Great Falls caps the weekend series against Butte with sweep

NOTE: A Special Thanks to Kandi Rasmussen for providing the photos.

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

BUTTE, Mont., October 8, 2022 — After the #4 Great Falls Americans (4-4-0-0) escaped with a 3-2 win in overtime against the #3 Butte Cobras (4-4-1-0) on Friday night in Great Falls (game story), both teams met up Saturday evening in Butte, Montana for their fourth meeting of the season.

The Americans are now 3-1-0-0 against the Cobras this season with their only loss on October 1st in Butte when Butte dominated the visiting team, 9-3 behind the solid efforts of Luke Schleusner and Nick Bradshaw, who each tallied three goals (game story). Great Falls opened the season with a 3-2 win against their Montana Frontier Division opponent (game story).

Jace Thompson and William Fallman each scored once and acquired one assist to lead the Great Falls Americans to a weekend sweep of the Butte Cobras during Saturday night NA3HL action at the Butte Community Ice Center. Great Falls won 4-3 for the second straight night but Friday’s win came in overtime in Great Falls. Starting goaltender Josh Koziol totaled 20 saves for his third victory in six contests.

Great Falls and Butte each accumulated twelve shots-on-goal but neither team capitalized on any scoring plays during the first twenty minutes of action.

The Americans needed 17 minutes of time to take a three-goal lead during the second period. Christian Crutcher and Aidan McCormick answered with their first goals of the season while Jace Thompson tacked in the third goal for Great Falls with his fifth tally. Dawson Bunch, William Fallman and Alex Leaf assisted on Crutcher and McCormick’s power play opportunities. Alex Leaf also assisted on Thompson’s score along with Tyler Sunagel with 2:52 remaining before the second intermission. The Cobras would not be denied the shutout as the home team gave their fans at the Butte Community Ice Center something to cheer about when they added two scores with under a minute to play. Nick Bradshaw and Micah Williamson produced their ninth and third goals, respectively while Cade Wessman and Carter Large earned the assists on the Bradshaw score. Wessman currently leads his squad with 13 assists. North Dakota native Drysten Bailey added his first assist when his pass to Micah Williamson with five seconds left in the period lit up the lamp. The Americans took twice as many shots (20-10) against Butte.

William Fallman, who has come on strong during the past few games, found the back of the net three minutes into the final period of regulation thanks to a play set up by Alex Leaf and Jace Thompson. This was Great Falls’ third scoring drive that came on a power play tonight. Alex Leaf leads Great Falls in assists made with ten. The Cobras pulled to within one goal (4-3) with 2:26 left. Forward Micah Williamson scored his second (fourth overall) with assistance from Tyler Tosch and Patrick Crooks. The Americans denied the Cobras a game-tying score during the final minutes.

Great Falls defeated Butte in the shots-on-goal category, 51-34 after both teams had 12 during the first period.

The Americans had two minor penalties in the first and third stanza to finish with eight minutes in the penalty box. The Cobras stayed out of the sin bin in the first but had eight infractions called on them that resulted in 35 minutes of time off the ice. The Americans took advantage and scored on three of their eight power play chances. Butte went 0-3 while Great Falls was in the penalty kill.

Josh Koziol, the netminder from Elk River, Minnesota, picked up two victories this weekend to run his record to 3-3-0-0. A night after gathering 42 saves, he redirected 31 shots on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, Caleb Cross saw his record fall to 2-3-0-0 but not before adding 47 saves to his resume.

FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: A night after the #6 Bozeman Ice Dogs (3-6-0-0) earned a 1-0 upset win over the top-ranked Helena Bighorns (9-1-0-0) at Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman, Montana, both teams continued play in Bozeman where the Bighorns redeemed themselves and easily defeated the Ice Dogs with a 4-0 shutout win. Andrew Deskin, Tyler Allredge, and Braden and Camden Cunningham all put the biscuit in the basket for coach Scott Cunningham’s squad. Gabe Swanson had 18 saves for the winning side (box score).

Jace Johnson had his first hat trick as a member of the second-ranked Frontier Division team, the Gillette (WY) Wild (6-1-0-1) and Saizha Norwegian scored on an empty-netter in the closing minutes for the Wild’s second win over in-state rival, #8 Yellowstone Quake (2-6-0-0) in Cody, Wyoming. The 4-2 victory gave goaltender Dominic Hite (42 saves) his second win in the net. Joey Good and Brayson Bennett scored the goals for the host team in the third period (box score).

The #5 Sheridan (WY) Hawks (3-4-1-0) finished their two-game road trip to Rapid City, South Dakota with two wins over the #7 Badlands Sabres (2-6-0-0) by posting an 8-4 decision. Wyatt Noble scored once in the first and third stanzas to finish with two goals while teammates Makhai Sparks, a former Bozeman Ice Dog, and Tie Schumacher and Parker Norling each scored three points (1 goal, 2 assists) for the visitors. Thomas Mellenthin acquired 29 saves for coach Chad Bailey’s Hawks. The Sabres were led by Dawson Wirth, Izaiah Phillips, Brady Ridnour, and Gabriel Harrison all scored for the home team in the loss (box score).

NEXT CONTEST: The Cody, Wyoming-based Yellowstone Quake will make their second trip back to Great Falls this season to face the Great Falls Americans on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15th as both squads posted a win during their last weekend series on September 23-24. As usual, the games will be streamed online at HockeyTV with the action starting at 7:30PM (MST) from the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Additional Media Coverage: October 9, 2022: 406 MT Sports: Great Falls wins weekend NA3HL series over Butte