By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., December 11, 2020 — The rivalry continued on the ice on Friday evening as the #1 Great Falls Americans (13-4-0-0) and the #7 Helena Bighorns (4-9-0-0) battled it out for the fourth time this season as members of the North American 3 Hockey League’s (NA3HL) Frontier Division.
Great Falls and Helena have each won two head-to-head meetings with each team hosting two games. All three previous matchups have been decided by a goal. On October 9th, the Americans edged the Bighorns, 3-2 in Great Falls. Last weekend (December 4-5) in Helena, Montana, each team earned a victory including a 3-2 win for the Americans on Friday night, but Great Falls had to settle for their third loss on Saturday (2-1). The other two losses so far have come from the Missoula Junior Bruins, who are fourth in the Frontier Division standings behind the Sheridan (WY) Hawks and Gillette (WY) Hawks.
The Helena Bighorns needed just two goals to hand the Great Falls Americans their first shutout loss (and fourth overall) of the season during Friday’s NA3HL action at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Alex Bailey and Gavgn Galloway, two returners from last season’s Bighorns squad, scored in the first and third periods, respectively as Helena captured their fourth victory in 13 games and their second straight over the Americans.
There were 27 total shots taken and one goal scored before the first intermission concluded as the Bighorns led early in the contest. It was the North Dakota connection of Isaac Ellingson to Alex Bailey for the first score of the game for the visiting team. There was just one minor penalty called against Helena during the first twenty minutes of action.
Both squads skated the middle period without securing any goals. Just like the first period, both teams combined for 27 shots.
The third period was quiet on the scoreboard for the first 19:23 when Great Falls pulled starting goaltender Trever Mellen to add an extra offensive player on the ice in the final minutes. The final 37 seconds is when Gavyn Galloway lit up the lamp for the sixth time this season with help from Wyatt Hanson, who picked up his fifth assist on the empty net score to ensure a victory by Helena.
Despite giving up two goals, Great Falls took more shots (51-32) than Helena attempted throughout the contest.
Both teams failed to gather any goals on their two power play chances. The two Frontier Division teams combined for seven penalties with 22 minutes spent in the sin bin during the first two periods followed by a penalty-free stanza in the third.
Anthony Adleman had his best performance of the season as the Bighorns netminder. The Wisconsin native redirected all 33 shots for his third victory of the season (3-5-0-0). Trever Mellen fell for just the third time in 14 appearances for Great Falls, but not before stopping 20 shots and allowing one first period goal.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will take an 11-day Holiday break after their two-game road series against the #4 Gillette (WY) Wild, who sit in the Frontier standings at 10-5-1-1, next Friday and Saturday (December 18th and 19th). The teams will gather at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena in Gillette, Wyoming for a 7:00PM (MST) showdown as Great Falls makes their first (and only) trip to Gillette this season after the Wild came to Great Falls back in October.
After the holiday break, Great Falls finishes off 2020 and starts the new year (2021) with three games in three days at home. The Butte Cobras, Missoula Junior Bruins, and the Helena Bighorns will be in Great Falls to face the Americans beginning on December 31st (vs. Cobras), January 1st (vs. Bruins) and January 2nd (vs. Bighorns). The action starts each night at 7:30PM from the Great Falls Ice Plex.
All games cans be streamed through the official streaming service of the NA3HL at HockeyTV.
HockeyTV is on a variety of different devices including some Smart TV’s, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android devices and web browsers including Google Chrome, FireFox and Safari with a paid subscription. Click here if you would like more information about subscribing to Hockey TV (All Access).
Additional Media Coverage: December 11, 2020: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Friday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.
Additional Media Coverage: December 11, 2020: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Great Falls Americans vs. Helena Bighorns Highlights (Video)
NOTE: A Special Thanks to Elijah Collins (ABC/FOX Montana Sports Reporter) for providing the video.