By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
BLAINE, Minn., December 20, 2022 — The Great Falls Americans (13-14-1-0, 5th in Frontier) on Tuesday played against a Texas team on the final day of the 2022 NA3HL Showcase Tournament junior hockey tournament at the NSC Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.
The Americans faced three other opponents from different divisions during the three-day tournament including the Wausau (WI) Cyclones (Central Division), New Ulm (MN) Steel (West Division) and the El Paso (TX) Rhinos (South Division). Great Falls defeated the Cyclones and the Rhinos while they faced a losing battle with the Steel as they get back to playing their Frontier Division opponents over the next few months of 2023.
On Sunday evening, the Great Falls Americans took a 2-1 lead entering the third period and eventually defeated the Wausau (WI) Cyclones (5-17-3-0), 3-2 to finish off the first day of the 2022 NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Blaine, Minnesota. Ben Cremers scored the third goal to ensure the Americans victory in the final minute of the contest. Josh Koziol made 41 saves for Great Falls and allowed two goals for his ninth win of the season (game story).
Gus Cantwell scored once and assisted on a scoring play to lead the New Ulm (MN) Steel to a 2-0 shutout win over the Great Falls Americans from the NA3HL’s Frontier Division during the second day of competition at the junior hockey Showcase tournament at NSC Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota on Monday afternoon (game story).
In Tuesday’s tournament finale, Great Falls faced the El Paso (TX) Rhinos (16-12-0-2, South Division) to conclude the three-day excursion to Minnesota in which they were the road team again. In El Paso’s two tournament games, they lost to the Willmar (MN) WarHawks, 10-1 and then defeated Danbury (CT) Junior Hat Tricks, 3-2.
A pair of Great Falls Americans forwards, Jace Thompson and Wes Weisenburger scored both goals to guide the Americans to a 2-0 shutout victory over the El Paso (TX) Rhinos as the three-day NA3HL Showcase Tournament wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon in Blaine, Minnesota. Great Falls also defeated the Wisconsin-based Wausau Cyclones by the same score in the tournament opener on Sunday. Goaltender Jake Regan was brilliant in the net by redirecting all 35 shots that came his way as the Americans came away with a 2-1-0-0 record at the NA3HL Showcase tournament.
Both teams combined for 32 shots, but none were successful as the first period ended.
Russ Rasmussen and Sam Duehlmeier gathered the assists on first goal of the game by Wes Weisenburger, who now has three on the season, which occurred with six minutes left on the clock in the middle period. Jace Thompson responded 44 seconds later for Great Falls’ second score when his tenth goal came off the sticks of Tyler Sunagel and Silas Hughes. Sunagel and Hughes each picked up their eleventh assist.
Great Falls outshot El Paso, 18-7 in the third frame but no successful scoring drives were awarded.
The Americans gathered double-digit shots in each of the three periods to finish with 46. The Rhinos accumulated 17 of their 35 shots-on-goal before the first intermission.
Six total infractions were issued between these two cross-divisional squads. Great Falls and El Paso each were called for three minor infractions but no power play opportunities.
Great Falls goalie Jake Regan made his first and only Showcase appearance on the final day and he did not disappoint. Regan, who calls Osseo, Minnesota home was only ten miles from the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota, prevented all 35 shots from getting by him and is now 1-1-0-0 in four games in his first season with the Montana NA3HL franchise. Meanwhile, Phillip O’Neill, a Maryland native, surrendered two goals in the second period but was perfect in the first and third stanzas. O’Neill is now 4-4-0-0 on the season in his rookie season with the Rhinos.
FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE AT NA3HL SHOWCASE: Here are the following daily game recaps from the Frontier Division teams during the last day (Tuesday) of competition at the 2022 NA3HL Showcase.
The Butte Cobras (14-13-1-0, 4th in Frontier) and the West Division’s Willmar (MN) WarHawks (12-14-1-0, 4th in West Division) combined for nine goals but unfortunately for Cobras fans they scored just four of them. Willmar raced out to a 4-3 advantage after the first two periods and hung on in the third for the 5-4 victory. Blaise Schutt and Tyler Misialek combined for four of the WarHawk scoring opportunities while Butte’s Luke Schleusner made half of his team’s goals. Caleb Cross took the loss for Butte in a 35-save performance. Zackary Ortolano accounted for 25 saves in the win (box score).
The Sheridan (WY) Hawks (18-10-1-0, 3rd in Frontier) led 2-1 after the second break and outscored the New Mexico Ice Wolves (14-11-2-0, 6th in South Division), 3-1 in the third for a 5-2 decision. Jaxon Call, Makhai Sparks, Ryan McKenna, Parker Norling, and McCaffrey Billings each made scoring opportunities for the Hawks during the final day. Jameson Klein and Evan Axell accounted for the two second period scores for the Ice Wolves. Patric Loeffler (49 saves) was the winning netminder. Pierson Haislet (31 saves) took the loss for New Mexico (box score).
Camden Cunningham (two goals), Lyndon Orr, and Mason Eggen all scored in the first period to give the Helena Bighorns (20-7-1-1, 2nd in Frontier) a 4-0 lead over the Norwich (CT) Sea Captains (14-9-3-1, 2nd in East Division). Helena and Norwich each scored twice over the remaining two periods as Helena pulled away with a 6-2 win. Cunningham led the way for the Bighorns with two goals and Jack Kinahan scored one goal in the second and third frames for the Sea Captains. Marek Andres added another Showcase victory with 22 saves (box score).
Six different scorers led the way in the Bozeman Ice Dogs (11-17-0-1, 6th in Frontier) 6-1 win over the Austin (TX) Ice Bats (8-24-1-0, 7th in South Division), Cole Busher, Owen House, Braden Koliha, Magnus Lowham, Dominik Hauer, Kole Morris all added goals to their career resume for Bozeman. Nathan Clark scored the lone first period score for the Ice Bats. Cam Milewski came away with the victory by swatting away 27 shots. Despite getting 68 saves, Austin netminder Gavin Morris took the loss (box score).
The Badlands (SD) Sabres (8-17-2-2, 8th in Frontier), trailed 3-1 heading into the third period, but the Sabres offense lit up the lamp three times to claim a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the New Jersey Titans (12-15-2-0, 5th in East Division). Badlands forward Hunter Walla had a hat trick (3 goals), and Brady Ridnour had the other. Antonio Vidal, Kurt Johnson, and Nick Trabb led the scoring for the Titans. Brady Devries went 34-for-37 in the net for South Dakota. His counterpart, Daniel Antal made 39 stops (box score).
The Gillette (WY) Wild, the top team in the Frontier Division with a 23-3-1-2 record, scored five goals after the first twenty minutes to earn a 5-3 decision over the Texas RoadRunners (24-4-0-1, 1st in South DIvision) on Monday. Saizha Norwegian scored twice and Jace Johnson tallied a goal and two assists for the winning team. Matvey Ivanov made two of the three scores for the RoadRunners in the loss. Jake Turek (Gillette) made 21 saves and RoadRunners goaltender Hunter Hein acquired 46 (box score).
The Yellowstone (WY) Quake (0-16-3-1, 7th in Frontier) and the Danbury (CT) Jr. Hat Tricks (14-12-2-0, 3rd in East Division) each successfully scored on their two power play chances but the Quake’s Nick Cofer (2 goals, 1 assist) and netminder Steven Kelley (37 saves) played key parts in Yellowstone’s 6-2 win. Danbury got scoring drives from Denis Radchenko and Oleg Egorov. Yellowstone scored the final five goals over two periods. Danbury’s goalie Braden Henderson finished the contest with 24 saves (box score).
The Frontier Division finished the three-day tournament with an overall record of 15-8-1-0. Bozeman and Sheridan finished with 3-0 records, Helena, Great Falls, and Yellowstone went 2-1, Gillette ended the tournament at 1-1-1 and Badlands and Butte gathered a win and two losses.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will head into the holiday break with thirteen victories and 15 losses (13-14-1-0) in 28 games. After being road warriors for a month, Great Falls returns to the Great Falls for two of their six home contests remaining in the 2022-23 NA3HL regular season. The second-ranked Helena Bighorns will make the short trek to Great Falls for a December 30th and 31st game to close out 2021. The rivalry starts each night at 7:30PM (MST) from the Great Falls Ice Plex with all of the action streaming on HockeyTV.
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): 2022 NA3HL Showcase comes to a close on Tuesday (December 20, 2022)