By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 16, 2020 — The Great Falls Americans (5-0-0-0) have yet to taste defeat on the ice this season after two weeks of regular season NA3HL action.
Great Falls is the only undefeated squad in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division after the first two weeks thanks to a mixture of rookies and returning players who have meshed well in coach Greg Sears’ system. The Americans have victories over the Butte Cobras (twice), the Helena Bighorns, and the Frontier Division’s regular season champions from last season, the Bozeman Ice Dogs. Great Falls has outscored their opponents, 21-7.
Meanwhile, the Gillette (WY) Hawks (3-2-0-0) started their season by winning their two-game road series against the Helena Bighorns 3-1 each night. They Wyoming skaters went 1-1 in the second week (October 9-10) when they made their home debut against in-state rival, the Yellowstone (Cody, WY) Quake. The Wild allowed four goals in the third period to eventually fall, 7-5 but bounced back thanks to Declan Young’s hat trick (3 goals) the following night in a 10-4 romp over the Cody, Wyoming-based Quake.
How did the Americans do last season against the Wild?
Great Falls had their way with Gillette, winning seven of their eight matchups while scoring 46 goals and allowing just 15.
Three goals in three periods!! The Great Falls Americans scored once in each period to earn a 3-0 shutout victory over the Gillette (WY) Wild during Friday’s action on the ice at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Three newcomers (Micah Serino, Cole Komarek, and Alex Jackson) each lit up the lamp as Great Falls continued their undefeated five-game winning streak. Goaltender Trever Mellen stopped all 35 shots for win number five on the season.
One goal was all that was needed for Great Falls to lead after the first stanza. Blake Nerney and Jake Hayes received their second assists of the season as Alaska native Micah Serino capitalized on his third goal of the season to give the Americans the early advantage six minutes into the first game between these two clubs this season. The Americans and Wild combined for 27 shots.
Just thirty seconds went off the clock before the Americans found the back of the net to open the middle period. The second scoring drive by the host team was set up by Alex Jackson and Tommy Janes with Cole Komarek adding his third goal to his resume. The rest of the penalty-free period was filled with many shots taken by both squads, but none were successful.
Alex Jackson capped off the night for Coach Greg Sears’ squad as his sixth goal came with 6:30 remaining in the contest. Henry Chavez collected his fourth season assist. Jackson has now scored goals in three of the first five contests. Both teams skated the rest of the way to run out the clock.
Great Falls had a game-high of 16 shots attempted in the first period and finished the night with 37. Gillette out-shot Great Falls in the final two stanzas (24-21) in their setback to conclude their fifth game of the season with 35.
There was not much stoppage of play as only three minor penalties were issued. Great Falls committed two of the three penalties with four minutes spent in the penalty box. The Wild had their one minor infraction called in the third frame.
Trever Mellen has been unstoppable as the Americans netminder this season. The Minnesota native ran his record to 5-0 to start the 2020-21 campaign. He redirected all 35 shots sent by Gillette’s offense. Gillette’s Liam Scott picked up his first loss in two appearances for the Wyoming club. The first-year player for the Wild recorded 34 saves in his first trip to the Great Falls Ice Plex after helping the Wild to a 3-1 win over the Helena Bighorns on October 3rd.
NOTE: Gillette Wild Head Coach Ethan Hayes was an assistant coach for the Great Falls Americans last season and made his first appearance back in Great Falls on Friday evening.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls and Gillette collide for the second time on the ice this season with a 7:30PM start at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Saturday, October 17th. In two weeks, both teams will face off for the last time in the regular season in Wyoming (October 30-31). Great Falls will face the Missoula Junior Bruins next week for a pair of home games starting on Sunday, October 25th. Great Falls will also entertain the Bruins on Monday afternoon (October 26th) with the puck dropping at 12:00PM. All games will be streaming live online via HockeyTV.
Additional Media Coverage: October 16, 2020: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Americans take down Wild (Video)
Additional Media Coverage: October 16, 2020: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Friday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.