By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 20, 2017 — When the Great Falls Americans (8-1-1-0) faced off in their first series of the 2017-18 season three weeks ago, each team came away with a victory.
Those two games were held at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena in Wyoming.
On Friday night, it was Great Falls’ turn to host the battle on the ice.
Great Falls raced out to a 5-2 lead heading into the final period against the Wild and found themselves with a convincing 8-4 victory in front of the home crowd. The 705 fans witnessed eight different Americans get scoring opportunities.
Gillette took the early 1-0 advantage as Cody Walters celebrated his second goal of the season as he sailed the puck by Americans netminder Mack Willy. Trent Cowden tied up the game (1-1) off a pass from Jens Juliussen at the midway point of the opening stanza.
The Americans answered with four straight scoring opportunities in the next period. Payton McSharry, Kody Thomas, Adam Vandenbos, and Michael Fary each contributed points for coach Jeff Heimel’s junior hockey team. Brooks Mitzel cut Gillette’s deficit to 5-2 later in the period. Jack Oberg and Hunter Peterson assisted on the second goal for coach Brandon Hodge’s squad. The home team held a slight advantage in shots after two periods (28-24).
During the first 4:32 of the third, Gillette and Great Falls gathered two goals apiece. Cody Dearing and Matt Janke led the charge for Great Falls while Brooks Mitzel and Nick Stockert found the back of the net for the visiting team. After ten-minutes of strong defense by both squad, Great Falls racked up the final goal of the evening. Weston Goodman connected on the power play score with five minutes remaining.
The Americans finished the game with a 43-37 edge in shots. Great Falls capitalized on half of their power play chances (2-for-4).
Nine of the 14 total penalties that were called came in the final twenty minutes.
Mack Willy added 33 saves for the Americans while his counterpart, Aaron LaChance had 35 for the Gillette Wild.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans and Wild will meet for the fourth time this year on Saturday, October 21st in Great Falls.
Additional Media Coverage: October 20, 2017: Great Falls Tribune: Americans play host to Gillette
Additional Media Coverage: October 21, 2017: Great Falls Tribune: Americans handle Gillette