Photo: Courtesy of Laura Richesin
By Kevin Scott
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HELENA, Mont., September 29, 2018 — It was two of the best teams in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) battling it out on the ice to see who reins supreme in the Frontier Division.
The Great Falls Americans (6-1-0) and the Helena Bighorns (7-0-0) met for the first time this season. The two tangled at the Helena Ice Arena on Saturday with the winner sitting atop the Frontier Division standings.
Elliot Plourde recorded his second hat trick of the season as the Helena Bighorns led throughout their contest with the Great Falls Americans and defeated their Montana rival, 7-1 at the Helena Ice Arena.
The Americans and Bighorns took 16 total shots but neither team could find the back of the net during the opening period. Each team went to the penalty box twice for minor infractions.
Forward Elliot Plourde scored the first of his three goals for the Bighorns 65 seconds into the second period. Darren Donovan and Porter Tirrill added the assists on the successful power play opportunity. Helena lit up the lamp twice during the final six minutes before the second intermission. Ty Niskanen and Darren Donovan got the puck around Great Falls goalie Drew Scites to put the home team on top, 3-0. Justin Sullivan assisted on both Niskanen’s and Donovan’s scoring drives. Helena out-shot Great Falls 21-17 after the first forty minutes.
After Nicholas Pedersen secured his first tally of the season for the Bighorns (4-0), Great Falls responded which would result in their lone goal of the game. Jens Juliussen put the biscuit in the basket four minutes into the third period. The two players setting up the play were Luke Richesin and Matt Janke. Elliott Plourde scored twice, and Abraham Laggis scored once to round out the scoring for the undefeated Bighorns squad. Hayden Seitz, Ricards Groskops and Justin Sullivan each assisted during the three-goal scoring spree. Sullivan ended the night with four assists.
Helena took 25 of the 43 shots including 15 in the middle period.
Penalties played a big part of the outcome of the contest. Great Falls had a few major penalties that resulted in 41 minutes of sitting in the penalty box. Helena finished with seven infractions including two major penalties accounting for 30 minutes.
Alexander Rogers received his second win in the net for the Bighorns. The Anaheim, California native had 17 saves. Drew Scites, who took his first loss of the season for the Americans, stopped 18 of the 25 shots the Bighorns offense sent his way.
NEXT CONTEST: The Gillette Wild will make the trip up to Great Falls to take on the Americans next weekend (October 5-6th) with games starting at 7:30PM each night.
Additional Media Coverage: October 1, 2018: Great Falls Tribune: Helena Bighorns hand Americans first loss of the season