MASON CITY — The beginning of Drew Scites’ career for the North Iowa Bulls wasn't exactly flashy.
The former Prior Lake High School goaltender made his first start with the Bulls on Jan. 7, and his first five games were nothing to write home about as he earned one win during the stretch and allowed 3.2 goals per game.
But since getting pulled during a game at Rochester, Scites has seven wins in his past eight starts and has given the Bulls a little stability heading to the playoffs.
“I think I just had to get used to playing more games,” Scites said. “I was with a couple of other teams and hadn’t played games in a couple of months. Once I came down here, got on the roster and they put me in some games and had some faith in me. I got into game mode and it just went from there.”
Scites, who previously played two games for the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League this season, has been a revelation over the past month and a half.
In those seven wins, he allowed no more than two goals per game and has saved 168 shots of the 175 shots he’s faced, good enough for a goals against average of .960.
Last weekend in the Bulls’ opening round series victory over Rochester, Scites got the start each night and collected his first shutout since his arrival in an 8-0 win on Saturday.
“I think Drew has been very good lately,” North Iowa coach Todd Sanden said before the team’s games last weekend. “He’s given us opportunities to when every game he’s played in.
“We feel he gives us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for.”
Scites and the Bulls are back in a familiar spot this weekend in the divisional championship round of the NA3HL playoffs. The Bulls have never failed to make this round, and only once — their first season in Mason City — have they failed to win the series to advance to the Silver Cup. They’ll put that record on the line in a three-game series against La Crosse, which begins tonight at the North Iowa Ice Arena.
The Bulls are 5-1 this season vs. their Central Division foe with the only loss coming in Scites’ first start.
“I think we just have to keep doing the same thing,” Scites said. “It’ll be a little different than last weekend, and La Crosse is a better opponent for sure, and we’ll be looking for a little revenge.”