The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Fighting Yoopers lead nation in points, penalties


November 16, 2017

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

TWO IRONWOOD Fighting Yooper players are earning national distinction by leading the nation in scoring and penalties earned, as of Wednesday in Ironwood. On the left, center Cale Bowman out of Wausau leads the country in penalties while forward Caleb Bowman from Regina, Saskatchewan the right leads the country in scoring.


Ironwood - Caleb Griffin, a 19 year old forward on the Ironwood Fighting Yoopers, is tied for first place in the nation with 43 points, according to the United States Premier Hockey League. On the flip side; Cale Bowman, a 19 year old center for the Yoopers, is also leading the nation in penalty minutes earned, a much more dubious distinction.

Griffin, who stretches the tape out to 5 foot 9 inches and tips the scale at 170 pounds, allows his stick to speak much louder than his dimensions with four game winning goals. Bowmen, on the other hand, is an inch taller and five pounds lighter than Griffin and is tied for third highest scorer on the Yoopers with 24 points, but his aggressive effort going after the puck is getting more attention from the officials than his scoring with all those minutes spent in the penalty box. Watching the Yoopers skate though, Bowman gets in the heads of opposing players so his penalties do not go unmatched by their opponents.

On the ice, Griffin- who hails from Regina, Saskatchewan - shows off his quickness and fearless attacking while often lining up against bigger players that he skates circles around. Griffin hung nine points on the Tri City Hawks on Oct. 13, embarrassing them with five goals and four assists. One week later, Griffin plucked the Dells Ducks for another five points as he ripped off one goal and dished out another four assists to his teammates. Griffin has been held scoreless in only two of the 20 games played so far, both losses.

Griffin said nine points is the most he has ever scored in a game. Coach Dave Osier said Griffin is, "A very coachable player who is not afraid to voice his opinion and is not shy about contributing to the teams strategy." Osier also said the team, "Needs to get better in our defensive zone and we tend to take a lot of penalties."

Bowman, from Wausau, said he does not like leading the country in penalty minutes, but as one of the older guys on the team he is taking it upon himself to go hard after loose pucks, which is where he is getting most of his penalties. "The team is not doing a good enough job on the 50/50 pucks. Our goalies are strong and good at killing penalties. They work in and out every night. We probably have the best tandem of goalies in the country," said Bowman

Bowman said he is usually a scorer and he is tied for first in the country in power play assists with 10. Overall, Bowman has 17 assists and seven goals to his name, to go along with his 38 penalties.

After 20 games the Fighting Yoopers are in fifth place in the Premier Midwest West Division, but they only trail the Minnesota Mullets and their good time Charlie hairstyles by one point in the standings.

Led by Griffin, the high flying Yoopers have scored 87 goals on the season, which is seven more than the first place Minnesota Blue Ox. On the other end of the ice, the Fighting Yoopers have given up 81, which is the second highest total in the Midwest West to the Hudson Havoc's 89.

This weekend the Yoopers travel to Spooner to take on the sixth place Wisconsin Muskies, who trail the Yoopers by only three points. The Muskies do not score as well as the Yoopers, but they are much stingier in the goal, having only given up 51 red lights on the year. The Fighting Yoopers and their high-scoring machine will try to out score the Muskies and leapfrog the Mullets for fourth place at the same time.

When playing the Mullets, it has been a bad hair day for the Yoopers in all four contests. The Mullets have taken the Yoopers to the woodshed 4-0 in their head to head match ups, but the Yoopers can still overtake them in the standings his weekend if the puck flips right. The Mullets and their tough guy hair have outscored the Yoopers 27-15, but if they stumble against the third place Wisconsin Rapid River Kings at home this weekend, the Yoopers can own fourth place.


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