Americans down the top-ranked Quake in a shootout
By Kevin Scott
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CODY, Wyo., January 13, 2017 — The time has arrived as the two best teams in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division squared off on Friday night.
The top-ranked Yellowstone Quake (27-3-0-2) and the second-ranked Great Falls Americans (24-3-2-3) battled it out for the third time this season. Yellowstone took the previous two games. On September 30th and October 1st in Great Falls, Yellowstone prevailed in a 4-3 win in overtime followed by a 5-2 win.
A trio of players lead the Great Falls Americans offense including Tanner Congdon (29 goals, 24 assists, (53 pts.), Danny O’Donnell (17 goals, 33 assists, 50 pts.) and Brendan Jester (21 goals, 26 assists, 47 pts.). Nick Nast from California, continues to pile up the saves as one of the two goaltenders on the roster. He has produces 527 saves and a 13-2-0-1 record.
Leading the way for coach Ryan Theros’ Quake team is Reed Kelly with 28 goals and 40 assists followed by Jesse Lawman (22 goals, 25 assists) and Max Doner (19 goals, 28 assists). Goaltender Nick Ottenbacher (19-2-0-2) has accumulated 670 saves and allowed 46 goals and four shutout victories.
Would Great Falls taste their first victory over the top-ranked Yellowstone squad?
The #2 Great Falls Americans bested the top-ranked team in the Frontier Division, the Yellowstone Quake 3-2 on Friday night in Cody, Wyoming in a shootout. Great Falls’ Tegan Harrington and Payton McSharry each tallied goals in the shootout. It was the Americans first win in three chances against the Wyoming-based NA3HL team.
Great Falls and Yellowstone skated hard during the opening period but neither team came away with any points. The Quake took 13 of the 19 total shots-on-goal during the first twenty-minute stanza.
The host team took control with a successful scoring drive six minutes into the second period. Reed Kelly recorded his team-high 40th assist and Jesse Lawman assisted for the 25th time this season as they found Tony Dahlberg open for the score during a power play. Brendan Jester got the puck by Yellowstone goalie Nick Ottenbacher five minutes later to tie the contest at 1-1. Tanner Congdon and Danny O’Donnell contributed one assist each while Yellowstone was down a man.
Great Falls, under the direction of head coach Jeff Heimel, took their first lead of the night two minutes into the third frame. The 2-1 advantage was made possible by Tegan Harrington’s goal with help from Brendan Jester and Tanner Congdon. At the midway point of the period, Reed Kelly converted his 28th goal for the Quake and tied it up at 2-2. Max Doner provided the assist. Kelly’s score sent the game into an extra five-minute period where both squads failed to score.
A shootout was necessary to declare a winner by the two best teams in the Frontier Division. Tegan Harrington struck first for the Americans. After Max Doner tied it for the Quake, Payton McSharry lit up the lamp for the game-winner to give Great Falls their 24th victory in 32 games.
The Americans and Quake each took over 30 shots during the 65-minute contest.
The visiting team from Montana incurred just four penalties for eight minutes during the second and third periods. The five penalties for Yellowstone accounted for 31 minutes in the penalty box.
Nick Nast, who earned the win for Great Falls, rejected 33 shots. Nick Ottenbacher also finished with 33 saves for the Wyoming junior hockey team.
NEXT CONTEST: The action for the Americans continues in Cody, Wyoming on Saturday, January 14th when they face the Yellowstone Quake for the fourth time this season. The puck drops at 7:30PM from Wyoming’s Riley Arena.