By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 18, 2017 — In their previous six encounters this season, the #2 Great Falls Americans (35-3-2-3) have come out on top against the #6 Helena Bighorns (12-30-1-0) for most of them. Great Falls has won five of six with the one loss coming in overtime back in December. The Americans have outscored the Bighorns 23-10 while allowing no more than three goals in each of the contests.
On Friday night in Helena, the Bozeman Ice Dogs scored once in each of the periods to hang on for a 3-2 win against the Bighorns. Meanwhile, Great Falls scored five goals in the final period to easily come away with a 10-1 victory against the last-place Glacier Nationals in Havre, Montana.
Tanner Congdon scored his third goal of the game for a hat trick with 3:19 left in the contest to propel the Great Falls Americans to their 35th victory of the season during their final meeting of the season against the Helena Bighorns. A large crowd of 1,025 was on hand for the second-to-last regular season home game of the year.
The Great Falls and Helena defenses held up and prevented any scoring opportunities during the opening period. Despite not scoring, Great Falls attempted 26 shots while limiting Helena to 11 shots.
Ryatt Bayne helped put the Bighorns in front of the Americans 2:39 into the period to give them a 1-0 lead. Ben Kottmeier assisted on the first points of the game. The home team bounced back by scoring five straight goals during the final 16 minutes of the middle period. Tanner Congdon scored twice followed by one goal apiece by Ricards Bernhards, Danny O’Donnell and Adam Vandenbos. Assisting on the scoring drives were Matt Janke, Jesse Johnson, Brendan Jester, Adam Vandenbos, Mitchell Ramstad, Logan Parsley and Sandis Mezharaups. Great Falls took 45 shots including 19 in the second frame before the second intermission.
Adam Apangalook, a member of the 2015-16 Great Falls Americans, scored the second goal for Helena 84 seconds into the third period. Apangalook’s power play score was set up by Cody Thomson and Ben Kottmeier, who also assisted on the first points of the game in the second period. Dustin Truex and Tanner Congdon secured two additional goals to close out the contest for the Americans. Congdon earned a hat trick by chipping in his 39th goal of the season with three minutes left in regulation.
Both squads finished with five infractions resulting in 10 minutes of penalty time. Adam Vandenbos’ goal to close out the second stanza and Tanner Congdon’s third goal in the third both came while Helena was down a man. Helena went 1-for-5 on their power play chances.
Nick Nast had a solid game in the net for Great Falls. He redirected 27 of the 29 shot attempts he faced by the Bighorns offense. Helena’s Alex Kruger played the entire game and finished with 49 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: The Billings Bulls will host the Great Falls Americans on Friday, February 23, 2017 at 7:30PM from Centennial Ice Arena in Billings, Montana. Great Falls has their regular season home finale on Saturday, February 24th when the Bozeman Ice Dogs come to the Great Falls Ice Plex for a 7:30PM start.