By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 7, 2015 — The Great Falls Americans (11-4) split their weekend series with the Gillette Wild (6-6) in Great Falls on Saturday night. Gillette’s offensive attack early on proved to be too much for Great Falls as they fell 4-2 for only their fourth loss of the season. Great Falls could not find a way to get their offense going. The Peak Health and Wellness Center sponsored Saturday’s NA3HL contest.
The Americans, who average 722 fans and lead the Frontier Division in attendance, saw 815 spectators on Saturday night.
Last night with over 500 fans in attendance, the Americans after leading 3-0 early in the second period went on to take a 5-2 win against Gillette. Five different Americans netted goals including Tegan Harrington, Malachi Bushey, Arseny Ivanov, Connor Barta and Brendan Jester. Goaltender Jake Stephan picked up his fifth win of the season.
The Gillette offense got a spark from Russia native Gennadi Zabeline, who scored the first points of the game for the Wild on Saturday night. Alex King picked up the assist on the scoring play that came at the 13:32 mark of the first period. The Wild held Great Falls to ten shots- on-goal and never allowed the Americans to find the back of the net during the opening twenty minutes of their weekend series. The first stanza saw three total penalties for six minutes.
Laramie, Wyoming native Colt Johnson put the Wyoming NA3HL franchise up 2-0 with a slap-shot that went by Great Falls goalie Lauren Massie three minutes into the next period. Alex King tacked on his second assist while Preston Fuller added his first. The Gillette offense continued to disrupt the Americans defense as forward Cade Boreing was able to bury the Wild’s third goal five minutes after Johnson’s score. The assists went to defensemen Gennadi Zabeline and Tyler Reble. The Americans found themselves trailing by three goals as the middle period concluded. Despite falling behind by three goals, Great Falls continued to out-shoot the Wild 25-18 after two periods.
Cade Boreing tallied his second goal of the evening during the last period of regulation for the visitors. Hunter Johnson assisted on the Boreing score with 6:58 to go. Great Falls converted two goals to avoid the shutout in the final two minutes. Josh Larson received his second goal of the season on the pass from Tanner Congdon and Richards Bernhards. Larson also recorded another goal with 56 seconds left as Adam Apangalook and Blake Miller collected the assists.
Both teams combined for 0-for-6 on power plays.
There were not many penalties as Great Falls had only two including a hooking and a holding penalty while Gillette committed four infractions for eight minutes.
Gillette goaltender Alex Feese finished with his fourth victory in eight appearances and stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced. Great Falls utilized Lauren Massie and Kevin Hale behind the net. Massie played the first 28 minutes and gathered eight saves while Kevin Hale swatted away nine of the ten shots he faced against the Gillette offense.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls takes the 90 mile trip to Helena, Montana on Friday, November 13th to challenge the Helena Bighorns. The action from the Helena Ice Arena starts at 7:00PM.