This was never where North Iowa planned on ending its season. The Bulls have made it to the league's championship tournament six years in a row, and not making it would come as a shock to anyone involved. La Crosse had other plans.
The Freeze, who finished second in the West Division behind the Bulls, ended North Iowa's season early on Saturday night with a 4-3 victory in overtime. It's the first time the Bulls have been swept in a playoff series, and the first time since 2012 that they were left home for the Fraser Cup tournament.
Like Friday night's loss at home, the Bulls took a 1-0 lead after a period off the stick of Tyler Bump.
La Crosse tied the game up 1-1 with a goal 31 seconds into the second before North Iowa was able to grab the lead back with a goal by Mitch Dolter at the 3:46 mark. But La Crosse refused to go away.
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The Freeze tied it up again on a goal by Brandon Ratzloff at the 8:24 mark, and the team would head into the final intermission tied 3-3.
La Crosse took its first lead of the game 4:11 into the third on a goal by Clayton Lackey, but the Bulls had their answer halfway through the period when Shane Bernhardson lit the lamp. The teams played out the remainder of the period to head into overtime tied 3-3.
The game-winning goal came 2:04 into the overtime period when Matthew Francois, and the Bulls were left stunned as their dreams of a championship were cut short.