March 26, 2016
CODY, Wyo. — The Great Falls Americans are heading to Illinois.
With a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Yellowstone Quake in Game 2 of the Frontier finals, Great Falls’ hockey squad advances to the North American 3 Hockey League’s Silver Cup Tournament this week in Romeoville, Ill., from March 29-April 3.
It has now won back-to-back Frontier titles.
“It’s a special win,” Great Falls head coach Jeff Heimel said. “It was one thing last year taking that championship when we had never won one. What I found defending it, it was twice as hard. We were tested this season and I’m proud of this group for getting it done. It’s a very, very special one.”
Tyler Garcia’s game-winning tally, off feeds from Miles Giorgione and Tegan Harrington, with 4:04 left in the third period proved to be the deciding goal. Great Falls outshot Yellowstone 49-39 for the game.
“It was a crazy and emotional hockey game,” Heimel said. “I’m definitely on the high of the celebration of winning this division championship.”
Garcia found the back of the net twice.
Net minder Jake Stephan stopped 35 of 39 shots, earning his fourth playoff victory in as many games.
Great Falls improved to 38-11-2 record overall, while Yellowstone fell to 37-11-4 mark.
Heimel’s Americans took Game 1 of the best-of-three series Thursday night with a 4-1 victory.
Great Falls forward Tanner Congdon opened the scoring just 33 seconds in as the Americans jumped out to a quick 1-0 advantage. Defenseman Arseny Ivanov and Jesse Johnson earned the assists.
Yellowstone, which outshot Great Falls 20-14 in the first stanza, responded with three of the next four goals to take a 3-2 advantage into the first intermission.
With five minutes left, Josh Larson scored, his third goal of the playoffs, to tie the game at 2-all, but Nick Greene’s power play goal with 54 seconds remaining made it 3-2.
Great Falls battled back in the second frame.
Adam Apangalook and Garcia each registered goals, the Americans outshot their opponent 22-8 and both teams skated into the third period deadlocked at four.
Yellowstone was 2-for-3 with the man advantage, and Great Falls failed to score on four opportunities.
Great Falls, winless at the Silver Cup last year, is extra motivated this time around.
“We are in the final eight and we want that championship,” Heimel said. “We want to get it done.”
Great Falls 2 2 1 – 5
Yellowstone 3 1 0 – 4
First period – 1. Great Falls, Tanner Congdon (Arseny Ivanov, Jesse Johnson) 0:33. 2. Yellowstone, Nicholas Elliot (Mason Stewart, Tristan Henrichs) 3:19. 3. Yellowstone, Will Landsverk (Manuel Manero, Mason Stewart) 10:59. 4. Great Falls, Josh Larson (Tanner Congdon, Wade Wylie) 15:08. 5. Yellowstone, Nick Greene (Reed Kelly, Matt Runyon) 19:06 (pp).
Second period – 6. Great Falls, Adam Apangalook (Wade Wylie) 3:00. 7. Yellowstone, Reed Kelly (Jake Dickison) 5:25 (pp). 8. Great Falls, Tyler Garcia (Tanner Congdon, Josh Larson) 14:23.
Third period – 9. Great Falls, Tyler Garcia (Miles Giorgione, Tegan Harrington) 15:56
Shots on goal – Great Falls 14-22-13—49. Yellowstone 20-8-11—39.
Power play opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-4. Yellowstone 2-for-3.
Penalties – Great Falls 3:07 on three infractions. Yellowstone 8:00 on four infractions.
Goalies (shots-saves) – Great Falls, Jake Stephan (W, 39-35). Yellowstone, Garret Matz (L, 49-44).
T – 2:30. A – 550.
Story Courtesy: Great Falls Tribune: Americans defeat Quake, win Frontier Championship (March 26, 2016)