Photo: Courtesy of Laura Richesin
By Kevin Scott
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CODY, Wyo., February 14, 2020 — Four games and four wins is what the Great Falls Americans (28-9-4-1) have done this season against the Yellowstone (WY) Quake.
The Americans, currently occupying third place in the eight-team Frontier Division, have already clinched one of six playoff spots for the upcoming 2020 Frontier Division Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Quake, who are 17-22-2-1 after 42 games this season, are currently in fifth place with the opportunity to receive a playoff spot with a few more victories.
The four wins against the Wyoming squad all came at the Great Falls Ice Plex. The rivalry took place in October and December with the host team outscoring Yellowstone, 22-1. One of Great Falls’ three shutout wins came with a 10-0 shellacking in their last meeting came before the 2019 NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Minnesota.
Jack Olson and Jake Hayes are the team leaders for the coach Greg Sears’s 2019-20 squad. Olson, a Minnesota native, lead the team in assists (39) and points (53) while first-year American, Jake Hayes is the top goal scorer with 27. Olson, Hayes along with teammate Logan Rachow will be suiting up for the Frontier Division team at the 2020 Top Prospects Tournament that begins a two-day run beginning on Monday, February 17th from the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Ohio native Dylan Rumpke lead the team with 69 points including 40 goals and is ranked 13th in the league in points. Local Wyoming product (Cody, WY) Jack Harris leads coach Phil Oberlin’s team with 38 assists.
Great Falls looks to get back on the winning track after suffering six losses in their last seven contests.
The Great Falls Americans scored three goals in the first two periods to eventually pick up their 28th victory of the season by posting a 5-2 win in Cody, Wyoming against the Yellowstone Quake on Friday night. The win by the Americans snapped a five-game losing streak with their last win occurring on January 24th against the Helena Bighorns in a 4-3 win in overtime. Jack Olson scored two points (1 goal and 1 assist) for the Americans.
Brody Boyce didn’t waste much time finding the back of the net as the first period began. The returning Great Falls forward from Colorado Springs, Colorado, scored off the stick of Dylan Olson for the early 1-0 lead for the Americans. Boyce’s 17th goal came 56 seconds into the first stanza. There was a total of 23 shot attempts by both squads, but Great Falls was the only team to get the biscuit in the basket. The fast-paced period saw just two minor penalties.
Braydon Rachow and Nick Silance each netted a goal to increase the lead for the Americans to 3-0. Luke Richesin, Henry Chavez and Brandon Peterson earned the assists. Yellowstone was held scoreless for the first 39 minutes before they scored to quick goals in a 21 second span to pull within one goal (3-2) before the middle period ended. Wyoming native Will Yates, who also was on the 2018-19 Yellowstone Quake team, added his 13th goal to his resume while defenseman Brock Risdon saw his second goal of the season come before the second intermission. Kirwin Johnson and Ryan Lovelace assisted on Yates’ scoring opportunity while Tyler Cramer assisted on the Risdon score. After two periods, Great Falls took 33 shots while Yellowstone put up 18 shots.
The visitors from Montana chipped in two goals while holding the home team scoreless during the final period. Nick Ramstad and Tommy Janes found a way to get the puck to Jack Olson, whose shot went by Quake netminder Logan Cooksy with 16 minutes remaining for the 4-2 advantage. For the 27th time this season, Jake Hayes accrued a goal midway through the stanza for the three-goal advantage. Both teams had many chances to score but came up short during the final nine minutes of action. The assists went to Jack Olson and Blake Nerney.
Great Falls denied Yellowstone from reaching double-digits in the shots-on-goal category. The Quake created nine shots each in the first two periods and finished with six in the third. The Americans had a game-high 19 shots in the middle stanza to end the night with 43 shots.
Eight total power play chances went unanswered and the officials called 12 penalties that accounted for 42 minutes in the penalty box. One game misconduct was issued by Yellowstone during the final seconds as the first of two weekend contests concluded in Wyoming.
Viktor Wennberg won his 19th game and his first in the month of February for Great Falls. His only blemish was allowing two goals by the Quake in the last 31 seconds of the second period. He finished with 22 saves. Logan Cooksy stopped 38 of 43 shots but his record fell to 3-5-1-1 in his second season with Yellowstone.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will play their final game in the state of Wyoming when they collide with the Quake on Saturday, February 15th live at 7:30PM from Riley Arena in Cody, Wyoming. Once again, HockeyTV will provide live coverage of the contest for paid subscribers to their streaming service.