By Kevin Scott
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BLAINE, Minn., December 19, 2017 — After two days at the prestigious 2017 NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Minnesota, the Great Falls Americans (17-7-2) have one victory and one setback.
On Sunday, Great Falls breezed by the Mid Cities Jr. (TX) Stars 5-1 but fell yesterday to the Wisconsin-based La Crosse Freeze 2-1.
The prestigious three-day tournament includes many college and junior scouts that are in attendance to watch the league’s best talent. The three games that each team appears in does count toward their season standings as Great Falls is the home team for the final contest on Tuesday.
Would Great Falls pick up their second win in three days?
Seven different Great Falls Americans found the back of the net during Tuesday as the 2017 NA3HL Showcase Tournament concluded from the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. Great Falls led 3-0 into the middle period and never looked back in a 7-2 decisive victory over the Oswego (NY) Stampede.
During the penalty-free opening stanza, Great Falls’ Luke Richesin netted his second goal of the season for coach Jeff Heimel’s Frontier Division squad. Jens Juliussen and Cody Dearing chipped in the assists 5:46 into the period. Great Falls used nine shot attempts to get the lone goal of the period.
The Americans received two more goals during the first six minutes of the second period to increase their lead to 3-0. Cody Dearing and Michael Houlihan put the puck between the pipes. Luke Richesin assisted on Dearing’s score while Michael Fary helped on Houlihan’s scoring drive. Oswego attempted a comeback bid when Jameson Simmonds and Josh Wallace earned goals to close out the period trailing 3-2. Peter Moukoulis and Rich Hart gathered one assist apiece while Marcos Zarragoitia assisted on both scoring plays. Wallace’s goal came via while Great Falls was down a man (penalty). Great Falls took 19 shots while limiting the New York team to nine after two periods.
Great Falls came out of the second intermission firing on all cylinders. The Americans refused to finish off the tournament with a second loss. Great Falls, the home team for the second day in a row, secured four goals in an 8:25 span to send them back to Montana with two wins in three days.
Weston Goodman, Nick Ramstad, Brandon Peterson, and Trent Cowden all finished with successful scoring opportunities. Jen Juliussen dished out two of his three assists in the final period and Ben Rinckey, Michael Houlihan, Matt Janke, Payton McSharry and Adam Vandenbos added assists to their resume.
The Americans took nine shots in the first and third periods and ten in the middle period to end the contest with 28. The Stamped had 11 assists with five coming in the second stanza.
The two NA3HL squads concluded the contest with one successful power play opportunity. Oswego’s Josh Wallace and Great Falls’ Brandon Peterson took advantage of the penalty to score for their respective teams.
Mack Willy defended nine of the eleven shots that Oswego took on the Americans goaltender. The Stampede’s Zane Branson suffered the defeat by redirecting 21 of 28 shots.
The tournament ended on a positive note for the rest of the Frontier teams as they all picked up wins. Bozeman shut-out the College Station (TX) Spirit (6-0), Gillette (Wild) and Helena (Bighorns) earned one-point wins over the Long Beach (NY) Sharks and Niagara Falls (NY) PowerHawks. Helena and Niagara Falls went into overtime with the Montana team coming out on top, 3-2 while Gillette scored a 4-3 decision over Long Beach. The Missoula Jr. Bruins (5-2 victory over Point Mallard Ducks from Alabama) and Yellowstone Quake (4-1 win over the St. Louis (MO) Jr. Blues) also came out on top to finish the tournament strong.
For more information about the tournament that will feature many college and junior scouts in attendance, please click here.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls and Bozeman square off as the teams return to divisional play before the end of 2017. Their contest will be played from Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman, Montana on Saturday, December 30th at 7:30PM.
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Showcase concludes with East, West Divisions showing well (December 19, 2017)