By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 14, 2015 — The top-ranked Great Falls Americans (13-4) offense dominated throughout the contest and earned a 5-0 shutout victory over the sixth place Billings Bulls (3-11) on Saturday night at the Great Falls Ice Plex with 746 spectators cheering on both teams.
The Americans are 3-0 this season against Billings as they have outscored their opponents 16-3 including the last game in Billings on October 16th where they easily defeated the Bulls 7-2. After beginning the season with five straight wins, the Americans find themselves clinging to first place with the Yellowstone Quake hot on their trail. Billings has lost five straight including a 4-2 setback to Gillette last night in the Magic City.
The Americans offense was firing on all cylinders during the first period. Great Falls scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the stanza while holding Billings to zero goals. Reed Link, Josh Larson and Tegan Harrington all scored for the defending Frontier Division champions. Six players from the home team picked up assists including Matt Larson, Jacob Draves, Austin Krantz, Miles Giorgione, Tanner Congdon and Wade Wylie. Wylie, who played for Great Falls last season, came over from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) Drumheller (AB) Dragons this week. The Great Falls offense took seventeen shots while Billings ended the period with six.
The home team chipped in two more goals as the Billings offense struggled during the middle period. Latvia native Ricards Bernhards scored the Americans fourth point early with help from Alaska natives Brendan Jester and Adam Apangalook, who provided the assists. Jester then tallied another Americans goal off a successful power play opportunity before the second intermission. Tanner Congdon and Adam Apangalook each registered their second assist of the night. Great Falls held a 35-8 advantage in the shots-on-goal category.
Both defenses prevented any scoring opportunities during the third and final period.
Brendan Jester’s score in the second period was the only successful power play out of four attempts for Great Falls. The Americans never allowed any goals on the four power play chances by the Bulls.
Both teams incurred just four minor penalties apiece for eight minutes.
Lauren Massie stopped all fifteen shots he faced and was never tested behind the net. Great Falls out-shot Billings 45-15 with 35 shots coming in the first two periods. On the season, Massie is 6-3 and has allowed only 16 goals in his nine appearances. The offensive attack by the home team kept Billings goaltender Gage Overby busy as he finished with 40 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will head over to Bozeman, Montana on Friday, November 20th to face the Ice Dogs. The game time is 7:30PM from Haynes Pavilion.