MASON CITY, Iowa – Bulls fans flung their stuffed toys onto the ice just 3:25 into Friday’s game against the Rochester Ice Hawks for the Bulls’ annual Teddy Bear Toss at the North Iowa Ice Arena. The offense, though, was the gift that kept on giving as Todd Sanden’s team set a home record for goals and Colin Cain (Hummelstown, Pa./N.J. Junior Titans U18) got his first shutout at long last, as North Iowa routed the Rochester Ice Hawks, 17-0.
Clemons’s goal broke the seal on the Ice Hawks net and brought the game to a brief halt while the bears were collected. Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) scored three of the next four, racking up a hat trick before the midway point of the opening period. The middle goal in his run was a power-play tally, a bottle-popper at the 9:04 mark of the opening period.
Matt Dahlseide (Maplewood, Minn./Alexandria Blizzard) and Dayton Honkanen (New Brighton, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) also scored in the opening period, with Honkanen beating Drew Schenkenberg blocker-side for a 6-0 lead with 2:27 to go in the period.
Arnold would finish his scoring run at the 5:36 mark of the second period on a rebound tally, and Ryan Kranz (Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial H.S.) pushed the lead to 8-0 just three minutes later. The lead hit double-digits just past the 12-minute mark of the period, following goals from Mitch Dolter (Faribault, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) and Dahlseide.
Tyler Bump (Prior Lake, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) rifled one over Schenkenberg’s shoulder at 2:21 of the third period for an 11-0 lead, and the Bulls reached a baker’s dozen on goals from Dolter and Jarod Blackowiak (Eden Prairie, Minn./Austin Bruins) just 22 seconds apart.
Alex Timm (Sand Creek, Wis./Northwest H.S.) took over the scoring from there, popping another Rochester water bottle with his own top-shelf tally at 6:35 of the final period. Shorthanded goals at 12:21 and 18:08 put Timm in hat-trick territory prior to the game’s end, and Jett Larson (Rancho Mirage, Calif./Shattuck-St. Mary’s U18) added his first junior goal in the final stanza as well.
The 17-goal outburst put the Bulls just one goal shy of the team record, set last year against the former Chicago Bulldogs. It also put the franchise and head coach Todd Sanden over the top with the 300th win in franchise history, and closed out the pre-Christmas portion of the home schedule.
17 of the 18 skaters on the ice for the Bulls got at least one point in the game, with only Jason Miner (Cottage Grove, Minn./North Iowa Bulls) coming up short. Miner had a fine game in his own right, finishing with a +3 rating in the team’s 19th straight win against Rochester. The Bulls racked up 56 shots on the night, chasing Tait Carlson just 6:25 into the contest. Carlson would return just ahead of the five-minute mark of the third period, with a 13-0 score on the board.
The Bulls travel up to Rochester for a rematch Saturday night, with a 7:05 p.m. faceoff at the Rochester Recreation Center, with live streaming coverage on HockeyTV.
North Iowa’s next home game takes them up against the Ice Hawks on Saturday, Dec. 30 for the Bulls’ New Year’s Bash at “The Barn.” For tickets to that game or any future North Iowa home contest, click here.