By Kevin Scott
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GILLETTE, Wyo., October 22, 2016 — The Gillette Wild (6-2-0-0) escaped on Friday night with a 4-3 victory over the visiting Great Falls Americans (7-3-1-1) despite a failed comeback attempt by the Great Falls club.
Riley Holwegner scored half of the points during the second and third periods for the winning Gillette squad. Tanner Congdon provided a hat trick for Great Falls with his successful scoring drives in the first and third periods.
The Americans, led in scoring by forwards Brendan Jester and Sandis Mezharaups with nine goals apiece, tried to bounce back tonight after starting the season with four straight victories.
The Great Falls Americans rebounded from their setback the previous night and defeated the Gillette Wild 3-2 as three different Americans players secured goals on Saturday night. The 561 spectators at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena saw the Americans win for the first time since October 14h when they defeated the Missoula Jr. Bruins by the same score.
Both squad traded goals during the first two periods. Matt Janke’s first period score nine minutes into the period gave the Americans the early lead. Tanner Congdon recorded his fifth assist of the year for coach Jeff Heimel’s squad.
The contest looked like it was going to be a scoreless middle period but Gillette’s Derrick Scoggins tally with three seconds left before the second intermission tied it at 1-1. Great Falls held a 22-17 shots-on-goal advantage after 40 minutes of play.
During the final frame, Great Falls’ Isaac Vincent recorded his first goal as an American during the first 1:46 and Great Falls native Braxton Lorenz received credit for the assist. A few minutes later, Tanner Congdon scored his fourth goal in two games off a pass from Brendan Jester to put the second-place team in the Frontier Division up 3-1. Gillette answered on a power play score with 9:34 remaining. Tyler Tennant found Derrick Scoggins for the score over Americans goaltender Michael Hughes. Both offenses could not find a way to get into the scoring column during the final minutes.
Great Falls and Gillette spent a total of 38 minutes in the penalty box. The visiting team received 11 infractions while the host team committed eight penalties.
Michael Hughes received his third win of the season for Great Falls. The St. Paul Minnesota native stopped 24 of the 26 shots. Robbie Brennan, the Wild net-minder, finished with 28 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: After a weekend on the road in Wyoming, the Great Falls Americans return to the Great Falls Ice Plex for a showdown against the Helena Bighorns at 7:30PM on Friday, October 28th in their lone contest of the week.