By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 20, 2021 — Due to the unique scheduling this season in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), the #2 Great Falls Americans (20-11-2-0) and the #6 Bozeman Ice Dogs (12-16-2-1) have only had two head-to-head meetings with Great Falls claiming victory in both contests.
In their first encounter on October 10th, Great Falls’ Alex Jackson scored twice as the visiting Americans topped the Ice Dogs, 4-2 in their fourth game of the year. On November 7th, the Americans defeated the Ice Dogs 5-1 to give Great Falls their eighth consecutive win in Great Falls as five different players scored goals for the host team.
Great Falls has won three straight games with one win over the Yellowstone Quake and two wins over the Butte Cobras. The Ice Dogs enter tonight’s contest with Great Falls on a six-game losing streak with their last win coming on January 22nd with a 7-0 blanking on the road against the Cody, Wyoming based Yellowstone Quake.
The #6 Bozeman Ice Dogs needed an extra period to upset the #2 Great Falls Americans, 1-0 during the second-to-last home game for the Americans on Saturday night as 643 spectators waited anxiously for a score throughout the NA3HL contest. Bozeman defenseman Kadyn Fennell scored the game-winning tally with 42 seconds left in overtime.
The first three periods ended with neither team lighting up the lamp, but Bozeman’s offense did come away with 49 shots with Great Falls attempting 43.
A three-on-three five-minute overtime was necessary as the sixty-minute contest went scoreless. The host team was 43 seconds away from a shootout before Bozeman’s Colin Cobb’s pass to Kadyn Fennell for score over Americans netminder Trever Mellen.
The NA3HL contest saw just seven minor infractions called with 14 minutes spent in the penalty box despite neither team taking advantage of the power play.
Brandon Keeney picked up his fifth win for coach Rainier Londino-Green’s squad. The Illinois netminder stopped all 46 shots. After starting the 2020-21 campaign with ten consecutive wins on his resume, Great Falls netminder Trever Mellen (16-6-0-1) suffered his first overtime setback this season. Mellen was denied his 17th win in 24 games.
NOTES: Bozeman has two former Great Falls Americans now on their roster including forwards Blake Nerney and Henry Fusco. Nerney, from St. Louis, Missouri, played in 51 games for Great Falls over two and a half seasons. Blake scored 14 goals and dished out 29 assists while with the Americans. Fusco, from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, played in 24 games combined during the last two seasons scoring one goal and registering three assists.
Forward Hunter Maschke suited up for the Ice Dogs for 14 games to start the season and had 5 goals and 6 assists for them. The Kalamazoo, Michigan native has played for the Americans for the past 14 games and produced two goals and accrued 5 assists.
Also, Great Falls Americans head coach Greg Sears has 400 career wins throughout his career including high school, Triple A and Juniors and he is three wins away from his 100th victory with the Americans in three seasons.
NEXT CONTEST: In a recently announced make up game, Great Falls will be traveling to Missoula, Montana to face the Junior Bruins on Friday, February 26th for a 5:30PM (MST) start. The Americans will play host to the Helena Bighorns on Saturday, February 27th for their home regular season finale. Saturday’s home game will start at 7:30PM (MST). All games can be seen on the NA3HL streaming website, HockeyTV.