Americans drop second straight game in uneven 5-1 loss to Gillette

NOTE: A Special Thanks to Dustin Bauer for providing the photos.

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 22, 2022 — The #4 Great Falls Americans (6-6-0-0) had a tall task ahead of them if they wanted to derail the #2 Gillette (WY) Wild (10-1-0-1) in front of the home crowd on Saturday evening.

In Friday’s first encounter, Dawson Bunch gave the Americans their first and only lead three minutes into the contest before Gillette’s offense started rolling. The Americans and Wild were tied at 2-2 after the first twenty minutes. After the first intermission, the Wild scored four of the five tallies and three of the four in the third frame to down the Americans, 9-4. Sky Solig of the Wild led both teams with four points (2 goal, 2 assists). Dawson Bunch contributed 1 goal and 1 assist for the Americans (game story).

Great Falls entered the weekend in third place behind Gillette and the top-ranked Helena Bighorns (12-1-0-1) but with the Butte Cobras (6-5-1-0) 4-3 Friday win on the road against the Badlands Sabres in South Dakota, they jumped ahead of the Americans in the NA3HL Frontier Division standings.

Sky Solig broke the 1-1 tie in the second period and the second-ranked Gillette (WY) Wild were successful in three scoring drives in the third period to earn a 5-1 win over the Great Falls Americans in Great Falls, Montana during Saturday’s action at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Matt Ramstad made the single score for the Americans.

Great Falls and Gillette were scoreless for the first nineteen minutes before each team traded goals. Wisconsin native Connor Wendell gave the Wild the lead with his fifth goal coming with 56 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Zack Slinger and Alec Waller received the assists. Matt Ramstad responded with his first goal with the Americans off a pass from Silas Hughes and Baden Powell with eight seconds left. Gillette had 20 of the 27 shots-on-goal before the first intermission.

Gillette forward Sky Solig scored the lone goal of the second period with 3:54 left on the clock. Saizha Norwegian added his thirteenth assist and Todd Powassin chipped in his seventh to give the Wild a 2-1 lead. Great Falls and Gillette combined for 27 more shots.

The Wild outscored the Americans 3-0 in a span of 2:33 during the third period. Jace Johnson scored two tallies and Johan Palmqvist tacked on one (goal). Adam Severson and Johan Palmqvist assisted on the first of Jace Johnson’s scoring drives while Leighton Weasler and Zack Slinger set up Palmqvist’s score.

Jace Johnson was one goal shy of a hat trick (two goals) and Johan Palmqvist scored once and provided one assist to pace the Wyoming club. Matt Ramstad, one of three Minnesota players on the Americans squad, put the biscuit in the basket for his first score as a member of the Americans during the first period.

Both NA3HL Frontier Division teams each were called for six minor infractions and combined 0-for-10 on power play opportunities.

First year goaltender Dominic Hite won his third game for Gillette as he allowed one first period goal and finished with 27 saves. Meanwhile, Josh Koziol lost for the second time in as many nights and now has a 4-5-0-0 record in nine contests. The Elk River, Minnesota native collected 44 saves.

NOTES: The Great Falls Community Ice Foundation (GFCIF) invites you to enjoy some delicious pizza from MOD Pizza (1125 10th Avenue South) on Halloween (October 31, 2022) from 10:30AM until 10:00PM with 20% of all the proceeds going towards the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Facebook Event Information: Halloween pizza fundraiser | Facebook

If dining in at the store, please used promotional code, MODF14051 when completing your order with the cashier. Fans can order online through the MOD App or MOD website and use the promotional code MODF14051 before completing their transaction.

FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: The #7 Yellowstone (WY) Quake (3-8-0-1) pulled off an upset against the top-ranked Helena Bighorns (12-1-0-1) at Riley Arena on Saturday evening. For the second straight night, Yellowstone and Helena needed to settle their score with a shootout. On Friday, Helena came away with a 4-3 win but Saturday, the Quake needed one score by Benjamin Kluza in a shootout to pick up their third win in 12 games. Yellowstone’s Ben Carlson scored in the first and Helena’s Harlan Wojtusik scored the game-tying goal with 95 seconds left in regulation to play an extra five-minute overtime period that went unanswered. Edvin Falkenstrom, the game-winning goalie for the Quake finished with 45 saves (box score).

Despite losing to the #6 Badlands (SD) Sabres (3-8-1-0) one night earlier, the #3 Butte Cobras maintained their third-place ranking in the Frontier Division. On Friday, the Cobras defeated the Sabres on the road, 4-3. Zack Vockler (two goals) and Brady Ridnour put Badlands ahead 3-1 after two periods on Saturday and held on for the 4-2 win despite Butte’s failed comeback bid. Brady Devries played all sixty minutes in the net for the Sabres and swatted away 32 of the 34 shots sent his way by Butte’s offense. Cade Wessman and Caelin Chinery registered the goals for the visiting Cobras (box score).

The Sheridan (WY) Hawks, fifth in the Frontier Division, ended their weekend series with the eighth-ranked Bozeman Ice Dogs (3-9-0-0), with a 2-0 record. The fans at Haynes Pavilion saw a combined eleven goals scored but the Ice Dogs added just four in 7-4 loss. Makhai Sparks, who played in four postseason contests for Butte last season, scored two goals and had two assists against his former team while teammate Teejay Torgrimson chipped in a pair of goals for Sheridan. Bodie Shepardson made half of his team’s goals and Owen House and Spencer Wilkinson each added one goal apiece for Bozeman. Thomas Mellenthin won his second game in five appearances for the Hawks by redirecting 30 shots (box score).

NEXT CONTEST: The #7 Badlands Sabres (2-8-1-0), based out of Rapid City, South Dakota, will be in Great Falls to challenge the #4 Great Falls Americans on Friday and Saturday (October 28-29) with the live action starting at 7:30PM (MST). Both contests can be seen on HockeyTV.