Late goals lift the Americans to their fourth straight victory; earn sweep over Yellowstone

NOTE: A Special Thanks to Dustin Bauer for providing the photos 

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 15, 2022 — The Great Falls Americans (6-4-0-0), currently sitting at No. 3 in the Frontier Division and one point ahead of the #4 Butte Cobras (5-4-1-0), hosted the #8 Yellowstone Quake (2-8-0-0) for the final time this season at home, anyways. These two teams will face each other on the final regular season weekend on March 3-4, 2023, in Cody, Wyoming but will not meet before that date.

Great Falls has two of their five victories this season against the Quake, who they shutout on Friday evening in Great Falls, 2-0 (game story). They were looking to improve their head-to-head record against the Cody, Wyoming-based NA3HL franchise to 3-1 with a win on Saturday.

William Fallman scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and Alex Leaf ensured the #3 Great Falls Americans kept the four-game winning streak by scoring an empty net score with 26 seconds remaining to defeat the #8 Yellowstone (WY) Quake, 3-1 on Saturday evening at the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Fresh off a victory on Friday, the Americans took 56 seconds off the opening faceoff before they registered their first scoring opportunity. A pass from Garrett Weisenburger and Ben Cremers to defenseman Christian Crutcher, who registered his second goal of the season as the puck sailed by Yellowstone goalie Edvin Falkenstrom for the first goal of the game. Five minutes later, a goal by the Americans was nullified due to high sticking that would have made it a two-goal lead. Yellowstone scored their first goal of the weekend to even the contest (1-1) with 6:23 remaining in the first when Wyatt O’Donoghue’s pass to Brayson Bennett went into the net over Americans starting netminder Nik Romahs. Teagan Scheurer received the secondary assist. The Americans peppered the Quake’s defense with 19 shots while allowing 13.

Despite 30 shots being taken in the middle stanza, both clubs could not find a way to get the biscuit in the basket. After forty minutes of play, the home team had a 32-30 shots-on-goal advantage. Both teams missed their single power play opportunity.

Great Falls defenseman William Fallman scored the tie-breaking goal 14 minutes into the third period with helpers going to Tyler Sunagel and Silas Hughes. Sunagel and Hughes garnered their seventh and fourth assist, respectively. The Americans held a 2-1 lead for the next 5:27 until Alex Leaf scored his first goal in an empty net with 26 seconds left on the clock. Tyler Sunagel captured his second assist (eighth overall), and William Fallman earned his fifth assist of the year. Yellowstone took out goaltender Edvin Falkenstrom with 1:53 to get an extra player on the ice but put him back in after Leaf scored the third tally of the contest but it was too late for a Quake comeback attempt.

Great Falls took more shots (19-13) in the first period but was outshot by Yellowstone’s offense 34-27 in the second and third frames.

Christian Crutcher, William Fallman and Alex Leaf all scored once for the host squad and Tyler Sunagel added two assists for the winning side. Brayson Bennett scored his second goal of the season in the first period for coach Chris Blaisuis’ team.

The Americans and Quake committed four (minor) infractions resulting in eight minutes spent off the ice. Yellowstone went 1-for-4 on the power play and Great Falls had four attempts that went unanswered.

Nik Romahs, the Latvia goaltender for coach Greg Sears, improved his record to 2-1-0-0 on the season as he played outstanding by swatting away 46 of the 47 shots that the Quake sent his way. He had his second win against Yellowstone this season as his first came on October 24th in the Americans 6-1 win on home ice.

Edvin Falkenstrom saw his record fall to 1-5-0-0 in seven appearances this season for Yellowstone. The Sweden native had a season high of 43 saves. Falkenstrom’s lone win so far this season came against the Sheridan (WY) Hawks on September 10th in a 4-1 win where he amassed 22 saves.

NOTES: The Great Falls Community Ice Foundation (GFCIF) invites you to enjoy some delicious pizza from MOD Pizza (1125 10th Avenue South) on Halloween (October 31, 2022) from 10:30AM until 10:00PM with 20% of all the proceeds going towards the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Facebook Event Information: Halloween pizza fundraiser | Facebook

If dining in at the store, please used promotional code, MODF14051 when completing your order with the cashier. Fans can order online through the MOD App or MOD website and use the promotional code MODF14051 before completing their transaction.

GF AMERICANS PHOTOS: Be sure to check out all the 2022-23 Great Falls Americans photos on our website throughout the season. Dustin Bauer, Greg Sears, Kandi Rasmussen, and others have taken on and off the ice. Check them out by clicking here.

FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: The #1 Helena Bighorns (11-1-0-0) survived a scare in overtime against the #7 Badlands Sabres (2-7-1-0). Both squads each netted two goals to force an extra period. Joe Feamster scored the game-winning tally three minutes into the five-minute overtime to help the Bighorns avoid their second setback. Tyler Bloom led both teams with one goal and dished out one assist while netminder Jesse Schindel finished with 33 saves. Carter Johnson and Zach Vockler both acquired goals for the Sabres (box score).

The #2 Gillette (WY) Wild (8-1-0-1) led 2-0 after the first period and went on to defeat their Wyoming rivals, the #5 Sheridan (WY) Hawks (3-6-1-0), 5-3 in front of the home crowd at the Spirit Hall Ice Arena in Gillette, Wyoming on Saturday night. Gillette forward Adam Severson scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season for head coach Ethan Hayes’ team. Cole Whitman picked up his second win of the season by securing 24 saves. Meanwhile, the Hawks were led by Teejay Torgrimson’s two goals and Jack Wood went 0-2 on the weekend in the net but still recorded 55 saves in the loss (box score).

The Butte Community Ice Center hosted the #4 Butte Cobras (5-4-1-0) and the #6 Bozeman Ice Dogs (3-7-0-0) on Saturday evening. Butte scored two goals in the first and third to down the Ice Dogs, 4-2 with four different players getting in the scoring column for former Americans Associate Coach Kirk Golden’s fourth place Frontier Division squad. Micah Williamson and Patrick Crooks each scored once and had one assist and Caleb Cross added 39 saves. Bozeman’s Chris Porciuncula and Braden Koliha tallied the goals for the visitors in the loss (box score).

NEXT CONTEST: The second-ranked Gillette (WY) Wild will make their first of two season visits to the Great Falls Ice Plex when they play the Great Falls Americans on Friday and Saturday, October 21-22, 2022. The action starts at 7:30PM (MST) and can be seen live on HockeyTV. The Wild will also return to Great Falls on November 18-19th.