RICHFIELD, Minn. – North Iowa Bulls goaltender Dysen Skinner began his 2019 by signing a tender with the North American Hockey League’s Minnesota Magicians, but when the new season started in September, Skinner found himself back in Mason City for his second season in the NA3HL.
Clearly, the Magicians haven’t forgotten about him.
Skinner earned a call-up to the Magicians for a three-game set this week against the Springfield Jr. Blues and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, making his NAHL debut. Head coach AJ Bucchino, himself a former professional goaltender, turned to the Billings, Montana native for all three games. Skinner earned three of a possible six points for the Magicians on the long weekend, picking up a win over Springfield in Thursday night’s game and taking an overtime loss to Fairbanks on Saturday.
“It felt very good to get the first win out of the way, and to prove that I can play in this league,” said Skinner. “The first game was a complete team effort and a good, hard-fought win.”
The second-year Bulls backstop was named the game’s First Star on Thursday, making 31 saves on 32 Springfield shots in a 4-1 win. After allowing a tying goal in the opening two minutes of the third quarter, Minnesota responded quickly, supporting Skinner with three unanswered goals.
Friday’s tilt against the Jr. Blues, however, left a sour taste in Skinner’s mouth heading into Saturday. Springfield scored two goals in the opening 3:24 to take control on the way to a 6-1 win. Former North Iowa forward Aaron Swanson scored two goals for the Jr. Blues in that contest.
“Friday, we couldn’t find an answer to anything Springfield was doing, and the game didn’t turn out how we liked,” said Skinner.
Saturday’s game was a much more defensive affair, with Skinner making 34 saves in a 2-1 overtime defeat. For the weekend, his numbers were beyond respectable, posting a 2.97 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
More than three dozen Bulls players have appeared in the North American Hockey League after donning a North Iowa sweater. Eight of those – including three active players – went on to join NCAA Division I programs. Thanks to his weekend with the Magicians, Skinner is the fifth Bull this season to suit up for an NAHL team.
Both the Bulls and Magicians will return to action next weekend, with North Iowa breaking in its new downtown Mason City Arena against the Alexandria Blizzard on Saturday night. Minnesota heads on the road to Wisconsin next weekend for a two-day affair against the Chippewa Steel on Friday and Saturday.