Americans WIN in wild shootout over the Sabres; hold onto third place in Frontier

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 29, 2022 —The #3 Great Falls Americans (8-6-0-0) win over the visiting #7 Badlands (SD) Sabres (3-9-1-1) on Friday put them (temporarily) in third place in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division after eight weeks of junior hockey action.

The #5 Butte Cobras (6-7-1-0) and Americans have been battling it out over the last two months with both squads trading places in the standings. The #1 Gillette (WY) Wild (12-1-0-1) and the #2 Helena Bighorns (12-3-0-1) hold a much higher record in the Frontier Division.

Great Falls needed four goals in the second period to pull away from the Sabres at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Friday. The 5-1 win was the first time these two clubs met this season. Great Falls broke their two-game losing streak. William Fallman, Russ Rasmussen, Dawson Bunch and Simon Lazsloffy registered the scores for the home team. Josh Koziol received his fifth victory by providing 41 saves. Kael Campbell score the one goal for the Sabres in the middle period (game story).

Meanwhile, the Butte Cobras fell 7-3 to the then second-ranked Gillette (WY) Wild at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena during Friday’s action and let their overall record (6-6-1-0) slip to fourth place. Despite falling behind (2-1) after the first period, the Wild’s offense rattled off four consecutive goals in the middle period and scored the first two in third to shut down the Cobras. Sky Solig and teammate Saizha Norwegian each answered with one goal and dished out three assists for the Wild. Butte’s duo of Luke Schleusner and Nick Bradshaw recorded one goal and assisted on one scoring play. Jake Turek won for the fourth time in five outings as he redirected 26 shots for Gillette. Caleb Cross amassed 48 saves in the loss and Nikolai Wallery came in relief of him late in the third prevented all four shots from getting by him (box score).

The Americans looked for their eighth victory of the season when the Sabres played their second contests against the Americans on Saturday.

The Great Falls Americans raced out to a 4-0 advantage in the first period but allowed four goals over the following two periods against the #7 Badlands (SD) Sabres to send the contest into an overtime. Neither team scored five-minute extra period, but Silas Hughes put in the only goal in the shootout to help Great Falls defeat the Sabres 5-4 during Saturday’s NA3HL junior hockey action at the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Great Falls’ offense was spectacular during the first half of the opening period when they scored four unanswered goals to take a commanding lead. Forward Silas Hughes scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season while Ben Cremers added his fourth and Wes Weisenburger netted his first goal. Sam Duehlmeier, Jace Thompson, William Fallman, Alex Leaf, Ben Cremers, and Garrett Weisenburger earned the helpers. Hughes’ second goal with 11:32 left came while the Sabres were in the penalty box. Badlands starting netminder Brady Devries was replaced with ten minutes remaining before the first intermission by Friday’s goaltender Zach Broxterman after the Americans fourth scoring opportunity. Americans took 16 shots with four hitting the back of the net. The Sabres were held to six total shots.

Zach Vockler, the Sabres team leader in points scored (13), ended the Americans shutout by collecting his eighth goal to cut the deficit to 4-1 five minutes into the middle stanza. The visiting team chipped in their second goal ten minutes after the Vockler score. Tyson Dunbar’s pass to an open Dawson Wirth lit up the lamp. Dunbar also assisted on Vockler’s scoring drive. The Americans maintained a two-goal advantage after forty minutes of time. Badlands outshot the Americans 20-11 in the second frame.

The Americans 4-2 lead evaporated 13 minutes into the final period of regulation when a pair of forwards, Peyton Wilson, and Brady Ridnour, each scored 78 seconds apart to even the contest for the South Dakota squad. Izaiah Philllips added the assist on the tally by Wilson and Peyton Wilson set up Ridnour’s goal. The game needed an extra period to declare a winner after the teams could not break the tie during the final five minutes.

Great Falls and Badlands were forced into a shootout after the teams could not find a way to score in the five-minute overtime.

After scoring two of the four goals in the first period, Silas Hughes added the game-winning goal in the shootout to give the Americans their eighth victory of the season and helped them secure third place in the updated Frontier Division standings thanks to the #5 Butte Cobras loss to the #1 Gillette (WY) Wild. Badlands forwards Brady Ridnour, AJ Petrotto, and Dawson Wirth were denied a goal by Americans standout goaltender Ryan Stowe.

Silas Hughes scored two regulation goals and the game-winning shootout score to lift the Americans to a 5-4 win. Ben Cremers acquired one goal and dished out one assist for coach Greg Sears’ team. Peyton Wilson (1 goal, 1 assist) and Tyson Dunbar had two assists for the Sabres.

The Americans went 1-for-2 on the power play while the Sabres failed to gather any goals in their four power play chances. Great Falls was whistled for six minor infractions resulting in 12 minutes of penalty time. The Sabres committed some costly penalties including three of their four game misconducts coming in the five-minute overtime. The seven penalties resulted in 86 minutes spent away from the game.

Ryan Stowe (1-0-0-0) picked up his first official victory after making an appearance in a 9-3 setback to the Butte Cobras on October 1st. Stowe, a Calgary, Alberta native, made 40 saves. In a brief appearance, Brady Devries recorded three saves but allowed four goals in 9:51 of the first period before being relieved by Zach Broxterman swatted away all 31 shots in 55 minutes of action. Broxterman took his first shootout loss and now has a record of 1-8-1-1.

NOTES: The Great Falls Community Ice Foundation (GFCIF) invites you to enjoy some delicious pizza from MOD Pizza (1125 10th Avenue South) on Halloween (October 31, 2022) from 10:30AM until 10:00PM with 20% of all the proceeds going towards the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Facebook Event Information: Halloween pizza fundraiser | Facebook

If dining in at the store, please used promotional code, MODF14051 when completing your order with the cashier. Fans can order online through the MOD App or MOD website and use the promotional code MODF14051 before completing their transaction.

With a weekend sweep over the Badlands Sabres and Butte falling to 0-2 on the weekend to the #1 Gillette (WY) Wild, the Great Falls Americans sit solely in third place in the Frontier Division standings. Gillette Wild’s two victories and the Helena Bighorns losing two straight for the first time this season, the Wild now are the top squad in the division. The Sheridan Hawks jumped up one spot (from #5 to #4) with their weekend sweep over Helena.

FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: The #4 Sheridan Hawks (7-6-1-0) became the first team this season to sweep the former #1 Helena Bighorns (12-3-0-1) this weekend. Helena had 4-3 lead after forty minutes but were outscored 3-0 in the third as the Hawks won 6-4 in front of 300 fans at Whitney Rink in the M&M Center in Wyoming. Helena’s loss and Gillette’s win over Butte, made Gillette the top team in the Frontier while sending Helena to second place. Ryan McKenna had a hat trick (3 goals) and Patric Loeffler amassed 55 saves for the winning side. Harlan Wojtusik had one goal in the first and second periods for Helena. Gabe Swanson took the loss for the Bighorns (box score).

The #1 Gillette (WY) Wild (12-1-0-1) moved ahead of the second-place Helena Bighorns with a 5-2 victory on Saturday at home against the #5 Butte Cobras (6-7-1-0). During the weekend series, the Wild outscored the Cobras, 12-5. Jace Johnson scored three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and Isaac Young assisted on three scoring plays for Wyoming. Nick Bradshaw and Carson Streich made the tallies for Butte. Cole Wheaton had 26 saves for the winners (box score).

The #6 Yellowstone (WY) Quake (5-8-0-1) led the #8 Bozeman Ice Dogs (3-11-0-0), 2-1 before the second intermission with scores by Blake Mitchell and Ben Carlson. Wyatt O’Donoghue scored the third goal in the final period of regulation as the Quake edged the Ice Dogs, 3-1. Bozeman’s Owen House made the only goal for Bozeman in the first period. Edvin Falkenstrom’s 36 saves while allowing one goal ensured the fifth victory for Yellowstone (box score).

NEXT CONTEST: Having played only two road contests against the Butte Cobras (October 1st and 8th), the Americans concluded 12 home dates (ten more regular season home games remaining) and will look to go on the road starting Friday, November 11th when they make the trek to Sheridan, Wyoming to face the Sheridan Hawks for two games. This will be the first encounter this season between these two clubs. Game time is set for 7:30PM (MST) from Whitney Rink in the M&M’s Center with streaming coverage on HockeyTV.

NOTE: The Great Falls Americans were scheduled to travel to Helena, Montana on Saturday, November 5th for a single game against the Helena Bighorns but the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) had to postpone the rivalry contest due to a shortage of referees and will be rescheduled for a later date.