MASON CITY — When Tyler Bump arrived midway through this season, North Iowa was just looking to add another player who brought a consistent game to a team who needed a little jolt to its offense.
Bump, the younger brother of former fan-favorite Connor Bump, has brought exactly that to this team, and in a 7-1 win over Rochester to open the playoff Friday, Bump added three more points to his growing total as the Bulls offense showed up in a big way.
“We’ve got a lot of guys scoring and that’s what makes this team tough,” Bump said.
As has been the case with the Bulls entering the playoffs, they put forth another complete-game performances in which there were no slip-ups. In fact, they didn't give Rochester time to do anything offensively as puck control was the name of the game.
Rochester had one shot in the first period and three in the second. The Ice Hawks would muster 17 more in the third, but by that point the damage was too much.
“It’s outstanding to hold somebody to 21 shots,” North Iowa coach Todd Sanden said. “You look at just possessing the puck that long and I’m surprised they got that many to be many.”
Bump got the scoring party started in the first on a 2-on-1 breakaway — the first of many odd-man rushes the Bulls capitalized on — and North Iowa never let up.
After goals by Braxton Collins and Dayton Honkanen, the Bulls carried a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
They added to that lead with a huge second period which saw them score four times on goals by Owen Larson, Brendan Studioso, Collins and Marshall Barnes. The goals by Collins and Barnes each came with under a minute to play in the period.
In total, six different guys scored on the night for North Iowa.
Rochester’s lone goal came on the power play in the third period with a goal by Joe Puglise, assisted by former Mohawk Hockey Club members Skylar Watt and Spencer Hadacek.
North Iowa, which received 20 saves out of goalie Drew Scites in the win, will go for the series sweep tonight at Rochester.
“It’s a really good confidence booster and hopefully we still bring the confidence (tonight) and just keep rolling,” Bump said.