By ABC/FOX Montana Sports Staff
February 9, 2015
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 8, 2015 — The top-ranked Great Falls Americans (30-8-3) have out-scored the third place Helena Bighorns (29-9-2) in the Frontier Division of the NA3HL 14-10 in their previous six matchups (4-2 record in favor of Great Falls). Helena sits just three points behind Great Falls (63-60) for second place and one point behind Gillette in the current NA3HL standings.
Both teams posted shut-outs against their opponents on Saturday night with Great Falls cruising to a 5-0 win over Billings and Helena besting Glacier 6-0.
The Americans celebrated Pepsi Family Day, Guy Tobacco Construction and Bank Day as part of the promotional festivities on Sunday afternoon at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
The Helena Bighorns scored twice to erase a 2-0 deficit in the third period and held Great Falls scoreless in overtime and came out on top 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday afternoon in front of nearly 600 fans at the Great Falls Ice Plex. This was Great Falls’ second shootout loss in a week when they fell to the Billings Bulls (4-3) on January 30th.
Great Falls got off to a quick start as Cody Page scored 44 seconds into the opening period against Billings goaltender Grant Martens. Lucas Lomax and Joshua Larson were each credited with the assists. After assisting on the first score of the game, Lucas Lomax found a way to get a goal of his own via a power play with help from Cody Page and Americans goaltender Lauren Massie at the 13:40 mark of the first stanza. Great Falls held a two goal lead and a 16-9 edge on shots on goal before the first intermission.
Great Falls had a narrow shots-on-goal advantage (19-16) during a scoreless middle period and accumulated 10 more shots on goal after both periods concluded (35-25).
It took over 43 minutes for the Bighorns to register their first points of the night. Kendall Bolen-Porter and Rory Bock got the puck to Blake Babineau who found the open lane for the score over Americans goaltender Lauren Massie to cut the deficit to 2-1. Blake Babineau took it upon himself to score for the second time in the period to tie the contest 2-2 for the Bighorns. The unassisted goal came with 6:33 left in regulation. The Babineau goal sent the game into an extra period.
The game was sent into a shoot-out as neither team scored in the five minute overtime session.
Helena’s Johnny Bonta and Brian Skillicorn converted goals in the shootout with Skillicorn’s goal proved to be the game-winner. Great Falls’ Joshua Larson scored the only shootout goal for the Americans.
Blake Babineau led the way for Helena with two goals while Lucas Lomax and Cody Page each provided one goal and an assist in the loss.
Lomax’s first period score was the only successful power play for either team.
Both teams incurred 18 minutes of penalty time along with nine infractions.
Grant Martens earned his 16th win of the season with 46 saves for the Bighorns while Lauren Massie swatted away 37 of the 39 shots he faced in 65 minutes of action. The American goaltender also had one assist in the first period.
After a two-week road trip, the Americans finish out the regular season three weeks from today with two home games (Feb. 27) vs. Glacier and Billings (March 1st) before the playoffs begin.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans begin a two-game road trip to Cody, Wyoming to face the Yellowstone Quake beginning Thursday, Feb. 12th and Friday, Feb. 13th with the games beginning each night at 7:30PM (MST).
Story Courtesy: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Bighorns Stun Americans in Shootout Win (February 9, 2015)