As the North Iowa Bulls head into what would have been their final home weekend of the 2020 Fraser Cup playoffs, the Bulls are sharing pieces of what fans could have looked forward to for their first-round series against the Alexandria Blizzard. The following preview was prepared for the Bulls website ahead of that series, but never posted.
THIS WEEKEND’S GAMES:
FRIDAY – Alexandria @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY – North Iowa @ Alexandria, 7:10 p.m
SUNDAY* – Alexandria @ North Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
BULLS VS. ALEXANDRIA ALL-TIME: 34-6-2
THIS WEEK’S PROMOTIONS: Friday’s game is “Lucky 13 Night” at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena, with 13-percent discounts on all merchandise at Brutus’s Locker Room and 13 brands of beer marked down to $3. 13 raffles will be held during the contest, and 13 fans will be invited onto the ice after the first period for a chance to win $113. For a schedule of upcoming promotions, click here.
THE BULLS ARE BACK ON TOP: North Iowa’s division title is its seventh in its nine seasons on the ice, and its first West Division championship in five years. The Bulls won three straight West titles from 2013 to 2015 before moving over to the Central Division for the next three seasons and winning the regular-season crown in each of those seasons as well. Granite City captured the 2018-19 division championship after winning all six regular-season meetings against North Iowa, but fell to Alexandria in three games in the West Division semifinals.
FULL HOUSE: Friday’s game marks the first playoff game in Mason City Multipurpose Arena history, after a record-breaking half-season for the Bulls in their new home. In 11 games since the team’s move downtown, the Bulls drew an average of 1,585 fans per night, with eight of the games exceeding a crowd of 1,400 (making them too large to fit in the team’s former home at the North Iowa Ice Arena) and three crowds exceeding 2,000 fans. The Bulls’ February 29 home game against the Peoria Mustangs drew a crowd of 2,140 fans, the largest ever to attend a hockey game in Mason City.
THREE CHEERS: North Iowa’s alumni list includes three award-winners from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the announcement of the all-MIAC list this week. Former Bulls captain Brett Gravelle was named on the all-conference list after posting a team-best 27 points and leading St. Thomas to the NCAA tournament. Tommy and Jack Stang of St. Mary’s University were also chosen to the all-MIAC list.
HEMPEL HEADED TO CYCLONE COUNTRY: The squad now has nine players committed to college hockey programs after Ryan Hempel’s commitment to Iowa State University’s ACHA program last week. Ryan will join former Bulls Drew Scites, Jake Joyaux and Justin Callahan on the Cyclones’ roster when he begins attending ISU next season.