to take 2020-21 off due to COVID-related restrictions on gatherings in the state of New York.
That opening goal belonged to Noah Szretter, whose shot from the right point snuck past Jackson Baker on his glove side, giving the early lead to the Rebels.
With 6:03 left in the period, Owen West took a drop pass from Reid Lune coming down the left wing before hitting the back of the net to finish an odd-man rush, and Jamestown took a 2-0 lead to the locker room.
Down 13 shots to six after one period, North Iowa was able to chip away at the shots-on-goal margin, but the Rebels added to the lead in the second. With Jack Vaarwerk serving a penalty for checking from behind, Lune sent a backhand toss down the slot that caught Baker in the top of his mitt and settled over the goal line, giving Jamestown a 3-0 lead 7:19 into the period.
The Bulls looked to have the lead cut in half late in the second, as Anthony Galante (Morganville, N.J./Maine Nordiques AAA) deked his way around Nolan Suggs, appearing to put the puck several inches over the goal line before a Jamestown stick was able to sweep it away. However, the goal judge behind the net disagreed, and the Rebel lead stood at three goals heading to the third period.
The Bulls pushed the pace in the final stanza, grabbing a 16-8 advantage in the shots department – however, the lead reached four goals at the 4:04 mark of the third, when Kevin Marx-Noren fired a wrist shot from the right-wing faceoff dot that found a seam over Baker’s left shoulder.
North Iowa made its move just 71 seconds later, when Max Scott (San Jose, Calif./Amarillo Bulls) snuck a pass to Ryan Coughlin (Charlotte, N.C./Amarillo Bulls) in front of the net, and Coughlin was able to tap it past Suggs to push the margin back to three goals. The Rebels allowed North Iowa two more power play chances in the game, but the Bulls were unable to cut further into the lead after Coughlin’s goal.
The penalty-killing game was solid for both sides in Thursday’s matchup, with North Iowa killing off all three Jamestown power plays. The Rebels got six chances against the Bulls and came up empty on all of them, but did enjoy a shorthanded goal from Lune in the second period.
Baker took the loss for North Iowa in his junior debut, making 27 saves. One day after giving up three goals in relief for Jamestown, Suggs returned to the net and earned his first junior victory, making 33 saves on 34 Bulls shots.
Each team ends the first half of the NAHL Showcase with a 1-1 mark, and the Bulls will have a stiff test to try to get back into the win column on Friday. The Amarillo Wranglers, who replaced the Bulls in the market following the team’s move to Mason City during the offseason, have won both of their games in Blaine after a 5-4 overtime victory over the Wilderness on Thursday evening. The Bulls and Wranglers drop the puck on their Friday evening matchup at 5:15 p.m. at the National Sports Center Super Rink, with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Single-game tickets are on sale now for all upcoming North Iowa Bulls home games – to purchase advance tickets to any upcoming Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here. Updated news and information on the North Iowa Bulls’ inaugural NAHL season are always available at www.northiowabulls.com, and by following the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand YouTube.
Jamestown 2 1 1 – 4
North Iowa 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, Jamestown, Szretter 1 (howarth, Kircher), 6:10. 2, Jamestown, West 1 (Lune, Klemm), 13:57. Penalties-Tuggey Nio (slashing-minor), 6:10; Hamstad Jmt (hooking-minor), 8:48; Helgeson Nio (kneeing-minor), 18:23.
2nd Period-3, Jamestown, Lune 1 (Lundy, West), 7:19 (SH). Penalties-Vaarwerk Jmt (slashing-minor), 4:49; Vaarwerk Jmt (checking from behind-minor), 6:58; Coughlin Nio (interference-minor), 7:33; Jurrens Jmt (hooking-minor), 14:35.
3rd Period-4, Jamestown, Lundy 1 (West, Szretter), 4:04. 5, North Iowa, Coughlin 2 (Mesic, Scott), 5:15. Penalties-Lundy Jmt (slashing-minor), 8:28; Klemm Jmt (tripping-minor), 19:20.
Shots on Goal-Jamestown 13-10-8-31. North Iowa 6-12-16-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Jamestown 0 / 0; North Iowa 0 / 0.
Goalies-Jamestown, Suggs 1-0-0-0 (34 shots-33 saves). North Iowa, Baker 0-1-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves).
Linesmen-Dane Hopkins, Gerard Lamoureux.