By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 16, 2018 — In January, the Great Falls Americans (28-10-2) blanked the Missoula Jr. Bruins, 4-0 in Great Falls with Tanner Rath scoring half the goals and goaltender Drew Scites recorded 28 saves.
A month later, these two Frontier Division teams faced off again for their second to last meeting of the regular season.
Defenseman Trent Cowden racked up two goals and five other American players saw the puck light up the lamp in a 7-2 romp over the Great Falls Americans during Friday’s junior hockey action at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
Great Falls and Missoula traded goals during the initial period. Trent Cowden scored the first of this team-high two goals within the first two minutes off a pass by Ben Rinckey. Missoula standout Misha Akatnov evened up the score a few minutes later when his shot from Rhys Cottle went between the two pipes for the score. The Americans and Junior Bruins attempted 18 shots in the 20-minute session.
Trent Cowden put the biscuit in the basket for the second time in as many periods on a power play that occurred during the middle period. Jens Juliussen accumulated his 22nd assist that gave the Americans the go-ahead score. Before the second frame expired, Payton McSharry weaved his way around defenders for the 3-1 lead at the break. Michael Houlihan and Brandon Vukasin gathered the assists.
The 941 spectators in attendance saw Great Falls have two more successful scoring drives to increase the lead to four goals. Adam Vandenbos scored this 14th goal while Dustin Truex added his first during the first 2:20. Michael Fary and Brandon Peterson offered the assistance. Vadim Zubkov cut into the Americans lead (5-2) midway through the third as Tyler Prince and Misha Akatnov set up the power play scoring drive for the Bruins. That would be as close as the visiting team would get. Great Falls added two more goals to seal the victory. Kyler Mack and Michael Houlihan scored before the end of the contest. Jens Juliussen, Brandon Peterson, and Trent Cowden all picked up assists.
Great Falls took 15 or more shots during the three periods and finished with 52 while Missoula had nine in the final two stanzas for a game total of 21.
The Americans converted half of their power play chances (2-for-4). Meanwhile, Missoula failed to connect on six of their seven opportunities while Great Falls was in the sin bin. The 12 combined penalties resulted in 27 minutes in the penalty box.
Drew Scites added another win to his season total of 16. The Minnesota goaltender completed his night with 19 saves. The loss went to Billy Yoder of Missoula, who had 45 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls travels to Missoula on Saturday, February 17th when they invade the Glacier Ice Rink to face the Missoula Jr. Bruins in the final meeting of the regular season between these two Frontier Division rivals. The puck will drop at 7:30PM.