Americans advance to AWHL championship series with 5-2 win over Gillette

 

Americans advance to AWHL championship series with 5-2 win over Gillette

By Kevin Scott

GREAT FALLS, Mont., March 15, 2014 —A night after the Great Falls Americans fell to the Gillette Wild 3-2 in double overtime, the Americans still came out with lots of energy for game 4 of the AWHL Semifinals on Saturday night. Great Falls took control early on with three goals in the opening period and scored two more in the third period to pick up a 5-2 decision.

Great Falls opened up the first period by racking up three straight goals. Brady Christiaens, Max Kaercher and Austin Krantz each put up points to set the tone early in the game. Aaron McInnis and Connor Barta each had one assist on the Christiaens score while Erik Gatson set up Kaercher’s goal. Steven Butts and Trent Carter tallied the assists on Austin Krantz’ goal. Gillette’s Dalton McCann prevented the first period shutout with a goal of his own with nine seconds remaining with assistance from Chase Engdahl and Brandon Miller. Great Falls had 15 of the 29 shots on goal in the period

Alex King cut Gillette’s deficit to 3-2 on a pass from Andril Istominov early in the middle period. His goal proved to be the lone score before the second intermission. The Americans maintained a slim advantage (23-22) on forcing shots toward the goal after the first 40 minutes.

Great Falls led 3-2 heading into the final period before Reed Link’s goal from the stick of Brady Christiaens increased the lead by two goals. Aaron McInnis, the AWHL League MVP, tallied up the final score with an empty net goal with 54 seconds left in the game to help the Great Falls franchise win their best-of-five series 3-1 over the visitors from Wyoming.

The 450 fans in attendance saw Great Falls goaltender Erik Powell record 29 saves on 31 shot attempts while Gillette utilized both of their goalies as Sean Kelley and Michael Kitts combined for 25 saves in their season finale. Gillette and Great Falls could not capitalize on any of their combined four power play opportunities. Great Falls finished the contest with only four minutes of penalty time while Gillette spent 18 minutes in the penalty box.

The top two teams in the AWHL standings will battle it out for the AWHL championship in a best-of-five series slated to begin with game one on Tuesday, March 18th at the Helena Ice Arena in Helena, Montana. Helena swept their series 3-0 over the Billings Bulls on Saturday night. Great Falls will host the second game of the series on Wednesday night (March 19th).

NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will travel to Helena to face the top-ranked Bighorns on Tuesday, March 18th in game one of their best-of-five series before coming back to the Great Falls Ice Plex for game two on Wednesday evening.

 

Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Final
Great Falls 3 0 2 5
Gillette 1 1 0 2

 

First Period 1, Great Falls, Brady Christiaens (Aaron McInnis, Connor Barta), 6:03. 2, Great Falls, Max Kaercher (Erik Gatson), 9:01. 3, Great Falls, Austin Krantz (Steven Butts, Trent Carter), 15:52. 4, Gillette, Dalton McCann (Chase Engdahl, Brandon Miller), 19:51.

Second Period – 5, Gillette, Alex King (Andril Istominov), 5:15.

Third Period – 6, Great Falls, Reed Link (Brady Christiaens), 15:25. 7, Great Falls, Aaron McInnis (empty net) (Reed Link), 19:06.

Shots on Goal – Great Falls 30, Gillette 31.

Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-3, Gillette 0-for-1.

Attendance – 450

Box Score: Gillette @ Great Falls

Final Great Falls Iceplex    Sat, Mar 15, 2014 7:30 PM MST
Gillette 2 Great Falls 5

 

GAME DETAILS
SCORING SHOTS
1 2 3 TOTALS
Gillette 1 1 0 2
Great Falls 3 0 2 5
1 2 3 TOTALS
Gillette 14 8 9 31
Great Falls 15 8 7 30

 

POWERPLAYS
Gillette 0 – 1 : Great Falls 0 – 3

 

SCORING SUMMARY
Period 1
Great FallsBrady Christiaens (Aaron McInnis, Connor Barta) 6:03
Great FallsMax Kaercher (Erik Gatson) 9:01
Great FallsAustin Krantz (Steven Butts, Trent Carter) 15:52
GilletteDalton McCann (Chase Engdahl, Brandon Miller) 19:51
Period 2
GilletteAlex King (Andrii Istominov) 5:15
Period 3
Great FallsReed Link (Brady Christiaens) 15:25
Great FallsAaron McInnis (empty net) (Reed Link) 19:06
PENALTIES
Period 1
Great FallsJonnathan Carpenter – (Tripping), 2 MIN, 2:20
GilletteDalton McCann – (Roughing), 2 MIN, 19:51
Great FallsErik Powell – (Roughing), 2 MIN, 19:51
Period 2
GilletteShane Brown – (Slashing), 2 MIN, 8:49
Period 3
GilletteBrandon Castleberry – (Interference), 2 MIN, 2:10
GilletteDarren Banks – (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) (Misconduct), 10 MIN, 15:25
GilletteBrandon Castleberry – (Cross Checking), 2 MIN, 19:30

 

 Gillette  Great Falls
# NAME G A PTS +/- S PIM
3 Dillinger, Trent 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Engdahl, Chase 0 1 1 0 0 0
6 Reble, Tyler 0 0 0 -2 0 0
7 Mitzel, Bryce 0 0 0 -2 0 0
8 Sauers, Greg 0 0 0 -3 0 0
10 Miller, Brandon 0 1 1 +1 0 0
12 Fobair, Will 0 0 0 -2 0 0
16 McCann, Dalton 1 0 1 -1 0 2
17 Istominov, Andrii 0 1 1 0 0 0
19 Brown, Shane 0 0 0 -2 0 2
20 McMinn, TJ 0 0 0 -1 0 0
21 Kasdorf, Jonathan 0 0 0 -1 0 0
22 Burke, Michael 0 0 0 -1 0 0
24 Lantz, Rob 0 0 0 0 0 0
25 King, Alex 1 0 1 0 0 0
26 Eldridge, Dylan 0 0 0 0 0 0
29 Banks, Darren 0 0 0 -2 0 10
30 Kitts, Michael 0 0 0 0 0 0
31 Kelley, Sean 0 0 0 0 0 0
33 Castleberry, Brandon 0 0 0 0 0 4
# NAME G A PTS +/- S PIM
00 , Bench 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 Powell, Erik 0 0 0 0 0 2
3 Strong, Bridger 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Krantz, Austin 1 0 1 +1 0 0
6 Garton, Dylan 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Lomax, Lucas 0 0 0 +1 0 0
9 Goran, Steven 0 0 0 +2 0 0
11 Kaercher, Max 1 0 1 +1 0 0
13 Mattfeldt, Donovan 0 0 0 -1 0 0
14 Carpenter, Jonnathan 0 0 0 0 0 2
15 Butts, Steven 0 1 1 +1 0 0
16 Mese, Zack 0 0 0 0 0 0
17 Gatson, Erik 0 1 1 +1 0 0
18 Link, Reed 1 1 2 +3 0 0
19 Carter, Trent 0 1 1 +1 0 0
20 Christiaens, Brady 1 1 2 +2 0 0
23 Stover, Lucas 0 0 0 -1 0 0
27 Nottke, Austin 0 0 0 0 0 0
29 Barta, Connor 0 1 1 +3 0 0
30 Hauser, Evan 0 0 0 0 0 0
93 McInnis, Aaron 1 1 2 +2 0 0
  GOALIES
NAME DEC Min SHOTS SAVES
31 Sean Kelley LOSS 15:52 14 11
30 Michael Kitts 43:35 15 14
NAME DEC Min SHOTS SAVES
1 Erik Powell WIN 60:00 31 29
30 Evan Hauser (b)

 

PENALTY TOTALS
Gillette 18 minutes on 5 infractions Great Falls 4 minutes on 2 infractions

 

 

OTHER FACTS
Game Length: 2:20
Attendance: 450