By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
HAVRE, Mont., December 30, 2016 — The 27 games that the Great Falls Americans (19-3-2-3) have played in during the 2016-17 season have been mostly wins.
So far this season, the third-place Americans (in the Frontier Division) easiest opponent has been the Havre-based Glacier Nationals, who are currently sit at the bottom of the Division with a 1-27-1-0 record. The Great Falls Americans have not only gone 6-0 this season (with three games at the Great Falls Ice Plex) against the Nationals, they have never allowed any goals in their head-to-head meetings. Coach Jeff Heimel’s squad has racked up 60 goals including a 14-0 victory back on December 1st.
Tanner Congdon and Danny O’Donnell continue to lead the Great Falls NA3HL junior hockey franchise in goals and assists, respectively. Congdon, a forward from Anchorage, Alaska, is the team leader in goals scored with 23 while also dishing out 18 assists. O’Donnell, in his first season with Great Falls, has accumulated 25 assists while playing in all 27 games this season.
Meanwhile, the Glacier Nationals, led by head coach Rob Powell, have had a challenging season after playing 29 games. Michigan native and forward Gavin Cline currently has scored 15 points including eight goals. Douglas, Wyoming native Zach Houck has recorded nine assists.
The Great Falls Americans picked up their nineteenth win of the season with a crushing, 9-0 win over the Glacier Nationals during Friday night’s NA3HL ice hockey action at the Havre Ice Dome, in Havre, Montana. Great Falls has won all six meeting this season while racking up 60 goals while never giving up a goal to the Nationals. They will meet twice more on the ice before the season concludes.
The visiting team from Great Falls scored a pair of goals during first period action against the Nationals. Adam Vandenbos, the 5’6” forward from Anchorage, Alaska, put his fourth goal in the net at the 8:48 mark with help from Jesse Johnson and Michael Fary, who gathered his first assist of the season. The Americans picked up their second goal of the night one minute later as Jesse Johnson got the puck between the pipes during a power play opportunity. Tanner Congdon chipped in his 18th assist. Glacier recorded three of the four total penalties in the period.
During the middle period, the Americans lit up the lamp seven times. Danny O’Donnell scored twice while teammates Brendan Jester, Malachi Bushey, Normunds Vibans, Matt Larson and Dustin Truex each had one goal. The successful scoring opportunities by Bushey, Vibans and Larson came while Glacier was down a man. Jesse Johnson earned his second assist in as many periods. Other players gathering assists were Sandis Mezharaups, Adam Vandenbos, Malachi Bushey and Nathan Margeson. Great Falls held a 45-14 shots-on-goal advantage after the first two periods.
The third and final period saw no scoring from either team. The Americans took 18 shots while allowing just three unsuccessful shots to go towards the goaltender.
Each squad ended the contest with ten infractions. The Americans scored four goals on the night while Glacier was in the penalty box and out-shot the host team, 63-22.
In addition to Danny O’Donnell’s two goals, Jesse Johnson scored one goal and had two assists and Adan Vandenbos and Malachi Bushey each scored once and finished with one assist.
Great Falls and Glacier utilized both goaltenders. Starting goaltender Kyler Ayers played the first two periods before backup Trace Parker came into the game. Ayers stopped all 14 shots while Parker re-directed eight in the win. Will Langstaff started the game for the Nationals before being replaced for the final period by Jeremiah Clark, who also suited up for the Helena Bighorns and the Missoula Junior Bruins this season. Langstaff had 21 saves but allowed eight goals. Clark swatted away all 33 shots that he faced in final twenty minutes.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans play the Missoula Junior Bruins to end 2016 on Saturday, December 31st with a scheduled start of 7:30PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Loaf N’ Jug is the sponsor for the New Year’s Eve contest.
Additional Media Coverage: December 29, 2016: KINX-FM (102.7FM, Great Falls): Americans coach Heimel a guest on radio show this week:Great Falls Americans head coach Jeff Heimel was one of the guest’s on the Sports Chat on KINX 102.7FM on Thursday morning. He talked about the 2017-18 season after the first four month of action, about his family and the Showcase Tournamane with radio hosts Jim Sargent and Great Falls Tribune Sports Writer Scott Mansch. Jeff comes on at about the 10:25 mark of the radio show and lasts about nine minutes. Here is the link: Local radio sports chat show features Americans coach Jeff Heimel