By Kevin Scott
HAVRE, Mont., September 20, 2014 — The Great Falls Americans opened up their first season in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) by posting a 8-2 win over the Glacier Nationals on the road at the Havre Ice Arena on Saturday night in front of 375 fans who witnessed their first junior hockey game. Great Falls’ offense lit up the Nationals defense throughout the evening including a four-goal second period.
Great Falls opened up their season by scoring two of the three first period goals. Great Falls native Connor Barta found the back of the net as Marvin Simmons and Devin Panzeca earned the assists on the play early in the first twenty minutes of action. After Barta’s goal, Robert Kalata and Lucas Stover found an open Austin Krantz on a power play to give Great Falls a 2-0 advantage. Glacier would not be denied any points as Jarod Ackerman scored with 1:25 left before the first intermission. Wyatt Fretheim and Brandon Jester picked up the assists on the Nationals scoring drive. Great Falls held a 15-8 lead on shots on goal. Alaska native and Americans goalie Lauren Massie recorded seven first period saves in his first start for Great Falls.
The Americans, under third year head coach Jeff Heimel, took control of their high powered offense and added four more goals in the middle period. Returners Marvin Simmons and Lucas Stover each added goals as did newcomers Robert Kalata and Wade Wylie. Lucas Stover, a Carona, California native, registered his second assist in addition to his early score at the 16:03 mark of the period.
Karson Frisk tacked on a goal for the home team on an unassisted play to cut their deficit to 6-2 with just under three minutes into the final period. Austin Krantz recorded his second goal of the season off a pass from Robert Kalata, who picked up his second assist with 15:49 remaining in the NA3HL contest. Kalata would also tack on the Americans eighth and final goal of the game with five seconds left in regulation.
Evan Hauser was the Americans goaltender and he didn’t disappoint as he finished his first game in an Americans uniform with 20 saves in 60 minutes of play. Meanwhile, Glacier’s Ryan Lund stopped 54 of the 62 shot attempts by Great Falls in their second loss in as many nights. On Friday night, Helena blanked the Nationals 10-0. The Great Falls franchise ended their first game of the 2014-15 season with 62 shots on goal including 34 in the final period.
Krantz and Kalata each chipped in two goals and two assists apiece for the visiting team. The Americans only have four infractions for eight minutes of penalty time while Glacier had 17 infractions for 37 minutes.
The win gave Great Falls Americans coach Jeff Heimel his 100th career regular season victory as a head coach.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans have two games next week with the visiting Bozeman Ice Dogs coming to the Great falls Ice Plex on Friday, September 26th and then Great Falls will face the Billings Bulls on the following night (September 27th) in Billings, MT. Action begins both nights at 7:30PM.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – 1, Great Falls, Connor Barta (Marvin Simmons, Devin Panzeca), 3:37. 2, Great Falls, Austin Krantz (power play) (Robert Kalata, Lucas Stover), 5:21. 3, Glacier, Jarod Ackerman (Wyatt Fretheim, Brendan Jester), 18:35.
Second Period – 4, Great Falls, Robert Kalata (Wade Wylie, Lucas Lomax), 1:14. 5, Great Falls, Lucas Stover (Hunter Garris, Arseny Ivanov), 3:57. 6, Great Falls, Wade Wylie (power play) (Austin Krantz, Lucas Stover), 14:16. 7, Great Falls, Marvin Simmons (Michael Kliment, Evan Hauser), 19:19.
Third Period – 8, Glacier, Karson Frisk (short handed) (unassisted), 2:48. 9, Great Falls, Austin Krantz (Lucas Lomax, Robert Kalata), 4:11. 9, Great Falls, Robert Kalata (power play) (Lucas Lomax, Austin Krantz), 19:55.
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 62, Glacier 22.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 2-for-17, Glacier 0-for-2.
Attendance – 375
Additional Media Coverage: September 19, 2014: Great Falls Tribune: Junior A Hockey: Americans start hockey season tonight in Havre