Great Falls edges Missoula 2-1 in overtime
By Kevin Scott
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MISSOULA, Mont., February 10, 2017 — The second-ranked Great Falls Americans (32-3-2-3) have had many successful nights against the fourth-ranked Missoula Jr. Bruins (24-13-3-1) during their NA3HL Frontier Division meetings so far this season.
Great Falls has posted wins in six of their seven head-to-head matchups with their lone loss coming in October (7-3 defeat in Great Falls). Great Falls has come out on top in all three game against the Bruins at Missoula’s Glacier Ice Rink while winning three of four at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
Forwards Misha Akatnov (37 goals, 29 assists) and Josh Chamberlain (21 goals, 35 assists) continue to pace the Missoula junior hockey team while goaltender Tanner Loucks has accumulated 724 assists in 23 contests.
The trio of Tanner Congdon, Brendan Jester and Danny O’Donnell have combined for 78 goals playing in all 40 contests for coach Jeff Heimel’s Americans squad. Nick Nast (17-2-0-1-1) and Kyler Ayers (12-0-0-1) have had their share of success in the net this year. They have played in 35 of the 40 games during the 2016-17 season and have combined for over 900 saves.
Tanner Congdon scored his 33rd goal in overtime to help the second-ranked Great Falls Americans edge the Missoula Junior Bruins 2-1 during Friday night’s junior hockey action at the Glacier Ice Rink in Missoula, Montana.
Boise, Idaho product Kody Thomas secured his fifth goal of the year with 11:50 left in the first period to give the visiting team the early advantage. Malachi Bushey and Matt Janke were each credited with an assist on the lone scoring play of the stanza.
After a scoreless middle period that saw the Bruins out-shoot the Americans 11-10, Missoula needed to find a way to get the puck in the net during the final period of regulation. Missoula native Zack Jaffe needed just 4:23 to successfully find the back of the net to tie up the game (1-1). Josh Chamberlain, hailing from Spokane, Washington and second on the team in assists (35), and Justin Barnes helped create the game-tying score for the Bruins. The offenses struggled the final fifteen minutes and an overtime was necessary to declare a winner. The Americans took 38 shots during the first three periods but only got one to go between the pipes. The home team took 11 shots in each of the second and third periods to register 31 before the extra five-minute overtime.
During the extra period of play, team scoring leader and veteran Tanner Congdon responded on the offensive end and scored the game-winning tally 2:08 into the period. Danny O’Donnell and Ricards Bernhards each contributed to the scoring opportunity.
The 400 spectators at the ice facility in Missoula saw 15 total penalties resulting in 30 minutes of penalty time.
Nick Nast, who allowed one goal in the third period, picked up another win for the playoff-bound Americans, who have seven games remaining on their schedule before the playoffs begin. Nast, who was selected this week to participate in the 2017 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament in two weeks in Michigan, redirected 31 of the 32 shots that Missoula attempted. Tanner Loucks from the Bruins acquired 38 saves in the loss.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will be in action on Saturday, February 11th when they invade the Helena Ice Arena for a contest against the Helena Bighorns with the puck set to drop at 7:05PM.