By Kevin Scott
HELENA, Mont., January 3, 2015 — The Great Falls Americans (25-5) came into Saturday’s NA3HL hockey contest with a 4-0 record against the Helena Bighorns (20-7-1). With a 3-1 win at home on Friday night against the Bighorns, Great Falls snapped Helena’s four game win streak.
Great Falls has played exceptionally well on the road as they held an 11-1 record with their only road loss to Billings on New Year’s Eve before this game.
The Americans were hoping for their fifth straight win over their rivals and their 12th road win of the season but would they be able to stop the offensive attack by Helena?
No, they couldn’t stop one of their top players from scoring.
Brandt Miller scored once in the second and third periods as Helena blanked the Great Falls Americans 2-0 in front of 555 fans at the Helena Ice Arena on Saturday night. Great Falls has won four of their five meetings so far this season with three more matchups remaining this season.
Great Falls and Helena remained scoreless during first period action with neither team finding the back of the net. Each team had eight shots on goals and one missed power play opportunity.
Brandt Miller put Helena on the scoreboard first with a successful power play score. Nick Trefry and Brandon Miller added the assists with 12:53 left in the second period. Great Falls did out-shoot Helena 12 to 10 in the period and maintained a 20-18 advantage despite trailing 1-0 after the first forty minutes.
Brandt Miller scored his second goal for the Bighorns in the final period to ensure the victory for the Helena club. Johnny Bonta’s pass to an open Miller for the empty net score with 55 seconds left in the NA3HL contest gave Helena their 20th victory.
Both rivals incurred eight minutes of penalty time with four minors.
Miller converted the only power play opportunity for the Helena NA3HL franchise on his first points of the night in the second period. Great Falls went 0-for-3.
Grant Martens picked up the win for Helena as he stopped all 32 shots that the Americans attempted on the night. Great Falls’ Lauren Massie earned 29 saves in his fifth loss of the season.
NEXT CONTEST: The Americans will return home for two games next weekend (Jan. 10-11th). The Billings Bulls will come to the Great Falls Ice Plex on Saturday, January 10th for a 7:30PM showdown. The Glacier Nationals will come to town on Sunday afternoon with the game taking place at 4:00PM.
|Period 1||Period 2||Period 3||Final|
First Period – NO SCORING
Second Period – 1, Helena, Brandt Miller (power play) (Nick Trefry, Brandon Mills), 7:07.
Third Period – 2, Helena, Brandt Miller (empty net) (extra attacker) (Johnny Bonta), 19:05.
Shots on Goal – Great Falls 32, Helena 31.
Power-play Opportunities – Great Falls 0-for-3, Helena 1-for-3.
Attendance – 555
Additional Media Coverage: January 4, 2015: Great Falls Tribune: Americans blanked on road by Bighorns