Great Falls races by Gillette 5-2
By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 6, 2015 — Tegan Harrington, Malachi Bushey, Arseny Ivanov, Connor Barta and Brendan Jester each got into the scoring column to pace the Great Falls Americans to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Gillette Wild team on Friday night at the Great Falls Ice Plex as 550 fans watched the Americans pick up their eleventh victory of the season. The sponsor of the night was McDonald’s, which handed out FREE Big Mac coupons as part of the “We Win, You Win” promotional night with the Americans.
Two weeks ago, these two Junior A hockey franchises met up in Wyoming with the Americans sweeping the weekend series scoring nine goals and allowing just three goals in the two games. Gillette is currently sitting in fifth place at .455 on the season (5-6 record) while Great Falls maintains the Frontier Division lead with a .786 (11-3 record).
During the first period, Great Falls scored twice to take a 2-0 lead against the fifth place Wild. Tegan Harrington and Malachi Bushey provided the scoring for Great Falls. Josh Larson and Austin Krantz recorded assists on the Harrington score while Bushey’s tally went to Great Falls native Blake Miller with less than seven minutes left in the stanza. Harrington’s first score came during the first 64 seconds of action. The opening twenty minutes saw just three minor penalties with the Wild having two of them.
Each team traded goals during the middle period. Arseny Ivanov, who received honorable mention honors as a defenseman in the NA3HL for the month of October, buried the puck into the goal early in the period to give the home team a three goal advantage. Josh Larson and Reed Link added the assists on the successful scoring opportunity. The Wild cut into the Americans lead (3-1) with 15 minutes on the clock with a goal by Michael Doyle. The assists came from RJ Yusko and Alex King. Connor Barta received his first points of the game with assistance from teammates Arseny Ivanov and Brendan Jester a few minutes after the Wild score as the home team tacked on their fourth goal of the evening. The Wyoming franchise got the puck through the net thanks to Hunter Johnson and Adam Maxfield finding an open RJ Yusko to trim the Americans lead to 4-2.
Brendan Jester, the Americans leading scorer, recorded his ninth goal of the year with help from Adam Apangalook on an empty net score to give the Americans the 5-2 lead with 1:14 left in regulation. Great Falls held Gillette scoreless in the final period.
Each team was successful on one of their five power plays. Great Falls’ Arseny Ivanov and Gillette’s RJ Yusko each found the back of the net.
Great Falls had just four penalties while Gillette received six resulting in a combined 20 total minutes.
Jake Stephan, the Eagle River, Wisconsin native, accumulated his fifth win in six games for the Americans. He finished with 23 saves and allowed just two second period scores by the Gillette offense. Alex Feese chipped in 37 saves in the loss for the Wild.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls faces the same Gillette Wild squad at home on Saturday, October 7th at 7:30PM.