Willmar WarHawks put an end to many streaks on Sunday night. Since joining the NA3HL in 2016 the WarHawks had never beaten the North Iowa Bulls. The same Bulls team who had won 18-straight games on home ice. Check. And check. Alex Kupka scored in overtime helping Willmar defeat North Iowa 3-2.
The second place WarHawks (13-11-0-0) traveled south and stunned the home crowd in Mason City. Trailing 2-1 with six minutes to play in regulation Kupka evened things for Willmar with his eighth goal in just 10 games this season. Lewis Rowan and Isaiah Thomas assisted on the tally.
Kupka was not done though as he would tip a Hunter Bjorge shot over the Bulls goaltender at 2:24 of overtime for the victory.
"The boys never quit and bought in to what they needed to do," said WarHawks Head Coach Kirk Olimb.
North Iowa opened scoring in the first when Lucas Jorgensen scored on the powerplay. Dylan Gajewski tied it for Willmar at 13:15 of the second with helpers from Gavin Uckele and Thomas.
Kyle Heffron quickly answered the Willmar goal at 13:51 to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. That held until the Kupka heroics.
Goaltender Will Pinney stopped 35 of 37 shots to improve his record to 4-1 after joining the club from St. Cloud. His 1.60 GAA and .948 save% are making an impression.
"Huge night in net for Will Pinney and Alex Kupka just keeps on scoring," added Olimb.
The victory came one day after a third period collapse resulted with a home loss to the Granite City Lumberjacks.
"Great bounce back after a disappointing loss last night to grab the franchise’s first ever win against North Iowa."
Willmar return to action at home next weekend hosting the same North Iowa team on Friday then Granite City on Saturday night.
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