By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 7, 2015 — On Friday night, the Great Falls Americans (30-8-2) put a stop to their five game losing streak by blanking the Glacier Nationals 7-0. The Billings Bulls (21-14-5), on the other hand, fell to the Gillette Wild in a 5-4 shootout in Billings that same night.
The Bulls came to the Great Falls Ice Plex with a 3-3 record against the Frontier Division leading Great Falls squad after six meetings. Billings defeated the Americans 4-3 in a shootout back in Billings on January 30th.
The Great Falls Americans picked up their fourth season win against the Billings Bulls with a 5-0 shutout victory on Saturday night in front of 821 loud fans at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Great Falls registered their second consecutive shutout including a 7-0 win over Glacier the previous night. Great Falls plays well in front of the home crowd as they have won 16 of 20 inside the Ice Plex this season.
Lucas Lomax got his second power play goal in as many nights as he opened up the first period scoring drive for the Americans off a pass from Robert Kalata and Cody Page. The Americans first points of the night came at the 12:29 mark. The first stanza saw a combined 10 minor penalties. Great Falls had 17 of the 21 shots on goal before the first intermission.
Lomax put the Americans on top with his second goal with under 11 minutes remaining in the middle period. Zack Mese, a Kenai, Alaska native, increased the lead for the home team to 3-0 a minute and a half later. Wade Wylie and Joshua Larson chipped in the assists for Mese’s eighth goal of the season. After 40 minutes of play, Americans goaltender Lauren Massie recorded 13 saves while Ray Smith of Billings tallied 25.
Arizona native Malachi Bushey grabbed his fifth goal of the 2014-15 season in the third period with 7:50 left in the contest. Brendan Jester and Austin Krantz provided the assists for the Great Falls franchise. Wade Wylie scored the final goal for the Americans on their second successful power play opportunity. The assists went to Blake Miller and Dylan Garton, who finished with two.
Great Falls converted two of their ten power plays while the Bulls were unsuccessful in their attempts (0-4).
There were 19 penalties (including 10 in the opening period) combined for 46 total minutes of penalty time.
Goaltender Lauren Massie was a perfect 19-for-19 for the Americans. The Wasilla, Alaska native now has 574 saves in 23 appearances. Ray Smith of Billings stopped 37 of the 42 shot attempts he faced against a tough Great Falls offense.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will challenge the Helena Bighorns in a 4:00PM showdown at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Sunday, February 8th.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – 1, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (power play) (Robert Kalata, Cody Page), 7:31.
Second Period – 2, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (short-handed) (Connor Barta, Dylan Garton), 9:06. 3, Great Falls, Zack Mese (Wade Wylie, Joshua Larson), 10:43.
Third Period – 4, Great Falls, Malachi Bushey (Brendan Jester, Austin Krantz), 12:10. 5, Great Falls, Wade Wylie (power play) (Blake Miller, Dylan Garton), 16:08.
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 42, Billings 19.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 2-for-8, Billings 0-for-4.
Attendance – 821
Additional Media Coverage: February 8, 2015: Great Falls Tribune: Junior A Hockey: Great Falls Americans win