By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GILLETTE, Wyo., October 22, 2015 — The last time the Great Falls Americans and the Gillette Wild met was during last year’s regular season. The Great Falls Americans won five of their eight meetings.
Thursday night’s matchup was their first of the 2015-16 NA3HL season. Great Falls (7-2) started the season winning their first five contests before falling twice to the Yellowstone Quake and a 7-2 victory over the Billings Bulls last Friday in Billings, Montana. After winning their opening three contests, the Wild (5-4) have since won three straight. The Americans still lead the Frontier Division standings while the Gillette franchise currently sits in third place behind Yellowstone.
The top-ranked Great Falls Americans scored in each of the three periods to down the third place Gillette Wild 4-1 on Thursday night at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena in Wyoming. Alaska native Brendan Jester played a part in each of the four Great Falls goals scored by providing an assist or adding a goal.
Brendan Jester, a 5’11” forward from Anchorage, Alaska, added a pair of goals during the opening period to give the Americans a 2-0 advantage after twenty minutes of action. Steve Goran assisted in the first goal 1:24 into the period while Jester’s seventh goal of the season went unassisted midway through the period. Although Gillette failed to score, they did have two power play chances that they couldn’t convert. Great Falls forced 13 shots against Gillette goaltender Alex Feese while only nine were taken by the Gillette offense.
The Americans took advantage of a power play opportunity with a goal by Adam Apangalook to increase the lead for the Americans (3-0) early in the middle period. Brendan Jester, who scored the first two goals on Thursday night, assisted on the play as did Miles Giorgione. The Wild cut into the Americans lead (3-1) as Alex King and Preston Fuller got the puck to Cade Boreing for the host team’s first points of the evening at the 12:57 mark. Each NA3HL team recorded nine shots-on-goal after the first intermission.
The top-ranked Frontier Division team put in their fourth goal as Steven Goran sailed the puck through the net to give the Great Falls squad a three-goal lead during the last stanza. The host team was unable to get the puck in the net after the second intermission.
There were 466 fans in attendance that saw Brendan Jester score the first two points for Great Falls as well as one assist apiece in the final two periods. Steve Goran contributed one goal and an assist in the win.
Adam Apangalook’s successful scoring drive in the second period was the only power play opportunity that accounted for points in the game. Great Falls finished 1-for-3 while Gillette missed all four of their chances.
The visiting team racked up 29 of the 54 total shots on goal by the two Frontier Division squads.
The game in Wyoming saw only seven minor penalties with 14 minutes of penalty time.
Lauren Massie continued his winning ways behind the net as he registered 24 saves allowing just one goal. In his five appearances this season, he has allowed only six goals while compiling a 4-1 record for coach Jeff Heimel’s team. Meanwhile, Alex Feese swatted away 25 shots for Gillette.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will play one more contest against the Gillette Wild (7:00PM, Fri. Oct. 23rd) before heading home to face the Bozeman Ice Dogs for the first time this season on Saturday, October 24th. The action starts at 7:30PM at the Great Falls Ice Plex.