MISSOULA HANDS GREAT FALLS SECOND LOSS OF SEASON WITH 5-3 SETBACK

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 28, 2020 — The #3 Missoula Junior Bruins (9-4-2-0), the only team that has defeated the Great Falls Americans (12-2-0-0), came to town for the third time this season (fourth game played overall).

Great Falls was 2-1-0-0 against Missoula entering tonight’s matchup. The Americans, under head coach Greg Sears, won at home back on October 25th, 4-2 and then also played them on the road in Helena, Montana (due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place in Missoula, MT, they weren’t allowed to host the game) on November 20th when they also tasted victory over the Bruins, 4-2. Last Saturday, November 21st is when Missoula pulled ahead early and hung on to shock the Americans, 4-3 despite an attempted comeback that fell short by the host team.

Great Falls released a few players since then including forwards Nick Jensen, goaltender Cecil Meredeth, and Blake Nerney, who is now with the Bozeman Ice Dogs. William Hart, played in two contests for Great Falls, joined Nerney with the Ice Dogs. New additions to the squad are Hunter Maschke, a Michigan product who came over from the Bozeman Ice Dogs and scored 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) for them this season in 14 appearances. Connor Chesner, a defenseman who calls Aspen, Colorado home, has also joined the top team in the Frontier Division. He appeared briefly with the Rochester (Minnesota) Grizzlies, an NA3HL team from the Central Division, for a game.

Great Falls was trying to redeem their home loss last week against the third-ranked Bruins. Would they get their third victory in four games against them?

Trevor Prince, Pablo Frank, and Liam Bland helped lift the Missoula Junior Bruins to a 5-3 win over the Great Falls Americans during Saturday’s action at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Prince and Frank each added two goals and two assists apiece while Bland scored once and dished out four assists for the visiting team. Alex Jackson paced the Americans with two goals and Bryson Fletcher accrued two assists in the second loss of the season.

Five goals were scored during the first period. Eight minutes into the stanza, Missoula led 2-0 behind a pair of goals by Trevor Prince. Liam Bland had two assists followed by one assist apiece by Owen Miley and Pablo Frank. Later in the first period, Great Falls cut the deficit to 2-1 as Alex Jackson found the back of the net with assistance from Tyler Lorring and Braedon Monroe. Liam Bland gave the Bruins their two-goal lead back with 4:12 remaining. Pablo Frank and Trevor Prince earned the assists. Before the first intermission, Henry Chavez recorded his fifth goal with Bryson Fletcher and Harley Nyhuis setting up the Americans second scoring drive to cut into the Bruins lead (3-2). The first twenty minutes both squads accumulated a total of 29 shots-on-goal.

Alex Jackson capitalized on his second scoring drive of the night (eleventh overall) to even the score at 3-3 five minutes into the middle period. Bryson Fletcher added his second assist and Connor Doyle picked up his first while the Bruins were in the penalty box. Missoula forward Pablo Frank broke the tie with 29 seconds remaining in the second stanza and put the Bruins back in front, 4-3. Liam Bland chipped in his third assist and Owen Miley gathered his second of the contest. The shots were close after two periods with the Americans accounting for 28 of the 54 shots taken.

Missoula held on to a one-goal lead for the first 18 minutes of the third period before they executed their fifth scoring play when Liam Bland and Trevor Prince got the puck to an open Pablo Frank to ensure the Americans would fall for the second time this season.

Both teams created over 25 shots in the contest with Great Falls ending the night with 28.

The Americans only second period goal came when the Bruins were down a man. Great Falls went 1-for-5 while Missoula squandered their four power play opportunities. Great Falls had no penalties issued during the first two periods but found themselves with six in the final stanza that resulted in 30 minutes in the sin bin. Missoula was called for five minor infractions with ten minutes of penalty time.

Trevor Prince and Pablo Frank scored most of the goals for the third ranked Bruins as they combined for four of the five total goals. Liam Bland had the other goal. Meanwhile, Alex Jackson (two goals) and Henry Chavez (one goal) led the home team.

First year goaltender, Maxim Currie, improved to 7-2-0-0 on the season for Missoula. He allowed two goals in the first and one in second to finish with 25 saves. Despite allowing five goals, Trever Mellen added 22 saves and his record fell to 10-2-0-0 after winning the first ten games for Great Falls.

NOTE: In an effort to slow down the coronavirus pandemic in Cascade County, the Cascade County Health Board has imposed an order that did not allow spectators in the stands at the Great Falls Ice Plex for tonight’s matchup with the Missoula Junior Bruins. This marks the second consecutive week this season that fans were not able to attend an NA3HL contest in Great Falls after allowing no more than 125 people prior to this weekend’s home game.  

NEXT CONTEST: Due to the Missoula Junior Bruins and the Butte Cobras (the original teams on the schedule for the upcoming week), having COVID-19 restrictions, Great Falls will now play the Helena Bighorns three times in one week.

Great Falls will travel to Helena, Montana for two of the next three games starting with Friday’s (December 4th) contest slated to begin at 12:00PM (MST) and Saturday’s (December 5th) contest in Helena at 7:05PM (MST).

Great Falls will host the Helena Bighorns on Friday, December 11th at 7:30PM from the Great Falls Ice Plex.

Due to the new Cascade County COVID-19 restrictions now in place, the Great Falls Americans are unable to have any fan attendance for Friday’s (December 11th vs. Helena Bighorns) home contest .

All games can be seen on the NA3HL League streaming service, HockeyTV.

HockeyTV is on a variety of different devices including some Smart TV’s, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android devices and web browsers including Google Chrome, FireFox and Safari with a paid subscription. Click here if you would like more information about subscribing to Hockey TV (All Access).

Additonal Media Coverage: November 28, 2020: 406 MT Sports: Missoula Jr. Bruins hold off Great Falls  Americans for 5-3 win