Sota’s Second Time Around: Isogai Named Star of the Week

MASON CITY, Iowa – North Iowa scored 15 goals over two games last weekend against the Granite City Lumberjacks and New Ulm Steel. With that kind of success, it’s harder to say who didn’t contribute than to say who did.

Some players separated themselves from the pack, though, including Bulls forward Sota Isogai – his efforts in a winding 7-5 win over the Lumberjacks and a dominant 8-1 triumph against the Steel made enough of an impression to land him a Bauer Hockey West Division Star of the Week award from the North American Tier 3 Hockey League.

The award is his second of the season, after earning one for his efforts against the Willmar WarHawks in the final weekend of October. This time around, the Nagano, Japan native bookended the scoring in North Iowa’s win over Granite City, plus an assist in the contest as well. His empty-net goal with 1:25 remaining gave the Bulls the game’s only two-goal lead and sealed the final margin.

One night later, Isogai added a goal and an assist, with his goal capping off a five-goal outburst in a span of 3:03 at the game’s midway point.

During the past weekend, Isogai also pulled away from Garrett Freeman for the team’s goal-scoring lead with 13 on the season. His 19 points ranks third on the North Iowa roster, and second among the Bulls’ forwards. He heads into the new week with a six-game point streak, just one game shy of Kyle Heffron’s streak which ended on January 23.

Isogai’s honor is the Bulls’ fifth West Division Star of the Week award this season, and the first since Caleb Huffman earned the hardware for his efforts against New Ulm in late November. The West Division did not see any Star of the Week awards handed out for an eight-week period from late November to mid-January thanks to Minnesota’s statewide COVID sports shutdown that wiped out schedules for every one of the West’s five teams.

North Iowa has four games scheduled in a five-day span this week, starting with Wednesday’s road trip to Granite City. The next home game for the Bulls is Sunday’s contest against the Willmar WarHawks, with the opening puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena. To purchase tickets to that game or any upcoming North Iowa Bulls home game, click here.

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