By Kevin Scott
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MISSOULA, Mont., December 1, 2017 — Both the Great Falls Americans (15-5-2-0) and the Missoula Jr. Bruins have each tasted victory multiple times in their five head-to-head appearances together.
Great Falls has come out on top in three games.
Great Falls American standouts Payton McSharry and Jens Juliussen led the visiting Great Falls Americans to a hard-fought 4-2 win over the Missoula Jr. Bruins on the first night of December at the Glacier Ice Rink in Missoula. McSharry and Juliussen each dished out a goal and an assist.
Five minutes into the first stanza, Great Falls completed their first scoring drive of the night. Jens Juliussen passed to Payton McSharry for the opening score. The contest would be a one goal affair until the final 57 seconds Michael Fary scored his eighth goal in 22 games for Great Falls.
Tanner Rath, a forward from Alaska, netted the Americans third goal nearly seven minutes into the period. Michael Houlihan and Michael Fary helped set up the play. Cameron Cunningham and Hayden Moistner, who both played previously for the Americans, cut the Missoula deficit to 3-1 with Cunningham scoring at the midway point. Both teams contributed 23 shots.
After the second intermission, Missoula found themselves down by one goal as Misha Akatnov and Josh Kirk assisted on Vadim Zubkov’s tally. The last ten minutes of action both offenses threatened to score but Great Falls prevailed by getting the last goal of the contest via an empty net. Payton McSharry garnered the assist.
Great Falls sent 17 and 18 shots to the net during the first and third periods to end the contest with 41 shots-on-goal. The Bruins out-shot the visiting team 15-6 in the middle period and acquired 28 shots in the loss.
The teams had to settle for no goals despite having six power play opportunities. Great Falls had two penalties each in the final two periods that resulted in 19 minutes in the penalty box.
Bryan Sharp let two goals into the net by the Missoula offense, but played a great game guarding the net, ended with getting an additional 26 saves to give him 396 in 12 contests. Missoula goalie Brian Thomas swatted away 37 of the Americans 40 attempts.
NEXT CONTEST: The Glacier Ice Rink will be the host of another NA3HL game between these two rivals on Saturday, December 2nd.