By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., December 1, 2016 — The Great Falls Americans (14-3-1-2) have been unstoppable so far this season when they compete against the Glacier Nationals (1-20-1).
In their three head-to-head contests, the Americans have not allowed the Glacier offense to record any goals against them. They have out-scored their opponents from Havre, Montana 32-0 cruising to a 12-0 win two weeks ago.
Defenseman Danny O’Donnell continues to lead the Americans in points scored with 35 (12 goals and 23 assists) while forward Tanner Congdon has chipped in 17 goals and dished out 14 assists. Brendan Jester is one point behind O’Donnell with 15 goals and 19 assists for coach Jeff Heimel’s second-place Frontier Division squad.
For the fourth time this season, the Great Falls Americans have earned a shutout over the Glacier Nationals. The home team scored half of their goals in the first stanza to defeat the Havre squad, 14-0. Several hundred fans came out for Calumet Refining Night to watch the Americans pile on the points.
Great Falls continued their fast start during the opening period by scoring seven goals in a 13-minute span. Dustin Truex, Cameron Cunningham, Sandis Mezharaups, Danny O’Donnell, Jesse Johnson, Tegan Harrington and Mitchell Ramstad rounded out the scoring before intermission. Johnson’s and Cunningham’s points came via power plays. Quinn Stuebner recorded two assists as Kody Thomas, Matt Janke, Jesse Johnson, Isaac Vincent and Great Falls native Braxton Lorenz each received one apiece. Glacier was out-shot 26-5 with goaltenders Will Langstaff and Jonah Gower seeing action. Each squad committed three minor penalties.
Tanner Congdon picked up his 13th assist and Brendan Jester secured his 18th assist when they set up Jesse Johnson for the score during the first 19 seconds of the middle period to give the Americans an 8-0 lead. The final three minutes of the second stanza saw the Americans pick up three more goals with Tanner Congdon, Kyler Mack and Cameron Cunningham adding more scoring for Great Falls. Assisting on the final three scoring opportunities were Mitchell Ramstad, Kody Thomas, Dustin Truex, Quinn Stuebner and Nathan Margeson. The Great Falls defense only allowed the Havre-based Nationals to attempt two shots while the home team accumulated 23.
The Americans continued to create successful scoring opportunities during the final period. Brendan Jester netted his fifteenth goal of the season off the sticks of Tanner Congdon and Danny O’Donnell with 11:06 remaining in the contest. Three minutes later during a power play, Isaac Vincent got the puck through Glacier goalie Will Langstaff for his second goal of the season to increase the lead to 13-0. Malachi Bushey added the final tally with assistance from Brendan Jester during the final four minutes.
Four of the Americans fourteen total goals came off power play opportunities. The host team finished 4-for-9. Jesse Johnson and Cameron Cunningham scores in the first, Kyler Mack’s goal in the second period and Isaac Vincent’s in the third all came from power plays. Glacier could not convert their seven chances.
After out-shooting the Nationals 49-7 after two periods, the Americans finished the NA3HL contest with 70 and limited the visiting team to 12.
Cameron Cunningham and Jesse Johnson came within one goal of getting a hat trick. Each player scored twice while Quinn Stuebner dished out three assists to lead the Americans. Nick Nast was perfect in the net as the California native finished with 12 saves in 60 minutes for his seventh win in 10 games.
There were 24 total infractions tallied by both squads accounting for 48 minutes in the penalty box.
Nick Nast (7-2-0-1) picked up the win for Great Falls by swatting away all 12 shots sent his way. Will Langstaff, who suffered another loss for the Nationals, finished with 38 saves. Jonah Gower, who played 16 minutes in the first period, added 18 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans finish off the weekend in Havre, Montana on Friday evening (December 2nd) when the Glacier Nationals serve as the host team. The game time is set for 8:00PM from the Havre Ice Dome.
Additional Media Coverage: December 1, 2016: Great Falls Tribune: O’Donnell, Americans skate past Glacier