By Tribune Sports Staff

March 18, 2014

The mighty Helena Bighorns scored three quick goals in the first period and cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Great Falls Americans Tuesday night in Game 1 of a series for the American West Hockey League championship.

The best-of-five series continues tonight at 7 at the IcePlex in Great Falls.

Dylan Webster scored a hat trick for the Bighorns, a team that’s dominated the Tier III Junior A league here for several years.

Sebastian Hansson, Damon Hanson and Webster scored in the first 14 minutes of the game as the Bighorns took a 3-0 lead. Webster’s was a shorthanded goal.

Helena dominated from the get-go, outshooting the Americans 18-7 in the first period and 15-7 in the second.

Webster scored on the power play and John Bonta added a goal as the Bighorns, who finished 46-1-1 in the AWHL regular season, took a 5-0 lead.

The Americans of coach Jeff Heimel averted a shutout early in the third period on a goal by Aaron McInnis. But Weber tallied again late in the period as the Bighorns finished with a flourish.

Coach Scott Cunningham’s Bighorns are trying to return to the Tier III national tourney, where a year ago the club lost in the semifinals.

Story Courtesy: Great Falls Tribune: AWHL Playoffs: Americans drop opener in Helena (March 18, 2014)