By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
SHERIDAN, Wyo., December 9, 2022 — The third-ranked Sheridan (WY) Hawks (15-9-1-0) and the fifth-ranked Great Falls Americans (10-13-1-0) are playing their fifth and sixth head-to-head matchup this season in Wyoming.
Great Falls has struggled offensively against Sheridan finding themselves winless in four previous games. The Hawks have outscored the Americans, 17-9 in their four victories (click here to view all the game summaries).
Great Falls forwards Jace Thompson and Tyler Sunagel lead Greg Sears’ Americans squad with eight goals each. Defensemen William Fallman has accrued 22 points and Leaf leads the team with 18 assists. Josh Koziol (7-10-0-0) is the top goaltender who has played the most games in the net (17 games) and has 723 saves.
Meanwhile, Ryan McKenna (21 goals/30 assists) and Makhai Sparks (20 goals/21 assists) lead the Wyoming club led by head coach Chad Bailey. Third year netminder Patric Loeffler has five wins in nine appearances (5-3-0-0) and has made 325 saves.
This weekend will be the final regular season games between these two Frontier Division opponents.
Wyatt Noble scored the game-winning overtime goal and dished out two assists to lead the third-ranked Sheridan (WY) Hawks to a 5-4 win over the fifth-ranked Great Falls Americans as 525 spectators watched the exciting finish inside the Whitney Rink in the M&M’s Center on Friday evening in Sheridan, Wyoming. Americans forward Tyler Sunagel chipped in two goals for the Montana NA3HL team.
Sheridan’s offense lit up the lamp for three (unanswered) goals during the first twenty minutes. Despite outshooting the Hawks 15-11, Great Falls could not find a way to get on the scoreboard. A trio of Sheridan Hawks all accounted for the goals including Danny Shelden, Jackson LeBrasseur, and Dalton Thomas. The home team scored twice in an eleven second span as Parker Norling and McCaffrey Billings assisted on Shelden’s seventh goal with 12:55 remaining and LeBrasseur followed up with a quick strike that went off the back of the net and off Americans starting goalie Nik Romahs. Caleb Murray and Wyatt Noble assisted on the second scoring drive. Dalton Thomas concluded the scoring with his fifth goal with helpers coming from Wyatt Noble and Ryan McKenna. Shelden and Thomas’ scores were made while the Americans were in the penalty box.
Great Falls’ offense outscored Sheridan, 2-0 during the second frame. Jace Thompson scored his eighth of the season while Wes Weisenburger managed to get his second score to pull the Americans to within a goal (3-2). William Fallman and Ben Cremers assisted on Thompson’s power play score with 12:29 remaining. Wes Weisenburger found the back of the net midway through the period with assists coming from Mason Loughlin and Garrett Weisenburger. Loughlin, who hails from Hudson, Wisconsin, made his first assist after joining the Americans before last week’s contests against the Badlands (SD) Sabres.
Great Falls needed three minutes of the third stanza to even the score (3-3). Tyler Sunagel acquired his seventh goal off the sticks of Ben Cremers and Jace Thompson for the equalizer. Both squads traded goals over a nine-minute stretch that saw Sheridan’s Josh Humphreys’ and Great Falls’ Tyler Sunagel each register a goal for their respective teams. McCaffrey Billings and Ryan McKenna gathered their second assists of the night for the Hawks with twelve minutes on the clock. Sam Duehlmeier’s pass to Sunagel gave him his fifth assist as Sunagel put the biscuit in the basket for the Americans second tie of the night. Wes Weisenburger picked up the secondary assist. Both teams skated out the final seven minutes without scoring so the Americans were playing their third game of the season that needed to be decided in an extra period. The Americans and Hawks created twenty shots apiece.
In overtime, Makhai Sparks and McCaffrey Billings set up Wyatt Noble, who put the puck between the pipes for the game-winning tally 38 seconds into the five-minute extra frame. Both squads are now 1-1 in overtime contests this season. The Americans also have two shootout victories.
A total of 97 shots-on-goal were taken between the Americans and Hawks tonight. Sheridan’s overtime goal gave them 49 to finish out the game.
Two minor infractions were each called on Sheridan and Great Falls before the second intermission. The third period and overtime were penalty-free. Sheridan capitalized on both of their power play chances while Great Falls went 1-for-2.
Bo Buckley is now 4-0-0-0 against Great Falls after arriving in Sheridan, Wyoming on November 11th. Buckley stopped 44 of the 48 shots by Great Falls’ offense. Nik Romahs, a first year netminder from Streatham, Latvia, fell to 2-1-1-0 in four appearances with the Americans. Romahs also accrued 44 saves in the loss.
NOTE: Jackson Henningsgard, who played in 66 games over two seasons with the Americans (2020-2022), recently scored his first goal as a member of the University of Oregon Ducks men’s hockey team in a 6-4 loss to the University of Utah Utes on December 2nd. He also saw action (but did not score) in a 3-2 win against Utah on December 3rd. The Amery, Wisconsin native also had one collegiate assist in his freshman season in a 6-2 setback against Arizona State on October 8th. Click here for his college statistics with the University of Oregon.
FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: The #7 Yellowstone (WY) Quake (8-13-3-1) gave the #1 Gillette (WY) Wild (21-2-0-2) all they could handle in a battle of two Wyoming junior hockey teams before the Wild came away with a 4-3 win. The Quake led 3-2 after two periods before Gillette scored a goal in third frame to send it to overtime. Gillette’s Sky Solig scored the game-winning tally for his second goal of the night. Cole Wheaton stopped 30 shots for one of the top teams in the NA3HL. The Calgary, Alberta goaltender is now 9-1-0-0 on the season. Nick Cofer, Zac Orwig and Donovan Knuckles scored for the visiting Quake. Edvin Falkenstrom had 47 saves for Yellowstone (box score).
The #2 Helena Bighorns (18-5-1-1) overcame a 2-1 third period deficit to hang on for a 4-3 win against one of their Montana rivals, the #4 Butte Cobras (12-11-1-0) on Saturday at the Butte Community Ice Center. The Cobras scored their third goal with 52 seconds remaining, but their comeback bid came up short. Helena, who outshot Butte, 60-43, had goals from Andrew Deskin, Derek Rassell, Harlan Wojtusik, and Zach Turner. Tamer Billman, Cade Wessman, and Caelin Chinery collected the goals for the Cobras. Helena’s Marek Andres finished with 40 saves while Butte’s Braylon Rogers had 56. Just three combined penalties were whistled in this contest (box score).
In the battle of the two bottom teams in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division, the #7 Badlands (SD) Sabres (7-14-2-2) scored the lone goal of the third frame to pull away from the #8 Bozeman Ice Dogs (7-17-0-1), 4-3 in Bozeman, Montana. Logan Powers unassisted goal 6:43 into the third period proved to be the game-winner for the Sabres. Badlands led 3-1 midway through the third before Bozeman reeled off two goals to tie the contest at 3-3. Hunter Oger was the winning goaltender with 35 saves for South Dakota. Axel Rosenlund, who created 32 saves, lost his second game as a member of the Ice Dogs (1-2-0-0) after playing two games for the NA3HL’s Minnesota Loons (box score).
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will face Sheridan for the final time this season on Saturday, December 10th at 7:30PM (MST) live from Whitney Rink in the M&M’s Center on HockeyTV.
Great Falls and Sheridan and the rest of the 32 other NA3HL squads will be in Blaine, Minnesota for the 2022 NA3HL Showcase taking place on December 18-20 (Sunday – Tuesday). The Americans will challenge the Wausau (WI) Cyclones (Central Division) at 5:45PM (MST) on December 18th, followed by a meeting with the West Division’s New Ulm (MN) Steel at 2:15PM (MST) on December 19th and they will play the South Division’s El Paso (TX) Rhinos at 11:00AM (MST) on December 20th to finish out the tournament that features many college and pro scouts in attendance.
The Hawks open with the Mason City (IA) Toros (6:15PM MST, December 18), followed by a meeting with the Long Beach (NY) Sharks (11:45AM MST, December 19) and rounding out the tournament with a date with the New Mexico Ice Wolves (11:00AM MST December 20).
Additional Media Coverage: December 7, 2022: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Wednesday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.