Photo: Courtesy of Laura Richesin
By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 6, 2018 — During their first meeting on Friday evening (October 5th), Great Falls (8-1-0-0) raced out to a 7-0 lead after two periods before the Gillette Wild (2-4-1-1) got on the scoreboard.
Great Falls went on to defeat the visiting team from Wyoming, 9-2. Lindros Beard led the way for the home team by securing two goals and dishing out one assist during the first period.
Jens Juliussen scored two goals and dished out one assist and Payton McSharry scored four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and goaltender Viktor Wennberg had 25 saves as the Great Falls Americans rounded up their eighth victory by defeating the visiting Gillette Wild 6-2 on Saturday evening in Great Falls.
Coleman Varty, one of the top leading scorers for Gillette, scored his seventh goal of the season to give the Wild an early advantage on Saturday night in Great Falls. The product of Pierre, South Dakota scored on a power play with 46 seconds remaining in the opening stanza thanks to assistance by Gage Thompson and Jacob Kaminski. Great Falls didn’t wait until the second period to tie the contest. The Americans evened up the score when Matt Janke slid the puck by Gillette netminder Viktor Wennberg with 33 ticks left on the clock. Trent Cowden and Payton McSharry racked up one assist apiece. Coach Greg Sears’ squad took 12 of the 19 total shots during the 20-minute period.
Jens Juliussen took advantage of a Gillette penalty when he netted his sixth goal in nine contests with help from Payton McSharry, who assisted for the second time in the contest. The power play opportunity came within the first two minutes of the middle period. Payton McSharry increased the lead for the Americans (3-1) at the 5:12 mark. Pennsylvania native Bailey Williams added his first assist for the Americans. Great Falls put up 18 shots while Gillette attempted 10.
Payton McSharry recorded his third assist and Matt Janke added another assist to his season total of ten when they found Jens Juliussen for his second goal of the night three minutes into the final period as the
host team led 4-1. The Wild scored once more but wouldn’t get any closer. Gage Thompson lit up the lamp midway through the period to pull the Wild to within a two-goal difference (4-2). Zach VanCompernolle and Coleman Varty assisted on the power play. Great Falls would tack on two more scores with Jack Olson and Trent Cowden adding goals to their resume. Jens Juliussen assisted on Olson’s scoring drive while Cowden earned his via an empty net with 53 seconds remaining to ensure the Americans victory.
The Great Falls Americans still sit in second place behind the Helena Bighorns, who improved their record to 8-0 with a convincing 8-2 win over the Bozeman Ice Dogs tonight.
Great Falls posted 47 total shots after three periods while Gillette receive ten shots in the final two periods for a total of 27.
Tensions weren’t as high as in Friday’s contest when Great Falls had five major penalties. On Saturday, Great Falls received seven minor infractions resulting in 14 minutes of penalty time. Gillette had six penalties and served 12 minutes in the penalty box.
Viktor Wennberg has won all three appearance for Great Falls in the net. The goalie hailing from Stockholm, Sweden ended his night with 25 saves while giving up two goals. Cody Grogan took another loss for the Wild but accumulated 41 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: Before the Great Falls Americans embark on a three-game road trip next weekend (Bozeman once, Gillette twice), they finish off their homestand with the Gillette Wild on Saturday, October 6th with game time set for 7:30PM from the Great Falls Ice Plex.