By Tribune Sports Staff

October 23, 2021

After delays due to cooling system leaks in the ice surface, and ultimately a late team bus from Butte, the oft-delayed home opener for head coach Greg Sears and the Great Falls Americans Junior A Hockey team finally saw the puck drop Friday night at the IcePlex on Gore Hill.

It was worth the wait, as a crowd of 350 fans watched the Americans score a 4-1 win over the Butte Cobras.

The Cobras’ bus issues required the match to start 15 minutes later than the planned 7:30 start time.

Only an even-strength goal by the Cobras’ Caelin Chinery just 94 seconds after the first puck dropped kept Americans’ netminder Ben Winkler from hoisting a clean sheet on the evening. The 6-6, 190-pounder from Gurnee, Ill., faced 36 shots on the evening.

Four different Great Falls players lit the lamp Friday night, led by Jackson Henningsgard scoring his fourth goal of the season while assisting on another. The goal, which came at 16:51 of the second stanza, turned out to be the final score of the evening for either side.

Hunter Maschke, Joshua Serino, and Tyler Sunagel also got the puck past Cobra goalie Caleb Cross, who redirected 58 of the 62 shots he faced.

Jay Alford added two assists, Maschke also had a helper in addition to his game-tying goal in the first, and Petr VanVoorhis, Jonathan Schoof, Noel Rahn, Aaron Leaf and Silas Hughes also collected assists.

Great Falls, who was idle Saturday, remains in fourth place in the North American Tier 3 Hockey League after a dozen matches with 15 points (6-3-2-1). The Cobras, with eight points (3-7-2-0) are in sixth.

The Americans are home for their next two matches, beginning Thursday against the Cobras and Friday when the Bozeman Icedogs come to town. The puck drops each night at 7:30 p.m.

Story Courtesy: Great Falls Tribune: JUNIOR A HOCKEY: Americans roll past Cobras in home opener (finally!) at IcePlex (October 23, 2021)