MASON CITY, Iowa – After playing to a scoreless tie through 40 minutes, the Metro Jets came alive in the third period as Connor Inger’s hat trick lifted the Jets to a 3-0 win over the NA3HL’s top-ranked team, the North Iowa Bulls, Friday night at the North Iowa Arena.
Andrew Kormos stopped all 23 shots he faced to pick up the shutout between the pipes.
“This was probably one of the best junior games I have had the privilege to be on the bench for,” Jets coach-GM Justin Quenneville. “That was two top-notch teams fighting for every inch and fast-paced for 60 minutes. I felt like we did a good job executing our game plan and eventually, we were rewarded for it. Overall, that game saw contributions from everyone in our group. Kormos made the big stops when we needed them and the guys tilted the ice very well tonight. Connor came up big for us and was the difference in the end. Big players come up in big games, and he was definitely big in the third for us.
“We did what we needed to do tonight and will need to play the same way tomorrow to get what we came for this weekend. Credit to North Iowa – they played hard and kept the game at zeroes for two periods. They are so good at the transition game, but our guys played stingy on the ‘D’ side of the puck any time they looked for an opportunity.”
With his three goals, Inger (pictured) takes over the top spot in the NA3HL’s scoring race with 34 goals and 39 assists for 73 points, one more than Binghamton’s Brad Becker.
“This win felt good – we had some unfinished business with them, so we knew what we had to do to come in here and make a statement,” Inger said. “Tomorrow will be no different. They are a good team and played hard, but when we play Metro Jets hockey, we’re putting ourselves in a good situation to win.”
Kormos’ shutout is his third of the season and 14th overall in two seasons with the Jets.
“It feels great to win a game just like it does for every other win,” Kormos said. “Altogether, everyone played really well, especially the ‘D’ corps.
“Tomorrow, we have to come out and stick to our game plan and play blue-collar Metro Jets hockey and it should be another great game.”
North Iowa goalie Colin Cain finished with 27 stops in suffering the defeat.
Saturday’s game starts at 8:30 p.m. EST and will be streamed on www.hockeytv.com.