OREGON, Wis. – Lewis Simon‘s (Evanston, Ill./North Jersey Avalanche) resume ahead of his North Iowa debut on Saturday night was an impressive one. Team Illinois? The prestigious Chicago Young Americans program that once housed up-and-coming Iowan Cal Petersen and North Iowa Outlaws alumnus Scott Darling? The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams that have sent 20 alumni through the NHL draft?
He’s played for all of them.
The goal for his debut Saturday night was nothing high-pressure, though – keep as many potential Wisconsin goals out of the net as possible, and get the Bulls off of the Whalers’ home ice with another win.
Mission accomplished. Simon made 28 saves in his first junior contest, and Mitch Dolter (Faribault, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) tallied a pair of goals to give North Iowa a 6-3 victory, giving North Iowa its 30th win of the season with a dozen games remaining. The win was also the Bulls’ 13th straight in the head-to-head series.
Hunter Huson’s cross-checking penalty set up the first North Iowa goal of the night, and it was defenseman Jake Joyaux (Bloomingdale, Ill./North Iowa Bulls) delivering the goods on the man-advantage halfway through the first period.
For a short time, the Whalers were able to grab the lead, with back-to-back markers from Zane Marshman and Graham Day in the initial 8:34 of the second period giving Wisconsin a 2-1 advantage. Goals from Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) and Tyler Bump (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) 40 seconds apart gave North Iowa a 3-2 lead that almost survived the second period. “Almost” was just fine with Andrew Ether, who was able to tie the game back up with just 26 seconds remaining and send the game to the intermission in a 3-3 tie.
Dayton Honkanen (New Brighton, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) wasted no time off the third-period puck drop, burying the eventual game-winner just 12 seconds in. Dolter punctuated the Bulls effort with his two goals, giving North Iowa an insurance goal seven minutes into the third and strengthening that policy with another goal at 10:27 to give the Bulls a 6-3 lead.
Despite a slashing penalty to Arnold in the game’s final minutes, Wisconsin wasn’t able to put another one past Simon and get back within range for a late comeback. A hooking minor to Anthony Fortin wiped out the last Whalers power play early, and even gave North Iowa an abbreviated 5-on-4 to close out the game.
The Bulls narrowly out-shot their hosts, with Brendan Earls making 26 saves on 32 North Iowa chances. Simon did his duty against 31 shots from the Whalers, dropping the home team to 13-19-1-1 for the season.
North Iowa returns home Saturday night to close out a three-in-three weekend against the Wausau RiverWolves, with the opening puck drop at the North Iowa Ice Arena scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Live streaming coverage is available on HockeyTV.
Saturday’s game against the RiverWolves is College Night with the Bulls, with free frosty mugs for the first 100 fans in the door. Admission for college students is just $5 with a valid college ID. For advance tickets to Saturday’s game, or any future Bulls home game, click here.