By Kevin Scott
HAVRE, Mont., December 5, 2014 — The 2014-15 Great Falls Americans hockey team (18-2) has lost only twice after 20 games with both losses coming at home.
Their second loss of the season came on November 21st against tonight’s opponent, the Glacier Nationals (3-14-4), who are ranked seventh in the eight-team Frontier Division of the NA3HL.
After winning their first game of the season back in September against the Havre franchise, the top-ranked Great Falls franchise was hoping for better results and pick up their eighteenth win in 20 tries.
The Americans overcame a slow start to defeat the Glacier Nationals 7-5 in Havre, Montana on Friday at the Havre Ice Dome. Great Falls trailed 2-1 after the first intermission before responding with three goals of their own in the final period.
Glacier took a 1-0 lead during the opening two minutes of action. Matt Gamblin converted the game’s first power play by scoring the unassisted goal at the 1:45 mark. Great Falls knotted up the score a few minutes later as Lucas Lomax and Zack Mese passed the puck to Dylan Garton for his seventh goal of the year. Gavin Lubin helped the Nationals reclaim the lead as his successful power play score went unassisted with under seven minutes left in the opening stanza. Despite trailing 2-1 after the first twenty minutes, the Americans maintained a 17-15 advantage in the shots on goal category.
Each team would trade goals after the first intermission. The Americans scored their game-tying second goal within the first 95 seconds of the middle period. Cody Page and Erik Gatson helped set up the power play scoring opportunity that Miles Giorgione connected on. Lucas Lomax gave the Americans their first lead of the night with 11 minutes remaining off a feed from Hunter Garris and Zack Mese, who tallied his second assist of the evening. Glacier’s Karson Frisk answered with his team’s third goal with help from teammate Matt Gamblin to tie the NA3HL contest up at 3-3 towards the end of the period. Great Falls took a 4-3 lead into the second intermission thanks to the Americans power play score by Cody Page. Marvin Simmons tallied the assist for the visiting team.
Great Falls scored twice during the first five minutes of the final period with successful scores by Marvin Simmons and Dylan Garton, who chipped in his second. Wade Wylie and Reed Link assisted on Simmons tally while Zack Mese picked up another assist on Garton’s goal. Luke Dickison of the Nationals was able to find the back of the net as well. Matt Gamblin and Gavin Lubin were each credited with an assist for the home team.
Before the end of regulation, Lucas Lomax would register his second goal as Zack Mese and Michael Kliment each helped with the Americans seventh goal. Gavin Lubin rounded out the scoring for both teams for the Havre-based Nationals.
Dylan Garton, Zack Mese and Lucas Lomax led the Great Falls offense. Garton scored twice while Lomax picked up a goal and assist and Zack Mese received four assists. Meanwhile, Matt Gamblin and Gavin Lubin combined for three goals and four assists for the Nationals.
Both teams each converted both of their two power plays during the first two periods of play.
Veteran Evan Hauser stopped 24 of the 51 shot attempts made by the Glacier offense in the last period. Nolan Slager finished his night with 45 saves.
The Great Falls club edged the Nationals (52-51) on shot attempts on the final game before the NA3HL Showcase begins on Sunday.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will take part in the 2014 NA3HL Showcase, which features all 31 NA3HL teams as they face other league members that aren’t in their division. Great Falls plays three games in three days (Dec. 7-9, 2014) from the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. Great Falls faces the Minnesota Flying Aces on Sunday, December 7th at 1:00PM (MST). For more information on this prestigious tournament, click here.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – 1, Glacier, Matt Gamblin (power play) (unassisted), 1:45. 2, Great Falls, Dylan Garton (Lucas Lomax, Zack Mese), 5:23. 3, Glacier, Gavin Lubin (power play) (unassisted), 13:09.
Second Period –4, Great Falls, Miles Giorgione (power play) (Cody Page, Erik Gatson), 1:35. 5, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (Zack Mese, Hunter Garris), 9:00. 6, Glacier, Karson Frisk (Matt Gamblin), 15:49. 7, Great Falls, Cody Page (power play) (Marvin Simmons), 18:09.
Third Period – 8, Great Falls, Marvin Simmons (Wade Wylie, Reed Link), 1:56. 9, Glacier, Luke Dickison (Matt Gamblin, Gavin Lubin), 2:53. 10, Great Falls, Dylan Garton (Zack Mese), 5:05. 11, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (Zack Mese, Michael Kliment), 13:38. 12, Glacier, Gavin Lubin (Matt Gamblin), 15:30.
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 52, Glacier 51.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 2-for-5, Glacier 2-for-4.
Attendance – 259
Additional Media Coverage: December 6, 2014: Great Falls Tribune: Americans top National in Havre, now 18-2