Great Falls earns second straight shutout victory over Glacier
By Kevin Scott
HAVRE, Mont., September 17, 2016 — The Great Falls Americans (2-0) and the Havre-based Glacier Nationals (0-2) met again for the second meeting of the 2016-17 season in as many days.
After a 11-0 shutout win last night in Great Falls for the Americans, both squads battled it out at the Havre Ice Dome on Saturday night with the visiting team coming away with their second straight shutout earning a 9-0 win in front of 400 fans. Danny O’Donnell and Sandis Mezharaups scored two goals apiece for the Great Falls franchise.
The Americans, playing in their third year in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), went 6-0 against the Nationals during the 2015
-16 campaign. Great Falls averaging nearly eight goals per game and allowed the Havre team to seven goals while Great Falls racked up 47.
Kody Thomas, a forward from Boise, Idaho, gave Great Falls an early 1-0 advantage with 7:53 left in the opening period. Danny O’Donnell’s short-handed score sixteen seconds after Thomas’ points off the stick of Brendan Jester put the defending Frontier Division champion ahead by two goals after the first period.
Matt Janke scored his third overall goal of the season with assistance from Sandis Mezharaups two minutes into the second. A few minutes later, Mezharaups tallied his first goal in an Americans uniform. Mitchell Ramstad and Quinn Stuebner provided the assists. Before the end of the end of the period, Idaho native Dustin Truex netted the fifth Americans goal. Great Falls held a 35-22 advantage in the shots-on-goal category after the first forty minutes of play.
After Mezharaups unassisted scoring opportunity to begin the final period of regulation, Brendan Jester found the back of the net against Glacier goaltender Jonah Gower as Jesse Johnson and Adam Vandenbos chipped in the assists. The Great Falls offense continued to light up the lamp to finish out the period. Danny O’Donnell grabbed his second goal and Cameron Cunningham added his first to finish out the final five minutes of the NA3HL contest. Jesse Johnson, Tanner Congdon, Matt Larson and Mitchell Ramstad each accumulated an assist on the final two goals. Danny O’Donnell’s second goal in the third was the only power play goal converted by either team.
The visiting team finished with five minor infractions incurring 10 minutes of penalty time while Glacier, who was shutout for the second straight night, had 12 minutes in penalties.
Goaltender Kyler Ayers, who started in his first game for coach Jeff Heimel’s Americans team, played the entire game recorded 26 saves while giving up no points. Meanwhile, Glacier’s Mikhail Pahrebets picked up the loss stopping five of the seven shots he faced. Teammate Jonah Gower accumulated 41 saves in his 46 minutes in the net.
The Americans secured 55 of the 81 shots on goal including 21 in the middle period.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will host the Bozeman Ice Dogs and the Billings Bulls next Friday and Saturday night (September 23-24th). The action from the Great Falls Ice Plex begins at 7:30PM (MST).