By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 3, 2020 — The Great Falls Americans opened their weekend series against the Butte Cobras by not getting just one win but picking up two victories and they did it in front of their home crowd.
Originally, the Americans and Cobras were supposed to play two games at the Butte Community Ice Center to open up the 2020-21 campaign but rink issues inside the ice facility prevented that from happening so they played a pair of games in Great Falls this weekend.
Alex Jackson, playing in his first game for Great Falls, erupted for three goals during Friday’s home opener and Great Falls went on to down the Butte Cobras, 6-2 with a solid effort from netminder Trever Mellen, who stopped 23 of the 25 shots to give Americans Head Coach Greg Sears his 78th victory as the Americans mentor.
The Great Falls Ice Plex allows up to 250 spectators to their home games this season due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Fans MUST wear face masks while attending the home games.
On Saturday, the Great Falls Americans mounted a three-goal advantage after one period and outscored the Butte Cobras 5-1 in the final two stanzas to secure their second victory in as many days against their Frontier Division opponent. The 8-1 win showed the dominance of the Americans offensive attack as they controlled the puck throughout the contest by posting an 81-19 shots-on-goal advantage. Six newcomers and two returning players all saw successful scoring drives.
Great Falls tallied their first goal 13 minutes into the first period as Alex Jackson gathered the first of his two assists on the night and Tommy Janes accumulated this third of the season when they got the puck to Wisconsin native Braedon Monroe who shot it through the back of the net and over Butte goaltender Mason Giordano. Monroe’s score was followed up minutes later as Micah Serino put the puck between the pipes with help from family connection of Joshua Serino and Jeremiah Serino. Before the period came to an end, Henry Chavez lit up the lamp as Jake Hayes and Connor Doyle set up the play to give the Americans a three-goal lead heading into the locker room. The host team held the visitors to just nine shots while they amassed 24 in the penalty-free period.
The Americans needed 3:26 of the middle period to receive their fourth goal. This time, Joshua Serino found the back of the net as Connor Doyle and Micah Serino were each credited with the assists. However, the Cobras would not be denied the shutout as ten seconds after the Joshua Serino tally, Butte’s Diego Olson capitalized by putting the puck in the net and cut their deficit to 4-1. Robby Arver, a forward from last season’s squad, added his first assist of the season. Jake Hayes, Billings, Montana native Patrick Crooks, and Cole Komarek each scored a goal during an 11-minute scoring spree by the Americans to finish out the period. Hayes, one of ten players from Alaska on the roster, also chipped in a goal in Friday’s contest. Hays and Komarek’s goals were made while Great Falls was on the power play. Harley Nyhuis, Connor Doyle, Alex Jackson, and Tyler Lorring delivered the assists. After two periods of play, Great Falls recorded 62 shots while the Cobras offense struggled to create 15.
The Americans rounded out the scoring for the night in the third frame with one last scoring opportunity as Micah Serino delivered the puck to Jeremiah Serino for the final goal from either team.
The shots came easy for the Americans, who moved to 2-0 on the season, as they concluded their two-game series with 81. The Cobras accrued nine of their nineteen shots in the first twenty minutes of action.
The 2 hour and 12-minute game saw just seven minor penalties resulting in 14 combined minutes in the penalty box. The scoring drive in the middle period by Jake Hayes and Cole Komarek came while the Cobras were in sin bin. There were no power play chances for Butte.
The Frontier Division teams each utilized two goaltenders. Trever Mellen earned the win for the second consecutive night by swatting away 14 of the 15 shots that came from Butte. Colorado’s Hunter Hadsock played the entire third period in his debut for the home squad, had four saves. Mason Giordano got the start and the loss for coach Chris Shadow’s team. Giordano and Danny Feilding combined for 73 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: The rivalry continues Friday, October 9th when the Helena Bighorns invade the Great Falls Ice Plex for a showdown with the Americans. The Americans will face their first (official) road test on Saturday, October 10th when they travel to Haynes Pavilion to challenge the Bozeman Ice Dogs with action starting both nights at 7:30PM.
Additional Media Coverage: October 4, 2020: Great Falls Tribune: Americans open 2020 NA3HL Season with weekend sweep of Cobras
Additional Media Coverage: October 2, 2020: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Friday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.