By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 30, 2021 — The #2 Great Falls Americans (18-11-1-0) and the #7 Yellowstone (WY) Quake (9-18-1-0) battled it out on the ice for the fourth time on Saturday evening in Great Falls. The Americans lead the series 3-1-0-0 as the teams played for the final time against each other during the 2020-21 NA3HL regular season.
Great Falls won both games in Cody, Wyoming in November by scores of 10-2 and 6-3 but both have had different rosters since then. The Americans played the Quake in their third meeting on Friday at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Great Falls led 3-2 after two periods but the visiting team scored three goals in the third to win 5-3. Bryson Fletcher scored two of the three goals for the Americans. Dylan Rumpke added two goals and one assist while Jack Harris earned three assists to help Yellowstone pick up their ninth victory of the season.
Would Great Falls be able to rebound and move up in the standings?
The Great Falls Americans rolled to a dominating 7-2 victory over the visiting Yellowstone Quake during Saturday’s North American 3 Hockey League action at the Great Falls Ice Plex. The small crowd of 175 saw the home team bounce back after a 5-3 setback on Friday with the Quake in town. Jake Hayes registered two goals and one assist for the winning squad.
Connor Chesner gave the Americans the 1-0 advantage six minutes into the opening frame. Chesner’s first goal in an Americans uniform came with assists from Kellen Harris and Daniel Crutcher while Yellowstone was in the penalty box. The Quake’s Aiden Croce scored the game-tying tally with 7:10 left in the period. Croce’s first goal of the year for Yellowstone came off the stick of Max Jacoshenk, who suited up for Great Falls earlier this season. The first period wrapped up with Great Falls accruing 21 shots and Yellowstone attempting 14.
The home team produced two goals in the second stanza as Jake Hayes and Bryson Fletcher each racked up their 14th goal of the season. Hayes’ goal came 12:30 in as newcomers Kobe Pane and Lucas Gudz garnered the assists. Fletcher’s scoring drive came with 3:43 to go with assistance from Jake Hayes and Micah Serino. Great Falls’ two goal lead (3-1) came with plenty of shot attempts as the Americans held a 19-3 advantage.
Just minutes into the final period of regulation, Kellen Harris and Connor Chesner got the puck to an open Daniel Crutcher for the fourth score. Great Falls scored not one but two quick goals in 30 seconds to increase the lead to 6-1. Jake Hayes captured his second scoring drive of the night and Garret Weisenburger chipped in the other goal. Kobe Pane, Cole Komarek, Lucas Gudz, and Harley Nyhuis accumulated the assists. The Americans’ Henry Chavez found a way to score one more goal thanks to assists by Tyler Lorring and Tommy Janes. Yellowstone couldn’t get much closer but did manage to acquire their second goal before time expired. Jack Harris netted his 24th score that was set up by Dylan Rumpke and Cade Rosansky.
The Americans had a better showing on the ice offensively tonight as they tallied up 58 shots including 21 in the first period. The Quake took 14 of their 26 before the first intermission.
The final contest for both teams in the month of January saw 15 stoppages of play with 30 minutes spent in the sin bin. The Americans and Quake each scored two goals during the power play.
Ben Winkler, who came over from the NA3HL’s St. Louis Jr. Blues this week, started and won his first game for coach Greg Sears’ squad. The product of Gurnee, Illinois swatted away 24 of the 26 shots that Yellowstone’s offense sent his way. Matt Schoer, a New Jersey; native, lost his third regulation game and fourth overall (0-3-0-1) for Wyoming. He recorded 51 saves.
NOTES: After falling to fourth place in last night’s loss to the Quake, Great Falls won their 18th game and jumped up to second place in the NA3HL Frontier Division standings with a 18-11-1-0 record. The Gillette (WY) Wild and the Missoula Junior Bruins were idle tonight while the #1 seed in the Frontier Division, the Sheridan (WY) Hawks kept up their winning ways by downing the Bozeman Ice Dogs, 4-2 to stay in front of the pack. Check out the updated standings by clicking here.
NEXT CONTEST: Due to scheduling changes, the Great Falls Americans sit idle next week and will return to action on Saturday, February 13th when they travel to Butte, Montana to challenge the Cobras. HockeyTV will provide the streaming coverage starting at 7:00PM (MST) from the Butte Community Ice Center.