By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
BUTTE, Mont., December 29, 2018 — The Butte Cobras (4-23-2-0) entered the 2018-19 season as a rookie team in the North American 3 Hockey League’s (NA3HL) Frontier Division.
The Great Falls Americans (23-7-0-1) have met the first-year opponent twice this season and have won handily by allowing just one goal in their two meetings. Great Falls crushed Butte, 12-1 at the Great Falls Ice Plex in September and cruised to a 9-1 advantage in Butte earlier this month.
Would Great Falls get their third victory against their new foe?
Jens Juliussen (1 goal, 5 assists), Cody Dearing (3 goals, 1 assist), and Payton McSharry (2 goals, 2 assists) led the charge for the Great Falls Americans dominating 14-4 win over the Butte Cobras on Saturday night in Butte, Montana. Great Falls had their highest goal total of the season with five goals in the first and third periods.
The Great Falls offense started the first period out strong. The Americans took a 3-0 lead after the first eight minutes of the opening period. Cody Dearing scored two goals and Levi Mese chipped in one for the visiting squad. Great Falls’ assist leader Jens Juliussen assisted on the first two scoring plays while Luke Richesin, Payton McSharry, Brody Boyce, and Nick Ramstad each earned one assist. The Cobras got on the scoreboard with 6:37 to go in the stanza when Saskatchewan native Tyson Stovin netted the unassisted goal over Great Falls netminder Drew Scites for his only blemish in the first twenty minutes. Great Falls scored five goals on 21 shots and Butte finished with a lone goal on 10 attempts.
In the second period, Lindros Beard lit up the lamp for the second time in as many periods as the Americans stretched their lead to five goals (6-1). Ben Rinckey and Nick Ramstad secured the assists. A few minutes later, George Nuutinen scored his third goal as a member of the Great Falls Americans with Jack Olson and Justin Ohnstad setting up the play. Payton McSharry, the leading scorer for the Americans, found a way to gather his 28th goal of the season near the end of the period as Great Falls continued to pile on the goals. Levi Mese, one of six Alaska players on the roster for the Americans, slipped the puck by Cobra goaltender Casey Mattfeldt to make the score 9-1. Butte ended the period with their second goal. Defenseman Wyatt Haakenson tallied the score with five seconds remaining with help from Tyson Stovin. The visiting team led 9-2 after two periods of play. Great Falls had 20 shots on goal.
During the first eight minutes of the final period, Great Falls racked up five more goals as Great Falls had the game in hand 14-2. Garrett Peters, Trent Cowden, and Brody Boyce all netted their first goals of the game while Payton McSharry added his second and Cody Dearing earned a hat trick for Great Falls. Assisting on the five scoring drives were Jens Juliussen who added two more to his five total on the night, Braxton Lorenz, Levi Mese, Nick Ramstad and Payton McSharry all registered assists during the final stanza. The Butte Cobras rounded out the scoring as Will Shults and Brandon Lyons each put the biscuit in the basket before the game concluded.
The scoring was abundant for Great Falls. Jens Juliussen scored six points (1 goal, 5 assists), Cody Dearing (3 goals, 1 assist) and Payton McSharry (2 goals, 2 assists) each scored four points, Braxton Lorenz, Nick Ramstad (3 assists apiece), and Levi Mese (2 goals, 1 assist) each gathered 3 points for coach Greg Sears’ team who dominated in all areas of the game.
The Americans, who are in second place in the Frontier Division, took at least 20 shots in each period for a total of 63. Butte fired off 23 (of their) 32 shots in the first forty minutes.
Both squads were called for six penalties with the Cobras picking up two majors. A total of 35 minutes was spent between these two junior hockey squads in the penalty box.
The Americans and Cobras utilized two netminders. Drew Scites was the game-winning goalie for the Americans as he accumulated 21 saves in two periods of action. Cam McIntosh played the entire third period and stopped seven of nine attempts by Butte. Sean Leonard was credited with the loss, but Casey Mattfeldt got the start for the host team. Mattfeldt finished with 27 saves and Leonard had 22.
NOTE: The game didn’t start until 8:00PM (MST) due to broken plexiglass during warm-ups that officials had to repair.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans continue their five-game road trip with a New Year’s Eve (December 31st) contest at the Glacier Ice Rink where they will meet the Missoula Jr. Bruins starting at 6:00PM. The first weekend of January (4th-5th), they travel to Gillette, Wyoming for a two-games series against the Gillette Wild. Both games slated to start at 7:05PM.
Additional Media Coverage: December 29, 2018: Great Falls Tribune: Americans tied for first with Bighorns after blowing out Cobras