Great Falls Americans offense downs Bozeman, 7-2
By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., September 23, 2016 — During the 2015-16 season, the Great Falls Americans (3-0) and the Bozeman Ice Dogs (0-1) each won three head-to-head matchups during the regular season. Each game was by a one goal differential.
Great Falls won two straight contests to open up the 2016-17 season against the Glacier Nationals last weekend. Meanwhile, the Bozeman NA3HL franchise played their first game of the season tonight.
Six different Americans tallied goals as the Great Falls Americans had no problem getting by the visiting Bozeman Ice Dogs by the final score of 7-2. Forward Brendan Jester scored two first period goals and was short one goal of getting a hat trick.
The C.M. Russell High School Pep Band entertained the 810 fans throughout the contest that came out for Identity Screen Printing Night and McDonald’s ‘We Win, You Win’ Night at the Ice Plex. Fans came away with FREE Big Mac coupons courtesy of McDonald’s.
Brendan Jester got the first of his two first period goals for Great Falls during the opening 20 minutes of action. The forward from Anchorage, Alaska received help from defenseman Quinn Stuebner and forward Adam Vandenbos. The Ice Dogs tied up the contest 74 seconds after the home team scored. Zach Ahlers found an open John Dixon and he scored over Americans goaltender Michael Hughes. The first two scores came off of power play opportunities. The home team would regain the lead just before the first intermission. Jester’s second goal came off the stick of Adam Vandenbos, who picked up his second assist, with 23 seconds remaining in the first stanza. The Ice Dogs did out-shoot the Americans 19-12.
Six minutes into the second period, Great Falls scored their third points of the evening. Hayden Moistner’s dish to teammate Matt Janke gave the undefeated Americans a 3-1 advantage. The host team would score three out of the next four goals to take a 6-2 lead heading into the final period of regulation. Tegan Harrington, Sandis Mezharaups, and Adam Vandenbos each racked up points during the last eight minutes of the middle period. Adam Vandenbos, Jesse Johnson, Mitchell Ramstad, Tegan Harrington and Brendan Jester received the assists. Minnesota native Daniel Liberko scored the lone goal for Bozeman with John Dixon and Kyle Amundson assisting. Great Falls took 24 shots while holding the Ice Dogs offense to seven.
The offensive attack by Great Falls didn’t let up in the third. Danny O’Donnell, a product of Ventura, California, recorded his first goal of the game and fourth overall. Sandis Mezharaups added the assist on the goal with 14:29 left in the NA3HL Frontier Division contest. After piling up 20 goals (11-0 win on Friday and a 9-0 win last Saturday), Great Falls gave up their first two points of the season.
Both of Brendan Jester’s goals in the first came via power plays as well as Matt Janke’s second period score. Great Falls converted three of their nine power plays while John Dixon’s second period score was the only successful power play for the Ice Dogs.
Both squads ended with 17 total infractions accounting for 50 minutes of penalty time.
Great Falls net-minder Michael Hughes picked up his second win of the season by stopping 30 of the 32 shots the Bozeman offense sent his way in 60 minutes. Charlie Smart of Bozeman played the first two periods of action before being relieved by Luke Olson. Smart allowed six goals and finished with 36 saves in the loss. Olson swatted away 14 shots in the third period.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls takes on the Billings Bulls on Saturday night (September 24th) at 7:30PM (MST) at the Great Falls Ice Plex.