MASON CITY, Iowa – With time winding down in the regular season, North Iowa is in need of some momentum ahead of the Fraser Cup West Division playoffs. Dysen Skinner (Billings, Mont./Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U) provided plenty of defensive highlights for the Bulls Friday night, making 28 saves against Granite City.
Offensive highlights were harder to find, though, as Lumberjacks goaltender David Mulligan pitched a 30-save shutout in a 3-0 victory. The win was the Lumberjacks’ seventh straight in the head-to-head series, and their sixth against the Bulls this season.
North Iowa started out hot, putting 14 shots on net against Granite City in the opening 20 minutes. The only goal of the first period came 10:53 into the contest, with Matt Moran putting one away from the top of the right-wing faceoff circle. It was one of only seven Lumberjack shots in the opening stanza.
The Bulls spent more time in their defensive zone in the second period, but Skinner came up large with 15 saves in the period. North Iowa got just six shots on net, keeping the score locked on 1-0 with 20 minutes left.
Granite City grabbed control of the game in the third, starting with the game’s only power play goal. Harrison Stewart’s (Rockford, Ill./Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U18) tripping penalty at 1:12 of the period put the Lumberjacks on their fourth and final power play of the night. At the 2:28 mark, Jordan Olson let one fly from just inside the blue line, sneaking it past Skinner as well as teammate Blake Spetz, who nearly tipped it into the net himself.
The Lumberjacks played with a two-goal lead until the final 59 seconds of the contest. Then, with Skinner out of the net, the lead went to three goals on a rush toward the empty net from Bailey Sommers. He found Hunter Schwehr for a backdoor tap-in on a 2-on-1 break, giving Granite City a final three-goal lead.
Mulligan notched his 20th win of the season, adding to a red-hot run for Granite City down the stretch. The Lumberjacks have won 11 straight and posted points in their last 12, ahead of a Saturday road trip to Breezy Point.
Skinner fell to 15-6-2-0 with the loss, as North Iowa continues its five-game homestand Saturday against the New Ulm Steel. Game time in Mason City is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV.
Saturday’s game is Hockey Pride Night at the “Barn,” as we celebrate the Bulls’ player parents and billet families. We’ll also honor the previous junior hockey teams that have called the North Iowa Ice Arena home, and welcome back the 1989 USA Hockey national championship squad, which was coached by current Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Bob Motzko. To purchase advance tickets to Saturday’s game or any future Bulls home game, click here.
Granite City 1 0 2 – 3
North Iowa 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, Granite City, Moran 10 (DeBoom, Dodge), 10:53. Penalties-Olson Gcy (roughing-double minor), 13:50; Blackowiak Nio (roughing-double minor), 13:50; Moran Gcy (roughing-minor), 14:12; Sommers Gcy (roughing-minor), 14:12; Fagerlee Nio (roughing-minor), 14:12; Studioso Nio (roughing-double minor), 14:12.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Nagel Nio (holding-minor), 3:17; Pogue Gcy (hooking-minor), 5:45; Verstegen Nio (tripping-minor), 14:24.
3rd Period-2, Granite City, Olson 13 (DeBoom, Schwehr), 2:28 (PP). 3, Granite City, Schwehr 19 (Sommers), 19:01 (EN). Penalties-Stewart Nio (tripping-minor), 1:12; Streit Gcy (roughing-minor), 11:30.
Shots on Goal-Granite City 7-15-9-31. North Iowa 14-6-10-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Granite City 1 / 4; North Iowa 0 / 2.
Goalies-Granite City, Mulligan 20-2-1-0 (30 shots-30 saves). North Iowa, Skinner 15-6-2-0 (30 shots-28 saves).
Linesmen-Grant Crowell, Nick Klinkhammer.