Wisely With the Winner as Bulls Fall, 2-1

Post Game Report 3-11


MASON CITY, Iowa -With no scoring in the first 29 minutes of Saturday night’s Bulls-Mustangs tilt in “The Barn,” the early goings of this weekend’s second game between the teams felt a whole lot like the first one on Friday.

The final score was a bit different, though.

This time it was Peoria scoring halfway through the second period and answering a North Iowa equalizer, as the Mustangs responded from Friday’s 3-2 loss and pulled out a 2-1 victory. The victory closed out Peoria’s regular season and all but wrapped up the second spot in the NA3HL’s Central Division.

The Mustangs led the shots-on-goal count virtually the entire game, taking an 11-8 edge in the opportunity count to the second period. They eventually broke through at the 9:08 mark of the second period, when Braden Stewart’s right-wing shot deep in the North Iowa zone beat Seth Eisele (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area H.S.) to his left, putting the Mustangs ahead 1-0.

The lead stayed there until almost the three-minute mark of the third period, when Tyler Bump (Prior Lake, Minn./Minnesota Magicians) took a long pass from Josh Arnold (Roseville, Minn./Bismarck Bobcats) and roared into the Mustangs’ zone, pushing one through J.T. Kossakowski and almost bowling over the Peoria netminder in the process.

The tie wouldn’t last long, though – at 6:33 of the final period, an initial try from the right point from Aaron Siegrist banked off the back wall right to Andrej Buchko, who was seeking an opportunity to pass the puck back above the goal line. He found that chance in Austin Wisely, who tapped in the eventual game-winner on the right doorstep.

Eisele took the loss in his junior debut after leading his high school squad to the sectional finals just two weeks ago. The former Stillwater Pony made 23 saves in the loss, while Kossakowski stopped 27 Bulls shots for the win.

“The nerves were going a bit, especially since it was my first junior game,” said Eisele. “It was all good – we didn’t get the W, but I definitely felt good in a Bulls uniform.”

North Iowa’s final push with the empty net helped to put them over the top in the shot count – the Bulls out-shot their visitors 28-25, including a 13-4 margin over the final 20 minutes. Neither team gained much traction on the power play, with each team falling short on five chances with the extra man.

The final regular-season game will pit Todd Sanden’s team against the La Crosse Freeze on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m., with a “Tribute to the Hanson Brothers” from the classic hockey film “Slap Shot.” Giveaways will feature limited-edition Hanson Brothers t-shirts and other items. Pregame coverage on HockeyTV and Mixlr begins at 4:45 p.m. All Bulls games, home and away, are streamed live on HockeyTV – Bulls home games and select road games are also audio-streamed on Mixlr.