Helena escapes with a 5-3 win over Great Falls

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

HELENA, Mont., December 8, 2017 — Entering this contest, the Great Falls Americans (16-6-2-0) have had more victories than losses when playing the Helena Bighorns. Great Falls has won four of the five meetings.

Would the Americans get their fifth victory, or would Helena spoil the party?

Luc Cross scored two goals and Gavin Cline added a goal and one assist as the Helena Bighorns downed the Great Falls Americans 5-3 during Friday’s action at the Helena Ice Arena.

The opening period saw the Americans with a 2-1 deficit thanks to goals by Valary Dietz a Luc Cross to give Helena coach Bob Richards the early advantage. Gavin Cline and Kaden Lindberg assisted on the Dietz score while Mikhail Gavrilenko helped on the scoring drive by Cross. Great Falls’ Matt Janke took advantage with his seventh goal via a power play between the Bighorn scores.  All three scoring drives came within the first five minutes of the period.

Great Falls tied the game at 7:39 remaining in the middle period with an answer by Jens Juliussen with help from Payton McSharry. Helena broke the tie four minutes later with a Jarrett Scheibel score with assistance from teammates Hayden Seitz and Dane Rieger. Gavin Cline increased the Bighorns lead to 4-2 shortly after Scheibel’s contribution. Cline’s score would turn out to be the game-winner.

The Americans attempted a comeback while the Bighorns were down a man. Weston Goodman scored 1:52 into the third period to make the score 4-3. Trent Cowden and Adam Vandenbos created the assists on the second power play score of the night for Great Falls. Luc Cross would eventually put the game away with three minutes to go in the final contest for the Americans before the  2018 NA3HL Showcase Tournament begins in Blaine, Minnesota on December 17th through the 19th.

The Americans set up 35 shots-on-goal before the final period when they added 10. Helena finished by taking 47 including 18 in the third stanza.

The Americans spent lots of minutes in the penalty box. Their 11 infractions resulted in 64 minutes of penalty time. The 10 infractions by Helena resulted in them finishing with 31 minutes.

Nick Battaglia received the win be gathering 42 saves and allowing three goals. Americans goalie Mack Willy played 59 minutes and ended with 42 saves in the loss.

NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans and the rest of the North American 3 Hockey League teams will be in Blaine, Minnesota for the three-day NA3HL Showcase Tournament beginning on Friday, December 17 and finishing up on Sunday, December 19th. Great Falls plays the Mid Cities (TX) Jr. Stars on Sunday at 1:45PM (MST), the LaCrosse (WI) Freeze at 2:30PM (MST) on Monday and on Sunday, they will face the Oswego (NY) Stampede at 8:30AM (MST). For more information about the tournament that will feature many college and junior scouts in attendance, please click here.