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Bulls' Latest Border Battle Doubles as Black Friday Weekend Battle

November 26, 2021 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - North Iowa Bulls News Release


IN A NUTSHELL:

North Iowa looks to keep a hot streak going as two archrivals square off once again.

ALL-TIME SERIES:

North Iowa leads, 3-0-1 (all four games decided by two or fewer goals).

THIS WEEK'S PROMOTIONS:

North Iowa returns home on Saturday, November 27 for the Bulls' Black Friday Weekend Battle against the Austin Bruins. Special-edition black t-shirts will be available for purchase, and all fans are encouraged to wear black to the game.

A NEW DAY HAS COME:

Two North Iowa forwards earned their first goals with the Bulls last Saturday, bookending the scoring for North Iowa - Jake LaRusso's tying goal in the second period was his first for his new team after posting 27 markers in 124 games with the New Jersey Titans. Brett Morich scored two goals for the Jamestown Rebels in 2019-20 and assisted on the Rebels' last goal of a 4-1 win over the Bulls at the NAHL Showcase, but his first goal as a Bull put an exclamation mark on the Bulls' win over the Norsemen.

A RISING STAR FROM THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN:

Last Saturday's game marked a return to the North Iowa Bulls lineup for Sota Isogai, though at a different level than previously - Isogai made his first NAHL appearance in that game, also making his 100th junior appearance in a call-up from the Mason City Toros. With that, the Nagano native became just the 11th player from Japan to ever play in an NAHL game - five of the previous NAHL players to come from Japan, including the first to do it (2010-11 Motor City Metal Jacket Mitsuyoshi Konno), advanced to the professional ranks in their home country. Former Bull Kohei Sato is currently a graduate transfer at NCAA Division I Bentley University, while Chikara Hanzawa is currently committed to play Division I hockey at Sacred Heart.

JUST FOUR THE RECORD:

Sean Vlasich's four assists last Saturday put him in rare North Iowa Bulls air - he became the first North Iowa Bull in the NAHL era with four helpers in a game, and the first North Iowa Bull with four assists since Jack Kubitz opened the Mason City Arena with four assists in a 16-0 win over Breezy Point on January 3, 2020.

BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS:

Austin is looking to flip its fortunes, coming into this game looking to shed a four-game losing skid that has helped North Iowa build a three-point lead in the Central Division standings with two games in hand - with a .737 points percentage, only the Amarillo Wranglers have been able to match North Iowa's resume thus far. The Bruins enter this game as the most-penalized team in the league on a per-game basis, but that has hardly tripped them up - at 89.5 percent, only the Aberdeen Wings have succeeded more consistently on the penalty kill, with North Iowa sitting in fourth at 88.2 percent. It would seem Austin's "magic number" is three goals in a game - Austin is 8-1-1 when scoring at least thrice, but just 0-6-2 when scoring two or fewer.


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