ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Helena sweeps Great Falls to claim AWHL championship

By ABC/FOX Montana Sports Staff

March 22, 2014

The Helena Bighorns showed why there were the top-ranked team from the start of the 2013-14 season with a 3-0 sweep of the Great Falls Americans in the AWHL championship series. Helena cruised to a 4-0 victory at the Helena Ice Arena on Friday night as 712 fans watched.

Both defenses came to play again in the third game of the AWHL Finals. The opening period saw just one goal being scored by Helena’s Sam Bratten. The unassisted score came at the 15:42 mark of the period. Helena contributed 15 of the 20 first period shots on goal.

Great Falls struggled to find a way to put points on the board in the second period as Helena increased their lead to 3-0 behind successful scoring opportunities by Damon Hanson and Logan Henne. Hanson’s third goal of the series gave the Bighorns their second goal of the evening assisted by Theo Campe and Kyle Baker seven minutes into the middle period. Logan Henne, who also scored in game two, tacked on another goal for Helena two minutes later with assistance Austin Buckholtz and Parker Olson. The Americans offense had a difficult time getting shots toward the goal as they combined for 11 after the first forty minutes of Game 3.

A power play goal by John Petersson set up by Dylan Webster and Sebastian Hansson with 4:26 left proved to be the only score from either team in the final period.

Helena goaltender Austin Brihn stopped all 14 shots on goal that he faced by the Americans offense. Evan Hauser of Great Falls finished the final game of the season with 40 saves. Great Falls incurred 22 minutes in penalty time on six infractions while Helena spent 12 minutes in the penalty box.

Great Falls finished up the 2013-14 season with a 39-13-3 record and a runner-up behind to Helena in the final American West Hockey League standings. Great Falls won 22 of their 27 games at the Great Falls Ice Plex and finished 17-8-3 on the road. There were severa; Americans who picked up season awards including Donovan Mattfeldt and Aaron McInnis on the All-League First Team, Jeff Heimel as Coach of the Year and McInnis was the AWHL’s Most Valuable Player (see the list). Great Falls also led the seven team league in attendance during the 24 regular season games by averaging 663 fans per game.

Story Courtesy: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Helena sweeps Great Falls to claim AWHL Championship (March 22, 2014)