By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 26, 2016 — Two weeks ago in Billings, the Great Falls Americans (32-10-2) offense racked up six goal in a 6-1 romp over the Bulls (9-30-4).
During the 2015-16 regular season, second place Great Falls went 5-0 against sixth ranked Billings (not including tonight’s game).
The Great Falls Americans scored three goals in the final two periods to earn a 7-1 blowout victory over the visiting Billings Bulls during Friday night’s NA3HL hockey game in Great Falls. The Americans saw lots of supportive fans in attendance for McDonald’s “We Win, You Win” night at the Ice Plex. Fans were given free Big Mac coupons courtesy of the Americans win tonight.
Arseny Ivanov, a native of Moscow, Russia, put the home team ahead 1-0 for his fifth goal of the season after the first period of action. Alaska natives Tegan Harrington and Kyle Johnson assisted on the only scoring drive for either team. Great Falls piled up 20 shots while holding Billings to just seven.
The Bulls tied up the contest (1-1) as Zach Heiser and Cameron Birklid found an open Connor Melton during the first 3:45 of the second stanza. The rest of the period belonged to the Americans. Arseny Ivanov, Tyler Garcia and Austin Krantz all found the back of the net in the final nine minutes. Kyle Johnson picked up his second assist of the night and Brendan Jester, Tegan Harrington, Jesse Johnson and Great Falls native Connor Barta each had one. Great Falls took 22 shots in the period to bring their total to 42 for the game.
The Great Falls offense kept making Billings goalie Brandon Brown work between the pipes in the final stanza. Great Falls quickly took a 7-1 lead by adding three goals in the first six minutes. A power play score by Tyler Garcia started the scoring drive for Great Falls in the opening 84 seconds of the third. Tanner Congdon and Americans goaltender Lauren Massie earned the assists. Blake Miller’s unassisted goal and a score off a power play by Tanner Congdon gave the Americans a six-point advantage. Forwards Austin Krantz and Josh Larson set up Congdon’s final points of the game.
There were only six total penalties between these two hockey teams. Great Falls had just two penalties for four minutes of penalty time while Billings collected four penalties for eight minutes.
Great Falls converted half of their power play opportunities (2-for-4) with Tyler Garcia and Tanner Congdon’s third period scores. No points came off the two power play chances by Billings.
The home team was led by Tanner Congdon and Austin Krantz, who each recorded one goal and one assist while Kyle Johnson dished out two assists. Connor Melton score the lone goal for Billings.
Great Falls goaltender Lauren Massie stopped 20 of the 21 shot attempts by the Bulls. Despite allowing seven goals, Brandon Brown accumulated 54 saves for Billings.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans take on the Billings Bulls one last time this season on Saturday, March 5th at 7:30PM at the Centennial Ice Arena in Billings, Montana.