Congdon and Harrington lead the Americans to a 7-2 victory on Saturday night
By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., September 24, 2016 — The Great Falls Americans had their way with the Billings Bulls during the 2015-16 season. The Americans, who are coached by Jeff Heimel, won all eight of their season matchups and never surrendered more than two goals to the Bulls in each of their contests. The Great Falls offense lit up the score board with 48 goals against the team from the Magic City.
So far this season, the Great Falls Americans are 3-0 while the Billings Bulls (0-1) lost their only contest of the year to the Helena Bighorns (10-3) on Friday night in Helena. Great Falls took advantage of a four-goal second period to claim a 7-2 victory over the visiting Bozeman Ice Dogs on Friday evening.
Tanner Congdon and Tegan Harrington each scored twice as the Great Falls Americans easily escaped with a 7-2 victory over the Billings Bulls in the first meeting of the season between these two squads in Great Falls. The 856 spectators were treated with another excellent output by the Great Falls offense.
Randy Bogden Farm Bureau was the sponsor of the night at the Ice Plex for Saturday’s showdown.
The Americans got on the board within the first 1:21 when Matt Janke and Tanner Congdon got the puck to forward Sandis Mezharaups for the first score of the game. Nine minutes later, Janke set up the Americans second scoring drive. Tanner Congdon scored his second goal via a power play in four games midway through the opening period. The Bulls were unable to come away with any points before the first intermission as the home team controlled the puck throughout the first twenty minutes. The Americans took 16 shots while limiting Billings to six.
The defending NA3HL Frontier champions went up 3-0 early in the middle period thanks to Tanner Congdon’s second goal off the stick of Sandis Mezharaups. Also scoring in the second stanza were Alaska natives Tegan Harrington and Adam Vandenbos. Harrington’s points went unassisted while Harrington and Nathan Margeson collected the assists on the Vandenbos tally. The Bulls registered their first points at the 2:24 mark when Keith Gustin recorded his team’s first points. The Sweden connection of Ludvig Omdal and Daniel Johansson grabbed the assists to end the scoring for the period.
The Bulls cut the deficit to 5-2 as North Dakota product Bryan Miller found the back of the net 2:15 into the third. Austin Lange and Kenny Miller each racked up the assists. Tegan Harrington netted his second goal with help from Adam Vandenbos 92 seconds after the Billings successful scoring opportunity. Hayden Moistner accumulated his first goal and the seventh and final point for Great Falls during the final seven minutes of action. Dustin Truex was credited with the assist.
Great Falls incurred 14 minutes of penalty time with seven infractions. Billings could not stay away from the penalty box as they received 14 infractions for 36 minutes.
In addition to Harrington’s and Congdon’s two goals apiece, Great Falls was paced by Adam Vandenbos had one goal and one assist while Matt Janke dished out two assists in the Americans fourth victory in four games. Keith Gustin and Bryan Miller each scored for Billings.
Nick Nast, playing in his first contest with the Americans, picked up the win by securing 29 saves. Simo Huhtanen recorded 43 saves but allowed seven goals in the loss for the Bulls.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls finishes up their two weekends of home games next weekend when the Yellowstone Quake (Cody, WY) visit the Great Falls Ice Plex for a two-game series. Both games on Friday (September 30th) and Saturday (October 1st) start at 7:30PM (MST).