GF Tribune: Americans begin Silver Cup quest Wednesday
March 28, 2016
Five more games.
That is what stands between the Great Falls Americans and the championship of the North American Tier 3 Hockey League, as the Frontier Division champs have advanced to the NA3HL Silver Cup Tournament.
The tourney, which begins Wednesday at the Canlan Ice Arena in Romeoville, Ill. (which is about 40 minutes west of Chicago), features the six NA3HL Division champions and two wild card teams. The eight teams are divided into two pools, and the teams play within their pool for the first three days before the top two teams from each pool advance to the semifinals on Saturday. The championship match is set for noon Mountain Time on Sunday.
The Americans, who are seeded fifth in the tournament, starts things out Wednesday evening at 6:30 when they meet No. 3 Point Mallard, Ala., the South Division titleholder, in a Pool A game.
The Americans earned the Frontier Division crown when they swept the first two games of their three-game set with the Yellowstone Quake, who also advanced to the tourney and will face top-ranked North Iowa in Pool A at 6. The Canlan Ice Arena has two rinks, allowing them to start games almost simultaneously – in this case, a half-hour apart.
The Americans will swap opponents with the Quake as Great Falls faces North Iowa Thursday at 6:30, while the Quake and Ducks face off at 6. Friday night, the Quake and Americans take the ice at 6:30 as semifinalist will be determined.
The B Pool has Michigan’s Metro Jets (East champ), the St. Louis Jr. Blues (Midwest), Twin City (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Steel of the West, and the wild card team from the South Division, the Texas Jr. Brahmas. Pool B matches will start at 3 and 3:30 p.m. Mountain.
Saturday’s semifinals will pit the No. 2 team from Pool B against the top team from the A Pool at 1 p.m., while the A runnerup faces the Pool B champ at 4.