MASON CITY, Iowa – With 27 national championships, including nine for the boys’ prep team, expectations are always high at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. After the start to their season Wednesday at the Mason City Arena, it’s safe to say this year could be another special one for head coach Tom Ward and his Sabres.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s scored first and struck often in a preseason exhibition for the North Iowa Bulls, earning a 7-3 victory on the Bulls’ home ice, where they have not won since the 2018-19 season.
The Sabres never trailed, starting the scoring with a goal from Macklin Celebrini at the 5:08 mark of the opening period. They were especially good around the intermissions in Wednesday’s game, with Will Whitelaw banging in a rebound off of a chance from Noah Eyre with just 10.2 seconds remaining in the first for a 2-0 lead.
The Bulls were not content to be pushed around in the second period, trimming the lead to 2-1 on Carter Newpower’s (Cottage Grove, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) give-and-go with Justin Mexico (Madison Heights, Mich./Maine Nordiques AAA). The Sabres pushed the lead back out to two goals with 9:01 left in the period, thanks to Sebastien Brockman’s goal off of Ryan Comishock’s feed out front.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s nabbed a little more momentum going to the third period, and even more coming out of the locker room – Brockman and Comishock teamed up again with just 18 seconds remaining in the second period to go ahead 4-1, and Chase LaPinta’s stretch pass to Whitelaw led to a breakaway and a glove-side marker for a four-goal Sabres lead.
The Bulls gave the comeback a valiant effort in the minutes that followed. Just 1:09 after Whitelaw’s second goal of the game, Mexico played the bouncing puck off the corner boards and fed it out front for a tap-in from Luka Sukovic (Lincolnshire, Ill./Odessa Jackalopes) to cut the lead to 5-2. At 4:07 of the third, Charlie Tuggey’s (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) right-wing shot bounded out to Michael Mumm (Livingston, N.J./New Jersey Rockets AAA) who quickly put away the rebound.
With the lead dropped to 5-3, the Sabres made sure to get the last word. Jordan Brisson batted home a rebound off of North Iowa relief goaltender Cullen DeYoung (Canton, Mich./Amarillo Bulls) at the 8:12 mark of the third period, extending the lead back to three goals. Celebrini’s backdoor pass to Cole Eiserman opened the door for a 7-3 lead and the final goal of the game.
Brockman and Whitelaw finished their 2021-22 prep openers with two goals apiece, while Eiserman and Celebrini closed out the night with a goal and an assist. Mexico had the only multi-point game of the night for North Iowa, registering two assists. The Bulls came up empty on the game’s only power play of the night, coming in the first period.
Calvin Vachon stopped 14 of the 15 shots he saw in the opening 30 minutes of the game, ending up with a no-decision. Liam Beerman’s 15 saves on 17 Bulls chances earned him Shattuck-St. Mary’s first win of the season. Carsen Stokes (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) made eight saves in the game’s first 30 minutes, while DeYoung went 11-for-16 in net to take the unofficial loss.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s opens its home schedule on Thursday, welcoming the Des Moines Buccaneers 18-and-under AAA team. North Iowa wraps up preseason play Friday and Saturday with home games at 7:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, at the Mason City Arena. Both games will be streamed live on HockeyTV and Mixlr. Tickets for adults 13 and older are just $5 for both games, with kids 12 and under admitted for free.
Single-game tickets for all preseason and regular-season games are now on sale – 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, Instagram and YouTube.