Americans make comeback to drop Billings 3-2 in a shootout
By Kevin Scott
BILLINGS, Mont., November 25, 2015 — The Great Falls junior hockey team ran their road record to 8-2 by defeating the Billings Bulls 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday night in Billings, Montana.
The Great Falls Americans (15-5) were down 2-0 to the Billings Bulls (3-12-1) heading into the final period of regulation but the visiting team picked up two goals to force overtime. After a scoreless overtime, Great Falls needed just one goal by Tegan Harrington in a shootout to secure their fifteenth victory.
In the three previous meetings this season against the Billings club, Great Falls was 3-0 and has scored 15 goals while allowing just three. The last game on November 14th was a 5-0 shutout for the Americans.
The Bulls went up 2-0 after two periods of play. The sixth place NA3HL Frontier team had goals scored by Connor Melton in the first period and Mason Graves in the second period before the Americans got their offense going. Creating the assists were Cameron Birklid, Roy Aharonovich, Tristan Henrichs, and Edward Hoppmann. During the first 40 minutes, Great Falls out-shot Billings 33-14 and had just one of the three total penalties.
Brendan Jester and Austin Krantz would not allow the Americans to go down without a fight and found the back of the net to quickly tie the score at 2-2 during the first 51 seconds of the final period. Tegan Harrington gathered two assists while Austin Krantz and Brendan Jester added one apiece. Both teams struggled to get the puck into the net during the final 19 minutes of regulation.
The NA3HL contest could not be settled in the five minute overtime so a shootout was needed. Tegan Harrington was the only player (in six attempts) from either side to successfully score to propel Great Falls to victory. The Alaska native netted his eighth goal of the season.
In the win, the Frontier Division leading Americans received five minor penalties for 10 minutes of penalty time while the home team incurred 12 minutes of penalty time with six minors. Most of the penalties came in the third period.
Goaltender Jake Stephan, with a 7-2 record for Great Falls, stopped 20 of the 22 shots by the Billings offense with both goals allowed before the second intermission. Gage Overby, the net minder for Billings, added 43 saves to his season total of 351.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will also have two more road games this week including a Friday night game in Havre against the Glacier Nationals (8PM) and Saturday against the Bozeman Ice Dogs at 7:30PM.