SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. – The North Iowa Bulls went the entire month of October without a loss, and very nearly crossed a perfect November off their holiday wish list as well. Saturday night, though, a late-second-period goal from Jordan Olson and a determined third-period Lumberjacks penalty kill helped Granite City knock off the Central Division leaders 3-2 and play “Scrooge” for the Bulls’ chances of continuing a lengthy winning streak.
Just like Friday’s game, the scoring got started quickly for North Iowa – a Sean Mallonee (Kennewick, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) feed from inside the right-wing wall found Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./Dallas Stars Elite) at mid-slot, and the Bulls rookie faded away and lifted one past Mac Berglove just 1:23 into the game for a quick early lead. Just like Friday, though, the Lumberjacks had a quick response – Brady Meyers‘ (Rochester, Minn./John Marshall H.S.) stop on Andrej Jamnicky’s shot just four minutes later rebounded long in front to Matthew Moran, who put away the second chance to tie the game.
Studioso would tally again at 9:43 of the second period, after a throw in front from Jason Miner (Cottage Grove, Minn./Park H.S.), clinching Studioso’s sixth multi-point game of the year. A backdoor feed to Jamnicky from Tucker Bjorlin just 38 seconds later, though, allowed the ‘Jacks to tie the game again. The weak-side pass would get the Bulls again with 2:34 left in the period, as Logan Neu found Olson in the faceoff circle to Meyers’s right for a one-timer and a go-ahead tally.
The Bulls had chances in the third period, starting right away with a holding call against Granite City’s Cole Buhl at the 20-minute mark of the second period. North Iowa wasn’t able to take advantage of that two-minute opportunity, though, nor were they able to capitalize on a pair of other power plays before the end of the game – the Bulls out-shot their hosts 11-5 in the final stanza, but none of those shots snuck past Berglove for the equalizer and North Iowa saw its 15-game winning streak come to a halt.
Berglove picked up his second career win against the Bulls, making 24 saves on 26 shots, while Meyers took the loss with 21 saves on 24 Granite City shots. The 15-game winning streak for North Iowa ranks as the fourth-longest in team history, and comes up just one game shy of the team’s 16-game winning streak late in the 2013-14 season. Granite City also ended that streak at home in a 3-2 final.
Next weekend the Bulls will celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend with a Saturday/Sunday home-and-home against the La Crosse Freeze – Saturday’s game at the North Iowa Ice Arena will feature the Bulls’ first-ever Dachshund Dash at the first intermission, and the team will also hold a pet food drive for the Humane Society of North Iowa. For more information on both, click here. Sunday’s game will be a 3 p.m. affair at the Green Island Ice Arena in La Crosse, Wis.