By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 27, 2015 — The Great Falls Americans (34-9-3) have won three consecutive games against the Havre-based Glacier Nationals (10-30-6) going back to December 5, 2014.
During that span, the Americans have allowed Glacier to score just six goals and as the Americans put 16 in the net. Overall, Great Falls had won four of their five meetings including a 7-0 shutout earlier this month.
The Great Falls Americans converted three goals in the second period and cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Glacier Nationals in front of 628 fans who were in attendance for Billet Family Night at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Friday night. All of the billet (host) families were recognized during the first intermission. With the win, the Great Falls Americans win the regular season Frontier Division championship.
Great Falls waited until the last two minutes to record two goals in the first period. Reed Link found the back of the net first. Austin Krantz and Brendan Jester assisted on the Americans first score with 2:18 on the clock. The Americans also scored a quick goal 30 seconds after Link’s points. Arizona native Erik Gatson found the opening and picked up his second goal of the season set up by Tanner Dodd and Robert Kalata. Great Falls led 2-0 and out-shot the visiting team 21-8 before the first intermission.
Glacier chipped in their first points during the first 56 seconds of the middle period to cut their deficit to 2-1. Trevor Jenson’s scoring play was assisted by former Great Falls American Marvin Simmons. Great Falls’ Brendan Jester netted the Americans third goal (3-1) not too long after Glacier’s scoring drive. Austin Krantz received his second assist of the night and Lucas Stover tallied his 19th assist of the 2014-15 NA3HL season. The Americans, under the direction of coach Jeff Heimel, managed to get two additional goals from Cody Page and Lucas Lomax during the second stanza. The assists went to Hunter Garris, Joshua Larson, Cody Page and Lucas Stover, who assisted for the second time tonight.
Both teams could not add any points in the third period. Great Falls out-shot the Nationals 12-9 in the final period and bested the Havre team 54-22 in their final matchup of the season.
There were nine total penalties (with Great Falls committing six of them) for 18 minutes.
Power play opportunities did not help either team as neither club could register any goals off of them.
Cody Page and Brendan Jester each finished with one goal and one assist while Lucas Stover and Austin Krantz contributed two assists.
Jordan Moran picked up his fourth win in five attempts for the Americans making 21 saves. Glacier’s Nolan Slager rejected 49 shots but did allow five goals in the loss.
The Great Falls Americans have already clinched a playoff spot in next week’s NA3HL Frontier Division’s Divisional Semi-Finals. Meanwhile, the Glacier Nationals finish out their season in Havre against the visiting Billings Bulls on Saturday night. Great Falls will battle playoff-bound Billings on Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale.
The top-ranked Americans will face #4 Billings in the 2015 NA3HL Frontier Divisional Semi-Finals with game one set for Thursday night (March 5th) in Great Falls at 7:00PM. The best-of-three series will shift to Billings for the second game on Friday, March 6th and if necessary, the third and final game will be hosted by the Americans on Sunday, March 8th at 7:00PM. Tickets will be available for purchase at Sunday’s (March 1st) regular season finale against Billings for $5.00.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will be at home for their final regular season contest when they face the Billings Bulls on Sunday, March 1st at 4:00PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – 1, Great Falls, Reed Link (Austin Krantz, Brendan Jester), 17:42. 2, Great Falls, Erik Gatson (Tanner Dodd, Robert Kalata), 18:12.
Second Period – 3, Glacier, Trevor Jenson (Marvin Simmons), 0:56. 4, Great Falls, Brendan Jester (Austin Krantz, Lucas Stover), 1:44. 5, Great Falls, Cody Page (Lucas Stover, Joshua Larson), 9:13. 6, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (Cody Page, Hunter Garris), 15:02.
Third Period – NO SCORING
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 54, Glacier 22.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-2, Glacier 0-for-5.
Attendance – 628