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Great Falls comes up short in a 2-1 loss to Bozeman

Great Falls comes up short in a 2-1 loss to Bozeman

By Kevin Scott

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BOZEMAN, Mont., November 20, 2015 — The Bozeman Ice Dogs stopped a final period comeback bid by the Great Falls Americans to claim a 2-1 victory on Friday night at Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman with 213 fans watching the NA3HL contest.

One month ago, these two junior hockey league franchises met up in Great Falls in a tightly-contested game with the home team coming out on top but not before the Ice Dogs made it difficult. The Americans let their 3-0 lead slip away in the second period with the visitors scoring twice in the middle period and once more in the last stanza to send the game into overtime. With neither team getting the puck through the net in the extra period, both teams went to a shoot-out with Great Falls’ Stevan Goran getting the only score to win it in front of the home fans to win it 4-3.

Since then, both teams have gone 4-2 with each team falling to the Helena Bighorns once. Great Falls still maintains first place in the Frontier Division with a 13-5 record while the Ice Dogs sit in third place (9-3-3) behind the Americans and Yellowstone.

One goal was scored during the first period of action between these two NA3HL squads. Bozeman’s Dylan Michaud added his team’s first goal during a power play opportunity. Kegan Couture and John Dixon set up the only goal of the stanza with 11 seconds on the clock. Each team accumulated one minor penalty apiece. The Ice Dogs took 13 shots compared to the Americans 9.

During the next period, Bozeman increased their lead to 2-0 after Thomas Benedict and Elliott Hopkins found an open Steven Nisbet for the power play score with 47 seconds left before the second intermission. Nisbet, a 6’1” forward from Bozeman, netted his tenth goal of the season. The Americans were able to out-shoot the host team (11-8) but Bozeman had two more shots-on-goal after two periods (22-20).

The Americans, coached by Jeff Heimel, cut the deficit to 2-1 near the end of the final period. Great Falls added their first and only goal by Tegan Harrington, whose six goal of the 2015-16 season came via an empty net opportunity. Austin Krantz and Tanner Congdon each picked up an assist.

Both of Bozeman’s goals came on power play chances while Great Falls wasn’t allowed any goals on their four power play attempts.

Great Falls and Bozeman acquired a total of eight minor penalties for 16 minutes.

Jake Stephan allowed one goal in each of the first two periods and finished with 27 saves. Bozeman goaltender Stephan Frank stopped all 26 shots despite the home team giving up an empty net score in the final minute of regulation.

NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will head back to Great Falls to face the Glacier Nationals for the third time this season at 7:30PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Saturday, November 21, 2015.