WILLMAR, Minn. – Jimmy McDermott (Dubuque, Iowa/Wisconsin Whalers) has learned how to come back from adversity in his three years of junior hockey. After missing four weeks with injuries earlier in the season, McDermott has officially come back with a vengeance.
McDermott posted back-to-back second-period goals Saturday night, and North Iowa routed the WarHawks 7-0 at the Willmar Civic Center to close out the season series with a sweep. The win was the Bulls’ seventh in a row in the head-to-head series.
The Bulls scored three times in the first period, gaining the upper hand for good late in the period. A clearing attempt behind Nelson Schiiler’s net caught Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) just above the goal line, and Studioso buried a sharp-angle chance at 12:26 of the first period with Schiiler well out of his net.
The lead ballooned at the end of the period, starting with a goal at 17:33 from Jack Giddings (Anoka, Minn./Anoka H.S.). Jordan Roo’s (Champlin, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s H.S.) pass from the right wing caught Jack Giddings in transition at center ice, and Giddings sniped one in from the slot to double the lead.
The lead hit 3-0 with 25 seconds left in the first stanza. A stretch pass over the neutral zone from Ivan Bogach (Brooklyn, N.Y./North Iowa Bulls) caught Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) behind the Willmar defense, and a quick roll to Peter Verstegen (Oshkosh, Wis./North Iowa Bulls) led to a tap-in and a three-goal lead at the break.
Jarod Blackowiak (Eden Prairie, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) was the setup man on North Iowa’s fourth goal, ripping one toward the net from above the right-wing faceoff circle. The puck took a long bounce to Schiiler’s right, and immediately caught McDermott to close out the play at 5:24 of the second period.
McDermott got his second goal of the night on a 3-on-1 break up the ice with 4:38 to go before the second intermission. Joey Petronack (White Bear Lake, Minn./Hill-Murray H.S.) led the break up the left-wing boards, but a soft toss to McDermott allowed him to flip it just under the bar for the 5-0 lead.
The 5-0 lead after 40 minutes became a 6-0 lead early in the third period. A cross-ice pass at the top of the North Iowa zone was picked off by Giddings, who turned on the afterburners and his breakaway backhand went over the left shoulder of Schiiler at the 3:35 mark of the period.
Just for good measure, one more turnover at the front edge of the Willmar zone turned into one more North Iowa goal. Dahlseide picked the puck off a WarHawk stick just inside the blue line, and the second-year Bull took a straight line to the net before feeding it out to Blackowiak at mid-slot for a final goal with 27 seconds on the clock.
The Bulls made sure not to leave much doubt, firing off 49 shots to Willmar’s 29 in the game. Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U) blocked all 29 WarHawk chances, earning his second career shutout and moving to 12-4-2-0 on the season. Schiiler made 42 saves, taking the loss and dropping to 2-6-0-0 for the year.
McDermott is on a red-hot run against the top and bottom teams in the NA3HL West Division, posting six goals in his last four games against Granite City and Willmar. Giddings has also had the WarHawks’ number this season, posting three goals and a couple of assists in a Bulls home game against Willmar in November.
After back-to-back wins this weekend, North Iowa heads on the road to the New Ulm Steel on Sunday afternoon to close out their only three-in-three weekend of the season. The opening puck drop at the New Ulm Civic Center is slated for 3 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
North Iowa returns to the “Barn” next Friday and Saturday night, as we celebrate our “Grateful Weekend” with Grateful Dead-inspired jerseys. Those will be auctioned off Saturday night, to benefit the Humane Society of North Iowa. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.