By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 7, 2017 — To say that the Great Falls Americans (23-3-2-3) have been dominant against the Glacier Nationals (1-30-1-0) is an understatement.
Great Falls is 7-0 against the Havre-based NA3HL team this season but what is more impressive is that the Nationals have yet to score against them. The Americans have scored 65 goals against them including three double-digit victories.
During Friday’s NA3HL junior hockey action, Great Falls won their fourth straight game and third consecutive over the Missoula Junior Bruins by posting a 6-3 win in Great Falls. Meanwhile, the Nationals were blanked by the Helena Bighorns in Havre, 3-0. Helena’s Bradley Estrada had a hat trick.
Glacier lost their 24th straight hockey game this season and haven’t tasted victory since their October 8th win over the Billings Bulls (6-3).
Tegan Harrington scored two goals and teammate Tanner Congdon recorded a hat trick as the second-ranked Great Falls Americans earned a 5-0 shutout victory over the eighth-place Glacier Nationals during Saturday night’s NA3HL junior hockey contest in Great Falls.
Great Falls scored the only goal during a quick first period that saw just one minor infraction by Great Falls. Tegan Harrington, a 6’0” forward from Wasilla, Alaska, scored his 16th goal of the season. The unassisted scoring drive came with 6:02 left before the first intermission. Great Falls took 16 shots while holding Glacier to nine.
The Americans added two more successful scoring drives during the middle period. Tegan Harrington gathered his second goal of the night off the stick of teammate Sandis Mezharaups early in the stanza. Before the end of the period, Danny O’Donnell took advantage of a power play and got the puck to Tanner Congdon, who tallied his 27th goal. Brendan Jester also assisted on the scoring opportunity. After both periods, Great Falls accumulated 44 shots while giving up 18.
Tanner Congdon racked up one more goal for the Americans seven minutes into the third period. The fourth goal came via Jesse Johnson and Payton McSharry while the Nationals were down a man. Congdon wasn’t done yet as the Alaska native capped off the night for the Americans with his third goal for a hat trick with under five minutes left in regulation. Jesse Johnson was awarded his second assist while Michael Fary picked up his first.
Great Falls took nearly three times as many shots-on-goal as Glacier did (58-20). The host team held the visiting team to just two total shots in the third frame.
Great Falls stayed away from the penalty box for most of the night and finished with three penalties resulting in six minutes of penalty time. The Havre-based NA3HL team accrued eight penalties resulting in 32 minutes.
Kyler Ayers picked up the win for Great Falls and swatted away all 20 shots that the Glacier offense sent his way. Brendan Schultz ended his night for the Nationals with 53 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: The second-ranked Americans return to action next weekend (Jan. 13-14) when they travel to Cody, Wyoming to face the top-ranked team in the Frontier Division, the Yellowstone Quake, who have already defeated the Americans twice this season. Both games on Friday and Saturday begin at 7:30PM (MST) from Riley Arena.
Additional Media Coverage: January 7, 2017: Great Falls Tribune: Americans blank Nationals