By Kevin Scott
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HAVRE, Mont., February 17, 2017 — The Great Falls Americans (34-3-2-3) offense has been unstoppable when they have played against the Havre-based Glacier Nationals (2-40-1-0) this season.
In fact, they haven’t allowed the Nationals to score against them. The Americans have racked up 65 goals in seven meetings. In three of those games, Great Falls has won by double-digits.
Glacier’s two victories came at the hand of the Billings Bulls. The Havre, Montana squad won by identical 6-3 margins in both contests. The Nationals, coached by Rob Powell, lost many of their team leaders throughout the season are now led by Matt Baerg (5 goals, 4 assists), Brandan Huntington (5 goals, 3 assists) and goaltender Brandon Schultz, who was in the goal for both wins this season, has 953 saves.
The Americans have three players that have scored over 50 points this season. Tanner Congdon leads the second-place Americans with 36 goals and 34 assists, followed by Brendan Jester (29 goals, 33 assists), and Danny O’Donnell who leads the team in assists with 41 assists and has 19 goals for coach Jeff Heimel’s team.
Would Great Falls win their eighth straight win over the Nationals and would they keep them off the scoreboard?
The short answer is yes, they would pick up their eighth win but they did allow a goal to be scored by Glacier in the second period.
Danny O’Donnell, Tegan Harrington and Tanner Congdon each scored two goals to lead the Great Falls Americans to a convincing 10-1 win over the Glacier Nationals in the final meeting between these two squads this season at the Havre Ice Dome on Friday night.
Forward Tanner Congdon score the first of his two goals during the first stanza. His goal, near the end of the period, was the only goal scored by either team. Sandis Mezharaups and Jesse Johnson provided the assists. The first period saw no penalties as Great Falls out-shot Glacier, 23-3.
Anaheim, California native Michael Fary scored his eighth goal during the first 61 second of the middle period off the sticks of Kody Thomas and Mitchell Ramstad. Four minutes later, Glacier finally scored a goal against the Americans when forward Tim Vantinen tallied an unassisted goal to cut their deficit to 2-1. Great Falls would register an additional three goals to give the visiting team a 5-1 advantage after two periods of play. Tegan Harrington, Ricards Bernhards and Logan Parsley each lit the lamp for the Americans. Matt Janke received two of his three assists during the three-goal second period scoring strike. Quinn Stuebner and Normunds Vibans also picked up an assist. Each team receive one minor penalty. The Americans scored four times and took 37 shots while holding Glacier to one goal and six shots.
Great Falls’ offense continued to shine in the final period by tacking on five more goals during a 12-minute scoring spree. Danny O’Donnell, who will be one of two players representing the Frontier Division team in two weeks at the Top Prospects Tournament in Michigan, scored two goals including one on a power play. Tegan Harrington and Tanner Congdon gathered their second goal of the night while Payton McSharry capped off the scoring for Great Falls by accumulating his 22nd goal of the season in the final 91 seconds of the NA3HL contest. McSharry will be suiting up for the Selects Black squad at the Top Prospects tournament. Five players recorded assists including Ricards Bernhards, Matt Janke, Logan Parsley, Payton McSharry and Malachi Bushey.
Eight minutes of penalty time on four infractions transpired during the contest between these two NA3HL teams. The Nationals committed three of the four during the second and third periods. Danny O’Donnell’s opening goal in the third period was the only power play to result in a goal for the playoff-bound Americans.
Kyler Ayers only faced nine shots by Glacier’s offense. The Idaho native swatted away eight of those shots. Glacier started goaltender Brendan Schultz and he stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced during the first period before being replaced by Will Langstaff, who picked up the loss. Langstaff produced 61 saves in two periods.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans return to play in front of the home crowd for the first time since February 2nd when they take on the Helena Bighorns on Saturday, February 18th beginning at 7:30PM.