MASON CITY | Sound the cowbells, the North Iowa Bulls are back.
After an 8-5 defeat of the Wisconsin Whalers in their Friday home-opener, the Bulls completed the two-game sweep with a 7-3 victory Saturday at the North Iowa Events Center.
“You know the boys were buzzing tonight,” Bulls forward Josh Arnold said. “Fun playing in front of the home crowd and coming back from being away for so long, the energy really gets you going.”
Arnold concluded the night with two goals, including one shorthanded in the second period.
“On the PK, a lot of the players are going to be in zone,” Arnold said. “So I was speeding up, saw the guy on the other side, but had a lane to shoot so I had to shoot and move.”
It was Arnold’s third goal of the weekend after three consecutive scoreless performances. Arnold also notched two assists in both games, aiding in Brendan Studioso’s hat trick from the night before.
“That line was our best line all weekend, Arnold and [Brendan] Studioso were our best line in two games.” head coach Todd Sanden said.
But Sanden added that the Bulls can’t accept these games as good enough; two goals in each were given up on power plays.
“There’s a lot of things we’ve got to clean up,” Sanden said. “The discipline has got to get better, against really good teams you can’t play that way ... you can’t play out of the penalty box.”
Despite giving up seven power plays to the Whalers, the Bulls still held their own, allowing fewer shots on goal.
Mitch Dolter and Studioso made the first period two goals in the first, Arnold followed up with the third. The Whalers would score two in the first period, one on a power play after a tripping penalty on Cameron Fagerlee to put the Whalers within one 3-2.
Tyler Bump and Dolter took advantage of the power plays in the second, scoring two goals for the Bulls. The Whalers would score their final on a power play to make the score 5-3. Arnold broke free down the ice for the shorthanded goal to make it 6-3.
Jason Miner scored the final goal for the Bulls to tally the score 7-3.
“D-zone was better,” Sanden said. “We gave up 18 shots in 60 minutes of hockey, you should run away with games when you give up less than 20 shots.”