By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
BLAINE, Minn., December 18, 2018 — The final day of competition for the 2018 NA3HL Showcase hockey tournament has concluded until next December.
The Great Falls Americans (21-7-0-1) have had some stiff competition this week at the prestigious tournament and haven’t had the success they have wanted on the ice.
On Sunday, Great Falls was shutout for the first time this season when the Louisiana Drillers scored three unanswered goals to win 3-0. Great Falls fared better on Monday afternoon, but they needed a shootout to pick up their only victory of the tournament (2-1) against the Skylands Kings (NJ) thanks to George Nuutinen’s successful goal in the shootout.
The Americans played the Northeast Generals, a Massachusetts-based team from the Coastal Division, who entered the final day winless in their two previous games. The Generals managed only one goal against the St. Louis Jr. Blues (6-1 loss) on Sunday and a 5-1 setback to the North Iowa Bulls on Monday. The Generals (22-7-1-1) are sitting in second place behind the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques (Maine), who have an impressive record of 29-3-0-0.
Marc Faia leads the Massachusetts junior hockey team in points (62 points) while second year standout Tyler Rodek lead the team with 37 assists and his fellow Rhode Island teammate Kolye Bankauskas has 26 goals after 31 games. Great Falls is led by Jens Juliussen and Payton McSharry, both returners from last year’s playoff bound squad. Juliussen leads in points (51) and assists (37) and Payton McSharry leads all American players by producing 26 goals for coach Greg Sears’ squad.
After two days serving as the host team, Great Falls was on the visiting side on Tuesday against the Northeast Generals.
The Great Falls Americans led 1-0 after the first period but struggled offensively the rest of the way and found themselves being outscored 5-2 in the final two periods to fall 5-3 to the Northeast Generals (MA) on the last day of the 2018 NA3HL Showcase hockey tournament in Minnesota. Great Falls ended the tourney with a 1-2 record that featured junior scouts and college coaches in attendance.
Jack Olson started the scoring for Great Falls in the first stanza. Olson, playing in his home state of Minnesota in the tournament, scored his 14th goal with assists coming from Ben Rinckey and Lindros Beard.
The Northeast Generals tied the contest three minutes into the second period when the Generals leading scorer, Kolye Bankauskas scored the first of his three goals for the host team. Marc Faia and Tyler Rudek assisted on the first goal by Northeast and the only power play score of the game for either squad. Before the period was finished, Bankauskas skated through defenders and found the back of the net over Great Falls goaltender Drew Scites to give the Generals their first advantage of the day. Each team tallied 24 shots after forty minutes.
Five successful scoring drives were awarded in the third frame. Cody Dearing evened the contest up at 2-2 when his shot flew by Northeast netminder Devun Schneider for the score. Jens Juliussen and Payton McSharry assisted on the tally that came 1:42 in the period. The Generals took a commanding 4-2 lead from there as Thaddeus Marcola and Deacon lit up the lamp with one goal apiece during a pair of scoring drives that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. Marc Faia and John Holbik assisted on Marcola’s score while Kolye Bankauskas added the assists. The Great Falls offense waited until the final minute to cut their deficit to 5-4 as Payton McSharry secured his 26th goal of the season with help from Jens Juliussen and Jack Olson. Kolye Bankauskas lit up the lamp for the Northeast Generals with 29 seconds left for his third score (hat trick) to ensure the victory. Great Falls created 37 shots in the contest and Northeast finished with 35.
The game saw just five penalties resulting in 13 minutes of time in the penalty box.
The Generals converted the only power play of the contest when Kolye Bankauskas scored in the middle period to tie the game at 1-1.
Both goaltenders came out of the game for the final 29 seconds, so each team could get another player to help on the ice. Devun Schneider accumulated another win to his resume as the Illinois product stopped 34 of 37 shots. Drew Scites of Great Falls accounted for 34 saves after having 21 saves against the Louisiana Drillers on Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 loss.
Missoula (Jr. Bruins), Butte (Cobras), and the Gillette Wild each picked up wins for the Frontier Division to close out the tournament. The Bozeman Ice Dogs, Yellowstone Quake and Helena Bighorns came up short.
For more information including scores throughout the three-day tournament, please click here.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans will take a 21-7-0-1 record into the 9-day holiday break before they finish off their 18-game schedule in early March. Great Falls have five straight road games with stops in Bozeman, Missoula, Butte and a pair of games in Gillette, Wyoming. Great Falls’ next home contest will be Friday, January 11th when the Butte Cobras invade the Great Falls Ice Plex. Click here to see the full schedule of games to come for the 2018-19 Great Falls Americans.