Miller provides the game-winning goal in final seconds against Helena
By Kevin Scott
HELENA, Mont., November 13, 2015 — Just when the rivalry between the Great Falls Americans (12-4) and the Helena Bighorns (9-6) looked like it would take an extra period to decide the winner, Great Falls defenseman Blake Miller answered with five seconds remaining to ensure the Americans would escape with a 3-2 victory over the Helena Bighorns on the road in front of 950 fans.
Back on October 30th, the Americans hosted the Bighorns in Great Falls and the game was close throughout before the host team edged the Helena franchise 3-2 with the game-winning goal provided by Ricards Bernhards in the final minute.
Adam Apangalook gave the Americans a one goal lead after the first twenty minutes between these two rivals. Miles Giorgione and Arseny Ivanov assisted on the only scoring play in the opening period that came in the final four minutes. Great Falls created 11 shots limiting the home team to eight.
Helena briefly took a 2-1 advantage with goals by Ryan Daugherty and Johnny Bonta during the first seven minutes of the middle period. Four Bighorn players added assists including Blake Babineau, Brandon Mills, John Greer and Bonta chipped in one off Daugherty’s goal. Great Falls tied the game at 2-2 with Austin Krantz finding the back of the net thanks to assistance from Reed Link and Josh Larson. Larson failed to put more points on the scoreboard on an unsuccessful penalty shot seconds before Krantz’s tally.
It took 19:55 seconds in the final period before another score was registered. Great Falls native Blake Miller scored the game-winning goal during the final seconds of regulation. Krantz and Stevan Goran helped set up the play for coach Jeff Heimel’s team.
Both NA3HL franchises had trouble converting on the power play advantage. Helena’s Daugherty and Bonta’s goals came off power plays (2-for-11) while Krantz secured the only one for Great Falls (1-for-7).
Great Falls had ten of penalties called on them including one major penalty in the second period. Meanwhile, Helena incurred eight minor penalties for 16 minutes.
Helena’s offense kept Great Falls goaltender Jake Stephans busy throughout the night. Stephans, the 6’0” net minder from Eagle River, Wisconsin recorded 29 saves. Helena’s Grant Martens swatted away 27 of the 30 shots the Americans offense sent his way.
NEXT CONTEST: The Billings Bulls make the trip to Great Falls on Saturday, November 14th to take on the Americans. Game is set to begin at 7:30PM from the Great Falls Ice Plex.