By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 6, 2018 — The Great Falls Americans (19-9-2) dropped a 5-3 decision to the Gillette Wild on Friday night to give them a 3-1-1 record coming into tonight’s final home stand with the Wyoming junior hockey team.
The Great Falls Americans comeback fell short as the Gillette Wild escaped with a 4-3 win over the host team in their final matchup of the regular season during Saturday’s NA3HL hockey action at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
Gillette forward Nick Stockert netted two goals to give the Gillette Wild a two-goal advantage after the first period of action. The two successful power play opportunities came five minutes apart with Jack Oberg, Brook Mitzel, Derek Scoggins and Gage Thompson assisting.
Tanner Rath scored the first of his two goals in the middle period. Weston Goodman and Matt Janke assisted to reduce the deficit to 2-1 three minutes into the second stanza. Jack Oberg and Cody Walters seized two opportunities to score during a 40 second scoring drive that left the Wild with a 4-1 advantage. Derek Scoggins, Brooks Mitzel and Gage Thompson added the assists. Great Falls’ Kody Thomas found a way to score with 4:25 remaining in the period. The Americans second scoring of the period was assisted by Kyler Mack and Logan Rachow, who each garnered their fourth assist of the year. The Wild maintained control and took four more shots (22-18) than the Americans after two periods.
Tanner Rath registered his 12th goal of the season 1:42 into the final period. Michael Fary set up the final score despite many offensive efforts by the host team.
In addition to Nick Stockert’s two goals, the Wild received assistance from three players who each gathered two assists including Brooks Mitzel, Derek Scoggins, and Gage Thompson. Jack Oberg scored once and finished with one assist for coach Brendon Hodge’s squad. Great Falls received two goals from Tanner Rath in the loss.
Despite trailing the entire contest, Great Falls took 27 while Gillette had 26 shots.
The two clubs combined for 8 minor penalties and spent 16 minutes in the penalty box. Gillette scored on 40% (2-for-5) and Great Falls went 1-for-3 on power play chances.
Goaltender Cody Grogan got the job done for the second consecutive night against the Americans. He redirected 24 of the 27 shots the Americans offense acquired. After having 33 saves on Friday night, Bryan Sharp received 22 saves during Saturday’s action.
NEXT CONTEST: The Missoula Jr. Bruins come to town to face the Great Falls Americans for the only game of the week for Great Falls. The puck drops at 7:30PM on Friday, Jan. 12th.