By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 10, 2015 — The Billings Bulls (16-13-4) have made it difficult for the Great Falls Americans (26-5) this season accounting for two of their five losses.
The Americans are 3-2 this season against the Bulls including a 6-1 loss in Billings on New Year’s Eve. In their first four meetings, Billings has outscored the Great Falls franchise 10-8.
The Great Falls Americans scored three times in the final period to defeat the visiting Billings Bulls 5-2 at the Great Falls Ice Plex on Saturday night as 686 fans watched the home team pick up their 26th win in 31 games.
During the first five minutes of the opening period, both teams exchanged points. Great Falls struck first as Great Falls native Connor Barta got the first points of the contest. Cody Page and Lucas Stover assisted on the score with 18:03 on the clock. Tristan Henrichs tied the game for Billings as he answered for the Bulls a few minutes later. Ralfs Karelis and Cameron Birklid provided the assists on the Bulls scoring opportunity.
Austin Krantz’ goal early in the second period gave the Americans a 2-1 lead. Dylan Garton and Lucas Lomax were each credited with the assists with 15:08 left before the second intermission. A goal by Cameron Birklid with 18 seconds remaining in the middle period tied the NA3HL contest at 2-2. Ralfs Karelis picked up his second assist of the night for the Bulls. Great Falls maintained a 35-20 shots on goal advantage after forty minutes of action.
The Americans wasted little time regaining the lead in the last period. Lucas Lomax’s unassisted goal came during the first two minutes. The Phoenix, Arizona native chipped in his team-leading 20th goal of the season. Great Falls picked up their second goal of the period at the twelve minute mark as Wade Wylie found the back of the net over Billings goaltender Cole Semchak. Marvin Simmons and Hunter Garris earned the assists on the successful scoring opportunity. Dylan Garton provided the final points for the Americans on an empty net goal with 44 seconds left in regulation. The unassisted goal was Garton’s twelfth goal in 31 games.
The game between these two clubs saw a total of eight infractions for 24 minutes of penalty time.
Great Falls and Billings finished with a combined 0-for-5 on power play chances.
The Great Falls franchise accumulated 52 of the game’s 81 shots on goal. Lauren Massie finished with 27 saves for Great Falls and is now 12-5 on the season. Meanwhile, Cole Semchak of Billings swatted away 47 of the 51 shot attempts he faced against Great Falls.
NEXT CONTEST: The Glacier Nationals will be in Great Falls on Sunday, January 11th for a 4:00PM afternoon contest against the Americans at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – 1, Great Falls, Connor Barta (Cody Page, Lucas Stover), 1:57. 2, Billings, Tristan Henrichs (Cameron Birklid, Ralfs Karelis), 4:46.
Second Period – 3, Great Falls, Austin Krantz (Dylan Garton, Lucas Lomax), 4:52. 4, Billings, Cameron Birklid (Ralfs Karelis), 19:42.
Third Period – 5, Great Falls, Lucas Lomax (unassisted), 1:50. 6, Great Falls, Wade Wylie, (Marvin Simmons, Hunter Garris), 8:04. 7, Great Falls, Dylan Garton (empty net) (unassisted), 19:16.
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 52, Billings 29.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-2, Billings 0-for-3.
Attendance – 686
Additional Media Coverage: January 11, 2015: Great Falls Tribune: Great Falls Americans top Billings