MASON CITY, Iowa – The number seven is usually known for its luck, but seven was not a lucky number for the Bulls on Friday night against the New Ulm Steel. The team with seven straight losses in the head-to-head series came into the North Iowa Ice Arena and beat the team riding a seven-game winning streak, taking a 2-1 win in the Bulls’ only January NA3HL home game.
The initial lead belonged to the Bulls, with a man in the right place at the right time. Peter Verstegen‘s (Oshkosh, Wis./North Iowa Bulls) shot from high in the slot was kicked aside by Henry Baribeau, but Brendan Studioso (Mukilteo, Wash./North Iowa Bulls) was ready for it and batted in the rebound with 5:02 to play in the first period.
The second-period shot count favored the Steel only 9-8, but the two visiting goals in the second period made all the difference. The lead disappeared with 9:05 remaining in the middle period when Sam Storlie’s pass from the New Ulm goal line hit Jacob Halvorson below the North Iowa blue line to set up a 2-on-1 chance. Halvorson fired it himself from the left wing, beating Connor Poczos (Austin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) to tie it at 1-1.
New Ulm found the lead with 4:35 to go in the period, when a long shot from the point bounced off of Jack Parks before rebounding right to Jarrett Cammarata in the bottom corner of the faceoff circle. Cammarata did the rest from short-distance, beating Poczos for the 2-1 lead.
Needing a goal to pick up at least one point in the game, the Bulls put the pressure on New Ulm in the third period, racking up a 13-3 shots advantage over the final 20 minutes and putting an extra skater out in place of Poczos for the final 90 seconds.
With the win, the Steel dropped North Iowa back to within two points of third-place Rochester in the West Division standings. More importantly for Andrew Kolb’s team, they kept pace with the Alexandria Blizzard, staying two points clear of Alexandria for fourth place in the division with an extra game in hand.
Poczos took the loss, making 20 of the 22 saves he was tasked with. The loss snapped the second-year Bull’s eight-game winning streak, including his win in the Central Division playoffs last season against Wausau, and handed him his first-ever loss in a North Iowa uniform. Poczos is 7-1-0-0 on the year, while former Wausau netminder Henry Baribeau made 33 saves to pick up the victory and move to 11-9-0-1.
With the loss also comes the end of Matt Dahlseide’s (Maplewood, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) lengthy scoring run – he tallied a point in 16 straight games before coming up empty in Friday’s game. That streak ranks fifth on the Bulls’ all-time list.
North Iowa slips to 22-7-0-0 on the year with the loss, while New Ulm rises to 16-12-0-1. Saturday’s game between the two teams will be played in New Ulm, where the Bulls are unbeaten in five previous visits. The opening faceoff is set for 7:10 p.m., with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV and free audio streaming on Mixlr.
Join the Bulls on Wednesday, January 16 as they host the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres in a Faith and Family Night exhibition. For tickets to that game or any future North Iowa Bulls home game, click here.
New Ulm 0 2 0 – 2
North Iowa 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, North Iowa, Studioso 16 (Verstegen, Petronack), 14:58. Penalties-Bogach Nio (interference-minor), 16:30; Parks Num (high sticking-double minor), 18:59.
2nd Period-2, New Ulm, Halvorson 10 (Storlie, Johnson), 10:55. 3, New Ulm, Cammarata 16 (Parks, Hodgkinson), 15:25. Penalties-Storlie Num (roughing-minor), 19:59; Carlson Nio (holding-minor), 19:59.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Johnson Nio (tripping-minor), 7:45; Ayd Num (cross checking-minor), 11:36.
Shots on Goal-New Ulm 10-9-3-22. North Iowa 13-8-13-34.
Power Play Opportunities-New Ulm 0 / 2; North Iowa 0 / 2.
Goalies-New Ulm, Baribeau 11-9-0-1 (34 shots-33 saves). North Iowa, Poczos 7-1-0-0 (22 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Robert Babcock IV.
Linesmen-Grant Crowell, Andrew Bartholomay.