Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues travel to Mason City, IA this weekend for our first ever meeting with the North Iowa Bulls. Our series with the Bulls will be half of our season series with them as they are our only out-of-division games outside of the showcase. The Jr. Blues currently sit in 2nd place in the Midwest Division with a 17-8-0-1 record for 35 points.
We are coming off a big weekend sweep of the Janesville Jets where Ethan Roberts earned two wins, including a shutout, and picked up his first junior hockey goal. Leo Bacallao, Hagen Moe, Zach Bade, Joey Dosan, and Alex Rossides all had multi-point weekends as the Jr. Blues improved to 4-0-0 against the Jets this season. It’s the first time since the Jets joined the league that we have started the season with four straight regulation victories against our divisional foe.
But now it’s time to shift our focus to this weekend’s match up with the North Iowa Bulls. Our season series with North Iowa, which will conclude here in Springfield in mid-February, is our lone out-of-division match up during the season (excluding the Showcase). With only five games between us and the Holiday break, each point will be crucial in our quest to retake the top spot in the Midwest Division.
North Iowa (13-7-1-2, 29 pts) – who are in their first season in the NAHL – is currently in a three way tie for 1st place in the Central Division with the Austin Bruins (13-9-1-2, 29 pts) and the Minot Minotauros (14-11-1-0, 29 pts). They’ve been a hot-and-cold team thus far in the 2021-22 season, alternating three game win streaks with three game losing streaks. They are led offensively by Logan Dombrowsky (6 G, 15 A) and Michael Mesic (7 G, 13 A), while they are backstopped by goaltender Hunter Garvey who has a 9-4-1-2 record with a 3.24 GAA and .904 SV%.
By the Numbers:
- We’ve never played the Bulls before, however, this isn’t our first time in Mason City, IA. Our last trip to North Iowa was on January 31, 2009 when we traveled up to Iowa to face the Outlaws in a 3-2 loss. Goals that evening were scored by Scott Barrera and Brandon Bahnemann, and our goaltender that night was CJ Groh.
- Heading into this weekend the Jr. Blues currently have the best Power Play in the entire league at 28.6% while North Iowa has the 26th best Power Play at 11%. Our Penalty Kill sits at 82%, which is 18th in the league, and the Bulls PK is 85.7%, which is 7th best. Special teams will prove to be a deciding factor once again this weekend.
- The Jr. Blues have had a heavy road schedule to begin the season and head into this weekend with a 10-6-0-0 record away from the Nelson Center. At home the boys sport a 7-2-0-1 record and have been relishing in the support of our faithful fans!
- We have scored the first goal of the game in 17 of 26 games this season, and when we strike first we are 14-2-0-1 for a .853 win percentage, the fourth best mark in the league behind Amarillo, Fairbanks, and Maryland.
Catch the Action:
Both games this weekend (Friday and Saturday) will begin at 7:30 pm CST with doors opening at 6:30. If you’re looking to make the trip to Mason City to catch the game in person, you can buy tickets online or at the door. Make sure to watch the action LIVE on HockeyTV and select the Away Feed to hear our road broadcast team call ALL of the action!