By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
CODY, Wyo., November 14, 2020 —The top-ranked Great Falls Americans (10-0-0-0) have had an easy time picking up wins this season as they have been victorious in all nine contests coming into tonight’s two-game road finale against the host, Yellowstone Quake (3-9-0-0).
In the first game on Friday evening, Great Falls broke out of a 2-2 tie after the first period to outscore the home team 8-0 over the second and third stanzas to win in dominant fashion, 10-2. Forward Jake Hayes amassed four goals and goaltender Trever Mellen added 24 saves for his ninth consecutive win.
Saturday’s performance at Riley Arena was much closer.
The Great Falls Americans survived two lead changes by the Yellowstone Quake to upend the Wyoming squad, 6-3 to sweep the weekend road series on Saturday night. After scoring four goals on Friday night, forward Jake Hayes added two more while goaltender Vincent Marroni notched his first win of the season by stopping 19 of 22 shots in the net for Great Falls.
Yellowstone capitalized on the minor boarding penalty by Great Falls to score the first and only goal of the first period. A trio of returning players from last season’s Quake team had a hand in the first scoring opportunity for either team. Cade Rosansky buried the puck in the net over Americans goaltender Vincent Marroni with 6:13 left as Jack Harris and Dylan Rumpke provided the assists. Great Falls had a goal called back in the final minute of the opening period. Despite trailing early, the Americans contributed 15 shots.
After the first intermission, Great Falls took 1:53 off the clock before Henry Chavez put in the equalizer that was set up by defenseman Tommy Janes and forward Bryson Fletcher. The Quake regained the lead (2-1) three minutes later as the same trio of players that scored in the first period created the second scoring drive for coach Phil Oberlin’s sixth place team. This time, Jack Harris, from Cody, Wyoming, was the recipient of the Quake’s second power play goal assisted by Cade Rosansky and Dylan Rumpke. Rumpke’s leads the team in assists (14) and points scored (21) in the first twelve games. But the Americans fought back and scored two goals in 45 seconds with under four minutes remaining to take their first lead of the contest. Tommy Janes recorded his second goal of the season while teammate Harley Nyhuis received his fourth score while the Quake were short-handed. Nyhuis and Fletcher assisted on Janes’ score while Bryson Fletcher assisted on both plays for his third assist before the second intermission. The Americans, under the direction of head coach Greg Sears, attempted 25 shots while accruing three goals.
The Americans stretched their lead to 5-2 in the final frame. Jake Hayes, who had four of his seven goals of the season during last night’s 10-2 victory, took advantage of Yellowstone’s penalty and racked up his eighth goal as Alex Jackson accumulated his eleventh season assist and Bryson Fletcher obtained his seventh assist near the midway point of the period. Two minutes later, Bryson Fletcher picked up his fifth point (1 goal, 4 assists) of the night as he gathered his fourth scoring opportunity of the season with helpers from Harley Nyhuis and Henry Chavez. The home team answered and cut the deficit to 5-3 later in the last period of regulation as Logan Brown chipped in his first tally of the season with assistance from Ethan Gicewicz and Gabe Huntley. Jake Hayes scored his second goal of the period during the final 31 seconds with the final scoring drive assisted by Harley Nyhuis to ensure a tenth victory for the Americans.
Great Falls kept the offense moving and registered 57 shot attempts while limiting Yellowstone to 22.
Both squads combined for three successful power play scores. The game got chippy at the end as both teams saw two players ejected for fighting in the final half minute of the contest. The 2.5-hour showdown saw a total of 18 penalties resulting in 108 minutes of penalty time.
Vincent Marroni got the start and the win for Great Falls. The Plymouth, Michigan netminder saw his first action of the season and added 19 saves in his second season for the Americans. Marroni’s counterpart for the Quake, Hudgel Selk, had to settle for his fifth setback of the season (2-5-0-0) but not before adding 51 saves to his resume.
NOTE: The Great Falls Americans win tonight makes them the only undefeated team in the league as the Central Division’s Rochester (MN) Grizzlies (9-1-0-0) fell to the Peoria (IL) Mustangs (4-2-1-1), 2-1 for their first loss of the season (see stats).
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans play their eleventh and twelfth games of the season with a home-and-away series with the Missoula Junior Bruins next weekend (November 20-21). On Friday, November 20th, they will be face the Missoula Junior Bruins in a different city and venue due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place in Missoula, Montana (see story). The game will take place in Helena, Montana at the Helena Ice Arena at 11:30AM. Great Falls will return home for a November 21st date with the Bruins with action beginning from the Great Falls Ice Plex at 7:30PM. All games can be streamed from HockeyTV.