By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., February 24, 2018 — The Great Falls Americans (31-10-2) were hoping to even up their season series with the Yellowstone Quake from Cody, Wyoming.
After escaping with a 2-1 win over Yellowstone in a shootout on Friday evening, Great Falls was looking to get to 0.500 against their rivals.
Forward Michael Houlihan’s first period goal prove to be the eventual game-winning goal for the Great Falls Americans as they held on for the 1-0 victory that was a defensive battle throughout the contest against the Yellowstone Quake in Great Falls.
Michael Houlihan opened the scoring during the first period for Great Falls. The ensuing game-winning tally came at 13:04 over Yellowstone goaltender Reid Waszczenko.
The home team won despite being out-shot during the second and third periods, 39-23 and 45-38 when the game concluded.
The huge nightly crowds that gather at the Great Falls Ice Plex are a big reason why the Americans play well on home ice. The nearly 1,100 fans saw the American pick up two victories over the top-ranked Frontier Division team this past weekend.
The seven penalties called on each squad resulted in 36 minutes in the penalty box. No scoring came during the nine power play opportunities, although both teams tried unsuccessfully.
Drew Scites recorded the shutout win for coach Jeff Heimel’s playoff bound Americans team. Scites was the main reason the Americans edges the Quake due to his 45 saves. Reid Waszczenko also had a big night as he stopped 37 of the 38 and was perfect after the first period for Yellowstone.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans have four more regular season contests to close out the 2017-18 season with two games each against the Helena Bighorns and Bozeman Ice Dogs in March. But first, the teams take a break for the 2018 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament being held at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Minnesota. The two-day all-star format tournament is set for February 27th and 28th features many scouts in attendance with many coming from the junior, NCAA, and NHL levels.