By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 2, 2021 — On Saturday evening, the Great Falls Americans (16-5-1-0), now in second place in the eight-team Frontier Division of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), were playing their third consecutive home game with Great Falls hosting the #6 Helena Bighorns, who have a record of 6-13-0-0 in eighteen appearances.
After the first two games, Great Falls is 1-0-1-0 this weekend with a 7-0 shutout win against the #8 Butte Cobras on Thursday evening, but struggled against the #3 Missoula Junior Bruins (13-6-2-0) falling 5-4 in an overtime thriller where Great Falls came back to tie the contest with 14 seconds remaining in the regulation on a goal by Alex Jackson but fell to Missoula during the first 16 seconds of overtime when Liam Bland scored the game-winning goal for the Bruins.
The Helena Bighorns along with the Missoula Junior Bruins and the #4 Gillette Wild (12-8-1-1) are the only teams to give the Americans any trouble in the loss column. Great Falls is 3-2-0-0 against Helena this season including tonight’s 4-2 win. They defeated the Bighorns 3-2 on October 9th and December 4th before suffering two setbacks including a 2-1 loss on December 5th and were shutout by their rivals, 2-0 on December 11th. This is Helena’s first game back since the holiday break.
Jake Hayes was one goal short of a hat trick while Micah Serino and Bryson Fletcher dished out two assists as the #2 Great Falls Americans bounced back after their 5-4 overtime loss to the Missoula Junior Bruins last night with a 4-2 victory over the #6 Helena Bighorns during Saturday’s NA3HL action at the Great Falls Ice Plex.
The first period was all Jake Hayes-to-Micah Serino for two successful scoring opportunities to give the Great Falls Americans a 2-0 advantage before the first period ended. Hayes received his 13th goal while Serino accumulated his seventh assist. Bryson Fletcher also added an assist on the second tally, which was his 17th. The Americans took 17 shots on Bighorns netminder Anthony Adleman. Helena’s offense attempted just six shots.
The Americans and Bighorns traded goals during the first half of the middle period. Each team scored twice during the first ten minutes of action on the ice. Alex Jackson and Cole Komarek produced the goals for the home team. Helena capitalized on some Americans mistakes as Dylan Ferreira and Gavyn Galloway each added a goal to their resume. Portland, Oregon native Max Jacoshenk accrued his first assist and Bryson Fletcher received his second assist of the night and 18th overall for the second place Frontier Division squad. Andrew Deskin, Alex Bailey and Andrew MacCallum all assisted on coach Damon Hanson’s team. After forty minutes of action, Great Falls held a nine-shot advantage (32-23) over Helena.
Both teams kept the puck out of the net during the third stanza that featured no penalties.
Great Falls took a game-high 17 shots in the opening period and finished with 44. Helena had 17 in the middle period that led to 30 total shots after three periods.
The Americans and Bighorns each converted one of their three power play chances with both opportunities coming in the second period. Penalties were scarce in this game as each team was whistled for only two minor penalties.
Trever Mellen came out as the victorious goaltender for Great Falls with his 14th win in 17 games. He won for the second time this weekend and the third consecutive win dating back to December 18th after starting the season at 10-0-0-0. He was perfect in the first and third periods but gave up just two goals in the second to end the night with 21 saves. Anthony Adleman rejected 28 of the 32 shots put up by the Americans offense. The first-year player from Wisconsin suffered his third straight loss and is now 5-8-0-0 in 14 games.
NOTE: Jeff Heimel, the former Great Falls Americans Head Coach and General Manager (2012-2018) and current University of Providence (Great Falls, MT) head men’s hockey coach, was in attendance also doing some scouting.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will play the Missoula Junior Bruins in a rematch from Friday’s 5-4 overtime loss for Great Falls. The recently announced contest will begin at 11:30AM (MST) on Monday, January 4th from the Great Falls Ice Plex.
HockeyTV, which can be found on a variety of devices including some Smart TV’s, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android devices, and web browsers including Google Chrome, FireFox and Safari, airs all home and away games for each team in the North American 3 Hockey League with a paid subscription.
Click here if you would like more information about subscribing to Hockey TV (All Access). This is the only way fans can view the games since spectators are still not yet allowed into the home games in Great Falls due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the Cascade County Health Board.
Additional Media Coverage: January 2, 2021: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Highlights: Americans take down Bighorns, 4-2 (Video)