By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 21, 2015 — The Great Falls Americans (14-5) offense came alive in an 8-2 romp over the last place Glacier Nationals (2-14-2) on Saturday night in Great Falls. Great Falls saw 948 spectators watch the Americans win for the fourteenth time this season.
Entering this game, Great Falls had won both of their NA3HL contests against Glacier earlier this season. The Americans, who currently own the best record in the Frontier Division, dominated the last-place Nationals in the season opener back in September 12-1 in Great Falls and also defeated the Havre-based hockey team 5-1 last month.
The Americans waited until near the end of the first period and then rattled off three straight goals in the final three minutes of the first stanza. Tegan Harrington added a pair of goals in a 44 second span to give the Americans a 2-0 advantage with 2:26 on the clock. Brendan Jester, Mitchell Ramstad, Austin Krantz and Wade Wylie picked up the assists. Ramstad finished up the period with a goal of his own with 11 seconds remaining off the stick of Tanner Congdon and Great Falls native Connor Barta. The home team dominated the shots-on-goal by a 23-3 margin.
Mitchell Ramstad netted his second goal of the game and fifth overall this season during the first 2:35 of the second period. Anchorage, Alaska native Tanner Congdon and Missouri native Reed Link chipped in the assists. Kevin Kittleson of Glacier gave his team their first points with help from forward Collin Schieman to cut the deficit to 4-1. Kittleson found the back of the net again moments later as Schieman and Havre, Montana native Brandon Huntington each assisted on the Nationals scoring drive. Great Falls accumulated another goal before the period ended to make the score 5-2. Adam Apangalook got the puck by Glacier goalie Raymond Smith that was setup by Josh Larson and Connor Barta. The Americans took 44 shots and held the Glacier offense to 11 after two periods.
Brendan Jester provided the sixth point for the Americans 38 seconds into the final period. Miles Giorgione and Reed Link assisted on the first scoring opportunity of the third period. The Americans took advantage of a power play to score later in the contest. Brendan Jester and Wade Wylie each assisted for the second time tonight on the Tanner Congdon tally. After getting an assist earlier in the period, Miles Giorgione buried the puck into the net on an unassisted scoring opportunity for Great Falls’ eighth and final point of the night.
Tegan Harrington and Mitchell Ramstad registered half the points for Great Falls with two goals apiece. Four players ended their night with two assists including Tanner Congdon, Connor Barta, Reed Link and Brendan Jester. Meanwhile, Kevin Kittleson scored both of the Glacier goals in the second period and Collin Schieman assisted on those goals.
The host team never gave up a goal in three chances on the penalty kill.
Great Falls incurred 11 minutes of penalty time including three minors one major. Glacier finished with six minors for 12 minutes of penalty time.
Kevin Hale, in just his third start of the season, allowed just two goals in the middle period and finished with 19 saves. Meanwhile, Glacier’s Raymond Smith faced 63 shots by the Americans offense and stopped 55 shots.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will play the first of their three games next week beginning on Wednesday, November 25th against the Billings Bulls from Centennial Ice Arena in Billings, Montana starting at 7:30PM. Great Falls will also have two more road games after Thanksgiving including a Friday night game in Havre against the Glacier Nationals (8PM) and Saturday against the Bozeman Ice Dogs at 7:30PM.