MASON CITY — To play goalie for the North Iowa Bulls, one needs to come in knowing that some nights are going to be jam packed with action. It’s the style the Bulls play that leads to this.
Since arriving in Mason City in 2011, Todd Sanden has had his North Iowa teams playing a distinct style that involves spending as much time as possible peppering shots into the opposing goalie. This means the Bulls' defense can be scattered a bit at times, leading to a few great chances for opposing teams.
It’s never been anything resembling a problem because of the depth and firepower they’ve had on offense, and they had the goalie making those great saves to go along with it.
That man this year is Colin Cain.
“I think what you look for in a goaltender is just a guy who gives you a chance to win every night,” North Iowa coach Todd Sanden said. “The thing with our guys is you probably have to make three to five hard saves a night and he’s been making them and he’s been giving us a chance to win.”
Cain, who is from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, came to the Bulls this summer knowing the proud tradition they have. It’s the main reason he’s landed so far from home.
“Everyone is really nice here in Iowa, my billets are great and the team is awesome,” Cain said.
And he’s wound up in a unique situation as well.
In the past, Sanden has typically used a rotation of two or three goalies throughout most of the regular season, and then the Bulls will ride the best of the bunch through the postseason. This year the Bulls have gone with Cain on most nights right out of the gate.
But there’s good reason for this.
The Bulls, who have yet to lose in regulation this season, have received a stellar performance out of Cain in each of his starts. The first-year Bull is 9-0-1-1 with a goal against average of 2.49 and a save percentage of 91.5 percent.
While the numbers are not among the league leaders (other than his record) in the NA3HL, Sanden saw someone who gave them a chance right away. It’s why he’s having the success now.
“I think it’s just his production, the way he’s played in games and kind of calming games down when we needed that to happen by making a save and keeping momentum in our favor by making a save,” Sanden said. “He’s been great.”
Cain said his numbers have come down to being consistent and working hard, and when the team, which is 12-0-1-1, is as good as it’s been, it makes it that much more rewarding.
“We just know we have to win every day,” Cain said. “We have the better team so it’s fun.”