By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 18, 2017 — The Great Falls Americans (13-4-2-0) and the Missoula Jr. Bruins each won twice this season.
All four matchups had point differentials of two goals or less. Great Falls scored 13 total goals while Missoula had 11 heading into this NA3HL contest at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
A full house of 845 fans witnessed the Great Falls Americans upend the Missoula Jr. Bruins 5-3 during NA3HL action on Saturday evening. The home team played better offensively than they did in Missoula the previous night where they fell to the Bruins 3-2.
The scoreless first period saw both teams combine for 21 shots-on-goal along with one Great Falls penalty for Interference.
Missoula and Great Falls traded goals throughout the second period. Tyler Young struck first for the visiting team off a pass by former Great Falls American Cameron Cunningham. The following minute, Great Falls had the home crowd cheering when they tied up the contest when Nick Ramstad and Nate Simpson provided the assists on Ben Rinckey’s score midway through the stanza. Missoula standout Misha Akatnov answered back to give the Bruins the 2-1 advantage. The power play score was assisted by CJ Odlin and Austin Dennison. Before the second intermission, Americans forward Payton McSharry netted his eleventh goal off the sticks of teammates Jens Juliussen and Adam Vandenbos to tie the contest at 2-2. Great Falls took 22 shots and finished the second period with 38 while holding Missoula to 14.
Kody Thomas scored his sixth goal of the season four minutes into the third period. Adam Vandenbos and Matt Janke each added one assist. Moments later, Isaac Vincent evened up the score (3-3) for the Bruins. Matt Larson tallied the Americans fifth goal with Nick Ramstad getting his second assist of the night.
Both junior hockey squads combined for six penalties (12 minutes of penalty time).
Great Falls’ offense exploded for 56 shot attempts including 22 in the middle period. The Bruins settled for 26.
Mack Willy added another win to his resume when he recorded 23 saves. Missoula’s Brian Thomas (51 saves) allowed five shots to get through him for scores.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will be on home ice again next Friday evening when the Bighorns from Helena, Montana invade the Great Falls Ice Plex. Game begins at 7:30PM.