Americans secure fourth straight victory over Bozeman

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

BOZEMAN, Mont., December 30, 2017 — The Great Falls Americans (19-7-2) get back to their Frontier Divisional contests after coming off their three-day NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Minnesota last week, where they finished 2-1.

Great Falls posted wins over the Mid Cities (TX) Jr. Stars and the Oswego (NY) Stampede but fell to the La Crosse Freeze (Wisconsin), 2-1. The tournament games counted in the overall standings for each club.

Great Falls had a four-game winning streak before the prestigious tournament with wins over Bozeman, Helena and two games against Missoula.

The Americans, under the direction of head coach Jeff Heimel, are 3-0 against the Ice Dogs of Bozeman, Montana so far this season entering tonight’s game on the road. They haven’t allowed the Ice Dogs to score more than two goals against them.

Jens Juliussen scored twice and added one assist and teammate Payton McSharry accumulated one goal and dished out two assists as the Great Falls Americans cruised to their 19th victory with an 8-2 win against the Bozeman Ice Dogs at Haynes Pavilion on Saturday evening.

Both squads skated to a penalty-free period, but Great Falls managed to score twice. Michael Houlihan and Adam Vandenbos each put the puck in the net during the opening period. Tanner Rath and Nate Simpson set up the Houlihan score while Vandenbos’ score went unassisted. The Americans showed why they are one of the better teams in the league with a convincing 23-3 advantage in the shots-on-goal category.

Trent Cowden’s short-handed goal was his fourth of the season with Great Falls taking a 3-0 lead at the midway point of the middle period. Bozeman opened their offensive attack and cut into the Americans three-goal lead with two of their own. Jacob Boje took advantage of the American being penalized and sailed the puck through Great Falls goalie Mack Willy as Beckett Patten collected one of his two assists on the night. Cade Hanley also assisted for coach Mark Vichorek’s team. A few minutes later, Gage Blatter tallied his third goal with Beckett Patten and Duncan McGarrah getting their ninth and sixth assist, respectively. Bozeman’s offense looked better after coming out of the first intermission. Each team attempted 14 shots apiece.

The third and final period belonged to the Americans. The visiting team reeled off five straight goals including the first 54 seconds into the stanza. Payton McSharry secured his 16th goal as he caught the Bozeman netminder off guard. Jens Juliussen put Great Falls up 5-2 34 seconds later. Payton McSharry and Weston Goodman producing the assists. Michael Fary and Garrett Peters each racked up goals after the first half of the period concluded. Tanner Rath, Logan Rachow and Brandon Peterson assisted. Great Falls native Braxton Lorenz and standout Payton McSharry aided Jens Juliussen’s 11th scoring drive of the season near the end of the contest.

The Americans had over 14 shots attempts in each of the three regulation periods to close out the contest with 54. Bozeman had 14 of their 22 shots in the middle period.

There wasn’t too may stoppages of play with Great Falls committing four of the five total infractions after the first period.

Twenty saves by Americans goaltender Mack Willy gave him a season total of 357. The Washington native improved his record to 9-3-0-1. In a losing effort, Parker Orchard allowed eight shots and completed his evening with 46 saves.

NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls, winners of nineteen games, embark of a three-game homestand with a pair of games next weekend (Jan. 5-6th) with the Gillette Wild coming to town and the Missoula Jr. Bruins coming in for a single contest on January 12th. Games begin from the Great Falls Ice Plex at 7:30PM each night.