By Kevin Scott
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BLAINE, Minn., December 17, 2016 — After Friday afternoon’s 6-4 victory over the Long Beach Sharks (24-6-0-1) during the first day of action on the ice at the 2016 NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, the Great Falls Americans (18-3-2-2) hoped to win their second straight game in as many days.
Their next opponent on Saturday afternoon was the Jersey Shore Wildcats (NJ), who are 19-13-1-0 on the season. The second-place team in the Northeast Division of the NA3HL behind the Binghamton Jr. Senators (27-1-0-1). Team leaders for the Wildcats include forwards Travis Nemeth and Frederick Schaljo, who have scored 14 goals apiece in 32 games. David Vaysberg is the assist leader with 25.
Jersey Shore saw their 12th loss come on Friday when they fell to the Peoria (IL) Mustangs (16-9-3-0, Midwest Division), who the Americans will matchup against on Sunday morning.
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.
Tanner Congdon, Tegan Harrington and Dustin Truex each scored a goal and dished out one assist while goaltender Kyler Ayers stopped 15 of the 18 shot attempts to lead the Great Falls Americans to their second straight victory at the 2016 NA3HL Showcase tournament in Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Great Falls went on a 5-0 run during the second and third periods to upend the Jersey Shore Wildcats, 7-3.
Jersey Shore and Great Falls each lit up the lamp for one score apiece to open up their second day of the tournament. Wildcat defenseman Jordan Nolan passed the puck to forward Antonio Filippello to put the visiting New Jersey team on top, 1-0. Jens Juliussen answered back for the Americans with his tally coming at the 11:54 mark of the first thanks to help from teammates Sandis Mezharaups and Normunds Vibans who earned the assists.
Dustin Truex’s score during the first 64 seconds of the second put the Americans ahead 2-1. Tegan Harrington gathered his 17th assists and Michael Fary earned his first as a member of the Great Falls squad. The game was tied up at 2-2 a few minutes later with Jacob Hanebrink finding the back of the net for the Wildcats. Frederick Schaljo and Joe Line assisted on the scoring drive. Great Falls closed out the period with goals by Danny O’Donnell and Logan Parsley. Adam Vandenbos, Matt Janke and Dustin Truex received the assists. The Americans held a 19-12 shots-on-goal advantage after the first two periods.
Great Falls saw a trio of players create scoring opportunities for the Americans during a nine-minute stretch in the last stanza. Tegan Harrington, Tanner Congdon and Brendan Jester put up additional points to increase the lead to 7-2 with 5:30 left in regulation. The New Jersey Wildcats rounded out the scoring for the contest. Antonio Filippello netted his second score of the afternoon with assistance from Gannen Erickson and Jordan Nolan, who also assisted for the second time.
The Americans scored seven goals while taking 27 shots in 60 minutes of action. Jersey Shore recorded 7 of their 18 shots in the first period.
After a penalty-free first period, Great Falls accounted for four of the five total penalties. The lone penalty by the Wildcats came via an unsportsmanlike conduct accruing 20 minutes in penalty time.
Kyle Ayers saw his first action at the Showcase tournament and picked up his sixth win of the season. The Boise, Idaho native prevented 15 of the 18 shots from turning into successful scoring chances. Rio Vergoe finished with 20 saves in the loss.
The Missoula Jr. Bruins, Gillette Wild and Bozeman Ice Dogs all posted wins while the Billings Bulls, Yellowstone Quake, Helena Bighorns and the Glacier Nationals came up short in Saturday’s action on the ice.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will finish out the three-day Showcase Tournament on Sunday (December 18th) against the Peoria (IL) Mustangs starting at 11:25AM (MST) from the Schwan Super Rink in Minnesota.
For more information about the tournament that will feature many college and junior scouts in attendance, please click here.
Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Day 2 of NA3HL Showcase displays plenty of offense (December 18, 2016)