By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 18, 2016 — It hasn’t been much of a challenge for the Great Falls Americans (10-3-1-2) when they have met up on the ice against the Glacier Nationals (1-16-1) in their previous two meetings. The Nationals only win so far was back on October 8th when they defeated the Billings Bulls 6-3 in Havre, Montana.
Great Falls has held the Glacier squad scoreless 20-0 including an 11-0 win at home during the first game of the season back in the middle of September.
Veteran Brendan Jester continues to lead Jeff Heimel’s squad in scoring with 12 goals and is fourth in the team in assists (9). Defenseman Danny O’Donnell has dished out 13 assists and goaltender Nick Nast (4-2-0-1) has 226 saves in seven appearances
Would tonight’s contest between the third-place Americans and last place Nationals have a different outcome?
Malachi Bushey recorded a hat trick and Sandis Mezharaups and Tanner Congdon scored two goals apiece to account for over half of the Great Falls Americans goals scored during a 12-0 rout over the Glacier Nationals at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Friday evening. Lithia Motors and McDonald’s sponsored the junior hockey team where over 825 fans came out to see the third shutout of the season between these two junior hockey teams.
The Great Falls offense kept the puck down at Glacier’s goal throughout the first period. A flurry of goals by the Americans put the home team on top, 6-0 after the first twenty minutes of action. Quinn Stuebner, Nathan Margeson, Kyler Mack, Tanner Congdon, Malachi Bushey and Sandis Mezharaups each found the back of the net. Tanner Congdon, Nathan Margeson, Matt Larson, Kody Thomas, Isaac Vincent, Mitchell Ramstad, Jesse Johnson, Sandis Mezharaups, Matt Janke and Brendan Jester each contributed one assist apiece. Great Falls easily out-shot the Nationals 28-3.
Mitchell Ramstad tacked on the seventh goal of the contest during the first two minutes of the middle period. Tanner Congdon picked up his second assist while Danny O’Donnell added his first. The third-place Americans dominated the shots-on-goal category with a 25-1 advantage before the second intermission.
During the final period, the Americans scored twice within the first seven minutes to take a nine-goal lead. Tanner Congdon and Sandis Mezharaups each gathered their second goal of the evening. Danny O’Donnell and Jesse Johnson each chipped in their second assist on the Congdon score while Malachi Bushey set up Mezharaups scoring drive. Before Malachi Bushey scored his third goal for a hat trick, Boise, Idaho product Kody Thomas received his second goal of the year as Great Falls tallied multiple goal in each of the periods.
Great Falls scored two of their goals via power plays in the first and third periods. Sandis Mezharaups and Tanner Congdon’s scoring drives resulted in points in half of their power play chances. The NA3HL contest featured 11 total minor penalties resulting in 22 minutes of penalty time. The Havre, Montana based Nationals failed to turn their three power plays into points.
Kyler Ayers played an exceptional game between the pipes for the Americans. He swatted away all eight shot attempts by the Nationals offense. Glacier’s Will Langstaff took the loss as the Dickerson, Maryland native allowed seven goals before being replaced by Jonah Gower, who played the final 37 minutes, stopping 42 of the 47 shots taken by Great Falls.
NOTE: Forward Hayden Moistner was sent to the Glacier Nationals and goaltender Michael Hughes went to the Alexandria (MN) Blizzard of the NA3HL since the Americans played their last game two weeks ago.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will be participating in their fifth-straight home contest of the season when the Missoula Jr. Bruins come into the Great Falls Ice Plex looking for their first win against the Great Falls squad on Saturday, November 19th. The action begins in Great Falls at 7:30PM.