By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 25, 2014 — The Great Falls Americans and Helena Bighorns picked up where they left off last year as both teams remained undefeated in league play heading into tonight’s rematch of last year’s American West Hockey League (AWHL) League Finals.
Dylan Garton’s second period score proved to be the game-winner for Great Falls (11-0) in a hard-fought defensive battle over the Helena Bighorns (6-1) as the top two teams in the Frontier Division of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) challenged each other on the ice. The low-scoring contest (1-0) was witnessed by a fantastic crowd of 1,023 fans who came out for Kid’s Halloween Night at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
Helena goaltender Grant Martens and Great Falls’ Evan Hauser allowed no goals in the opening period of play as both teams played tough defense in the first twenty minutes. Great Falls led 11-10 in shots on goal.
The second period was scoreless for the first 19:59 before a last second goal by Great Falls native Dylan Garton who was able to get the puck by Bighorns goaltender Grant Martens for his fourth goal of the season. Adam Apangalook and Robert Kalata each recorded one assist apiece.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the final period of action.
The Americans did not allow the Bighorns to capitalize on any of their four power play opportunities. Meanwhile, Great Falls went 0-7 in power play tries.
Despite the loss, Helena out-shot Great Falls in the final two periods and finished with a 43-31 advantage.
Both of the NA3HL members combined for 11 infractions for 32 minutes in penalties.
Evan Hauser recorded his second shutout of the season on Saturday night as he stopped all 43 shots he faced against the previously undefeated Bighorns. Helena’s Grant Marten’s earned 30 saves for the Helena franchise. Earlier in the season, Great Falls blanked Bozeman 7-0 for Hauser’s first shut-out win back in September.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will be playing at home next Saturday night (November 1st) when they host the Bozeman Ice Dogs (1-8). The NA3HL contest starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Ice Plex..
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – NO SCORING
Second Period – 1, Great Falls, Dylan Garton (Adam Apangalook, Robert Kalata), 19:59.
Third Period – NO SCORING
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 31, Helena 43.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-7, Helena 0-for-4.
Attendance – 1,023