By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 15, 2019 — The #1 Great Falls Americans (35-7-0-1) and the Wyoming-based Yellowstone Quake (Cody, WY, 3-35-2-0) haven’t faced each other since September when they played a home-and-away series on back-to-back weekends. Since then both squads have changed up their roster with many new faces for the #7 Yellowstone Quake since the September meetings.
Unlike years past when Great Falls and Yellowstone were on top of the Frontier Division, the 2018-19 season is different. Great Falls remains a top team in the NA3HL while Yellowstone is struggling for wins this season.
The Americans controlled the puck in all four previous matchups and outscored the Quake, 26-4. Great Falls never relented more than two goals per game during the back-to back weekends (Sept. 14-15 and Sept. 21-22).
Payton McSharry scored two goals while Trent Cowden, Hendrik Robel and Brandon Peterson chipped in one goal apiece as the Great Falls Americans routed the Yellowstone Quake, 5-0 on Friday night at the Great Falls Ice Plex. The 865 spectators enjoyed the FREE Big Mac coupons courtesy of McDonald’s for the Americans “We Win, You Win Night” promotional night.
The Great Falls Americans opened the first period by attacking the net and attempting 27 shots but could not find a way to put the biscuit in the basket. The Americans held the Quake to five shots in the first twenty minutes of action. Each squad had two unsuccessful power play chances.
The Americans offense took charge (44 seconds to be exact) in the middle period with Great Falls breaking the scoreless tie. George Nuutinen and Brandon Peterson earned the assists on the score by Hendrik Robel, his second goal of the season. Defenseman Brandon Peterson and forward Payton McSharry tacked on the goals to end the period with a three-goal advantage for the home team. Nick Ramstad picked up his eighth assist and Trent Cowden accumulated his 13th goal on the Peterson tally while Nate Simpson garnered his 21st and helped Payton McSharry record his 42nd goal of the season. Cody Dearing also assisted on McSharry’s first scoring drive. Great Falls outshot Yellowstone 30-3 in the period and held a commanding 57 to 8 advantage after forty minutes on the ice.
Great Falls acquired their fourth goal of the contest in the third stanza when Cody Dearing and Trent Cowden set up Payton McSharry for his second score of the evening. Before the game concluded, the Americans secured their fifth goal as Payton McSharry and Cody Dearing found Trent Cowden who scored over Yellowstone netminder Michael Allman.
Coach Greg Sears’ Americans team created 79 shots while holding the visiting Quake to 18.
Payton McSharry and Trent Cowden’s third period goals came while the Quake were in penalty box. Great Falls finished by going 2-for-6 on the power play. Yellowstone couldn’t convert their seven power play opportunities. Each team was responsible for ten penalties each.
Great Falls goaltender Drew Scites, who earned NA3HL Player of the Week Honorable Mention honors in the Frontier Division for his play against the Bozeman Ice Dogs last Friday when he stopped all 20 shots in their 5-0 victory, got the start for the Americans tonight. The Plymouth, Minnesota netminder prevented all 18 shot attempts by the Wyoming team from getting by him. The loss on the night went to Yellowstone’s Michael Allman. The Norwegian had 74 saves for coach Phil Oberlin’s squad.
Great Falls’ 35th win combined with the second place Helena Bighorns 4-3 setback to the third place Bozeman Ice Dogs on Friday evening in Helena increased the points separating the two rivals (71-66) with three weeks left in the 2018-19 NA3HL regular season.
NEXT CONTEST: Before the 2019 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament begins on Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 18-19), both teams will face each other one more time this season on Saturday, February 16th. The game is slated to start at 7:30PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
Addtional Media Coverage: February 16, 2019: Great Falls Tribune: Americans blank Quake; increase lead over Helena to five points