Bozeman uses first period to down Great Falls, 2-1
By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 30, 2016 — During Friday’s NA3HL contest in Bozeman, the Great Falls Americans (26-10-2) held a two-goal advantage before the Bozeman Ice Dogs (21-7-7) rallied to tie it before the end of regulation.
In the five-minute overtime session, it was Tyler Garcia’s score that gave the Americans their 26th win of the season.
The Great Falls Americans and the Bozeman Ice Dogs have faced each other four times including a 4-3 shootout victory in October. Each team had won twice during those meetings.
Both teams tangled for the final time in the regular season on Saturday night.
The third place Bozeman Ice Dogs scored twice in the first period while allowing one goal by division-leading Great Falls and held on to down the home team 2-1 in front of a great crowd of 872 fans at the Great Falls Ice Plex during NA3HL hockey action on Saturday night.
Great Falls found themselves trailing 2-0 to Bozeman before they lit up the lamp. Bozeman’s Gunnar Mogck and AJ O’Dell each found the back of the net during the opening period. Mogck’s score came within the first 78 seconds and was assisted by Kegan Couture and Dylan Michaud. O’Dell’s points came ten minutes later with assistance from Steven Nisbet and Elliott Hopkins. Americans forward Ricards Bernhards tallied the only points for the host team at the 6:25 mark of the first stanza. Tanner Congdon and Josh Larson gathered the assists. Great Falls out-shot the visitors 16-9.
Both teams battled it out during the next two periods but neither team could find a way to get the puck between the pipes. The Americans took twice as many shots as the Ice Dogs the rest of the way (34-15).
Great Falls put up an impenetrable defensive front on the penalty kill, and did not allow Bozeman to score on any of their three power play chances.
Despite the loss, Great Falls did out-shoot the Ice Dogs 50-24 including twenty during the middle period. Bozeman never shot over nine in each of the three periods.
Most of the penalties came during the second stanza where Great Falls incurred 17 minutes (of their total 21) in penalty time. Bozeman ended their night with four penalties for 11 minutes.
Stephen Frank was near perfection in the win for the Ice Dogs finishing with 49 saves on 50 shots. Jake Stephan led Great Falls with 22 saves including 15 stops in the final two periods.
NEXT CONTEST: The only game for the Americans this next week will be on Thursday (February 4th) when the Billings Bulls come into town. The puck will drop at 7:30PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex.