Frontier team goes undefeated in Top Prospects Tournament despite comeback scare
By Kevin Scott
PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 17, 2016 — On the final day of the 2016 Top Prospects Tournament, the Frontier Division team (3-0) faced off against the NA3HL 18U Selects Black team (1-2) on Wednesday morning.
The Frontier team coasted to a 5-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon behind the solid efforts of Great Falls American teammates Josh Larson and Brendan Jester, who each scored a goal and dished out one assist. Great Falls goaltender Jake Stephan stopped 30 shots.
Meanwhile, the East Division scored three goals in the second and third periods to defeat the NA3HL 18U Selects Black squad 7-3. Great Falls American standouts Ricards Bernhards recorded one goal and Tanner Congdon had an assist early in the first period.
Billings Bulls standout Chris Nicolai scored two first period goals to help the Frontier team pick up a 4-3 victory despite a comeback attempt by the NA3HL 18U Selects Black team on Wednesday morning at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament. Bozeman Ice Dogs goalie Stephen Frank played the entire game and swatted away 41 shots for the winning team.
Chris Nicolai netted two goals during the first stanza for the Frontier squad and Ricards Bernhards added one for the 18U Selects Black team to make the score 2-1. Yellowstone defenseman Matt Runyon assisted on the first goal by Nicolai with 16 minutes remaining in the first. Max Doner (Yellowstone Quake) and Great Falls Americans forward Josh Larson received assists on the second scoring opportunity for the Frontier. Tristin Snyder (Toledo Cherokee) and Americans standout Tanner Congdon tallied the assists on the Bernhards score. Despite trailing in the opening period, the 18U Selects Black Team held an 18-16 advantage in the shots-on-goal category.
The rest of the scoring took place in the final period as neither team registered any goals in the middle period.
Tristan Henrichs (Billings Bulls) took just 57 seconds into the third period to give the Frontier a 3-1 advantage. Tony Dahlberg of the Yellowstone Quake grabbed the assist. Later in the period, Cade Boreing (Gillette Wild) got the puck into the net to increase the lead for the Frontier with less than 12 minutes remaining on an unassisted scoring drive. The 18U Selects Black team made the game interesting in the final eighty seconds by scoring twice. Marshall Barnes (North Iowa Bulls) and Curtis Carlson (West Michigan Wolves) each scored in the comeback attempt by the Selects Black squad. The assists for the NA3HL 18U Selects Black team came from North Iowa Bulls teammates Sean Mallonee, Tommy Stang and Shane Bernhardson as well as Vadym Nesteruk from the Yellowstone Quake.
Nicholas Thompson (Bozeman Ice Dogs) had the only penalty in the contest for either team during the second period. His hooking penalty was the only power play opportunity for the 18U Selects Black team.
Both teams ended the contest with 44 shots. Stephen Frank earned 41 saves as the goaltender for the Frontier team. Christian Sanzottera (Breezy Point North Stars) and Max McConnell (Wisconsin Whalers) combined for 40 saves with Sanzottera picking up the loss.
NEXT CONTEST: The NA3HL returns to league play this week after the Top Prospects Tournament concluded on Wednesday afternoon. The Great Falls Americans will travel to Helena, Montana on Friday, February 19th to face the Bighorns at 7:00PM from the Helena Ice Arena. On Saturday, February 20th, the Americans will return to the Great Falls Ice Plex for a matchup with Helena starting at 7:30PM.