BREEZY POINT, Minn. – Even with an entire period or two remaining, the situation didn’t look good for the North Iowa Bulls going into the locker room on Saturday night.
Don’t tell that to Dalton Saltness (Forest Lake, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.), Mason Enright (Farmington, Minn./Farmington H.S.) and company, though. Saltness and Enright bookended the scoring for the Bulls in a 4-3 comeback win over the Breezy Point North Stars, sending North Iowa home with a sweep after a game where the hosts led by two goals at both intermissions.
The North Stars gained the lead at the 11:09 mark of the first period, with Mario Maietta leading the charge into the Bulls’ zone to beat Joseph Daninger (Blaine, Minn./Blaine H.S.) in his Bulls debut. That goal came just seven seconds after the start of Breezy Point’s only power play, as Robin Praetz’s holding minor expired.
Garrett Freeman doubled the lead with 3:28 to go in the period, beating Daninger on his glove side and sending the home team to the dressing room with some extra momentum. Saltness and Freeman traded goals in the middle period to keep the North Stars’ lead at two goals with 20 minutes remaining.
One night after scoring in his North Iowa debut, Saltness popped one past Conan Hayton in the top corner at 3:45 of the second period to drop the lead to 2-1. Freeman’s answer came at 9:12, finishing a 2-on-1 chance led by Joe Slepica.
“It felt good (to score the first goal),” said Saltness. “It felt like I set a tone, and we came back in the third period and really brought it to them.”
The breakthrough finally came in the opening three minutes, as North Iowa eliminated the lead on a pair of quick goals from Jordan Roo (Champlin, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) and Jac Triemert (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury H.S.). At the 1:18 mark, Roo halved the lead with a wraparound tally, followed by Triemert’s tying goal off of a draw at 2:55.
One night after scoring a pair of goals in his first game as a Bull, Enright came up with the game-winner on his second night. Zachary Simon (Orono, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) found Enright in front of the net with just enough space for the North Iowa rookie to finish the play, giving the Bulls the lead for good with 9:26 to go.
“At the end of the first period, [the message in the locker room] was to not take them lightly,” said Saltness. “Last night we obviously had a good win, but we probably just came in (tonight) thinking it was going to be easy. It wasn’t.”
The Bulls kept the pressure on Hayton throughout the night, peppering the North Stars’ newcomer with 59 shots. The gap in the second period alone was 26-6, in the Bulls’ favor. Daninger made 16 saves for the victory, just months after winning a pair of games for Blaine High School in the Minnesota state high school tournament.
North Iowa continues its early-season road swing next Saturday and Sunday with a pair of games at the Peoria Mustangs. Saturday’s game gets underway at 6:45 p.m. at the Owens Center in Peoria. Live coverage of all North Iowa Bulls games, home and away, is available on HockeyTV, with free audio streaming of Saturday’s game on Mixlr.
Tickets are available now for the Bulls’ final home opener in the North Iowa Ice Arena, October 4 against the Willmar WarHawks. The last home-opening bash at the “Barn” will feature a pregame tailgate party, a postgame skate, free koozies with all paid adult admissions and more. The latest news and information on Bulls hockey is always available by calling 641-423-4625, visiting www.northiowabulls.com, or following the Bulls on social media. To purchase advance tickets to any Bulls home game this season, click here.
North Iowa 0 1 3 – 4
Breezy Point 2 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Breezy Point, Mainetti 1 (Kingery, Praetz), 11:09 (PP). 2, Breezy Point, Freemon 1 (Bourassa, Zaste), 16:32. Penalties-Praetz Bzp (holding-minor), 9:02; Nauss Nio (kneeing-minor), 10:34.
2nd Period-3, North Iowa, Saltness 2 (Enright, Simon), 3:45. 4, Breezy Point, Freemon 2 (Curran, Slepica), 9:12. Penalties-Freemon Bzp (tripping-minor), 6:18.
3rd Period-5, North Iowa, Roo 1 (Nauss), 1:18. 6, North Iowa, Triemert 1 (Hempel), 2:55. 7, North Iowa, Enright 3 (Simon, Saltness), 10:34. Penalties-Curran Bzp (holding-minor), 13:16; Bourassa Bzp (unsportsmanlike conduct-gm), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-North Iowa 16-26-17-59. Breezy Point 6-6-7-19.
Power Play Opportunities-North Iowa 0 / 3; Breezy Point 1 / 1.
Goalies-North Iowa, Daninger 1-0-0-0 (19 shots-16 saves). Breezy Point, Hayton 0-1-0-0 (59 shots-55 saves).
Linesmen-Andrew Bartholomay, Dana Naylor.