A five-goal first period deficit cost the Granite City Lumberjacks, which could not recover and fell to the North Iowa Bulls, 7-1.
Matt Kroska had two goals and three assists to lead North Iowa. Kroska scored the first of his two goals short handed at 4:08 into the first period to make the score 2-0 North Iowa. The Bulls found themselves down a man on Rihards Marenis\’s high sticking. Ron Lindgren picked up the assist. Kroska\’s next tally short handed made the score 5-0 North Iowa with 2:56 left in the first period. Tim Santopoalo assisted on the tally.
Granite City was stymied by North Iowa netminder Jordan Moran, who stopped 32 shots during the victory. Moran managed to improve on his goals against average, which stood at 2.86 prior to the game.
The Bulls racked up the penalties in the contest, and ended with eight minors and one major for 41 minutes in penalty time. The total exceeded the 14.0 minutes per game North Iowa had been spending in the box. The Bulls made Lumberjacks\’ goalies to work between the pipes, launching 35 shots and forcing 28 saves. Austin Wilson made four stops and Scott Murray made 24. North Iowa excelled on the penalty kill, not giving up a single goal in six chances.
North Iowa also got points from Marenis, who also tallied one goal and one assist and Santopoalo, who also finished with one goal and three assists. North Iowa also got a goal from Brandon Anderson as well. More assists for North Iowa came via Cameron Brown, who had one.
The Lumberjacks were often in penalty trouble, totaling nine minors and one major for 43 minutes in penalty time. Granite City surpassed its season average of 19.0 penalty minutes per game. The Lumberjacks were held below their usual level of production. Granite City puts an average of 5.2 pucks into the net per game. The Bulls were unable to stop the Lumberjacks from sending pucks towards the net, and Granite City eventually piled up 33 shots on goal.
North Iowa registered three goals on seven power play opportunities.