NA3HL Showcase: La Crosse Freeze defeated Great Falls, 2-1

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

BLAINE, Minn., December 18, 2017 — During the second day of the three-day 2017 NA3HL Showcase, Great Falls met Wisconsin-based, La Crosse Freeze.

On paper, the records for these two NA3HL squads are similar. Great Falls entered the December tournament with a 16-6-2 record (before the Showcase Tournament) while La Crosse has shown similar success in going 16-5-1 after 22 games. Great Falls handed Mid Cities (TX) Jr. Stars a 5-1 setback during the first day on Sunday afternoon while LaCrosse took down the Niagara Falls (NY) PowerHawks 8-2.

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.

The La Crosse Freeze needed just two goals to get by the Great Falls Americans on Monday afternoon during the second day of competition at the 2017 NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Minnesota. Brandon Ratzloff and Matthew Francois successfully got the puck in the net for the Freeze. Americans forward Payton McSharry put the lone biscuit in the basket for Great Falls.

A scoreless first period saw 18 shots-on-goal attempts with the Americans taking just six shots and La Crosse had 12.

A cross-checking penalty by Payton McSharry near the end of the middle period proved costly for the Americans. Brandon Ratzloff scored his seventh goal of the season while Bryan Sharp was in the net for Great Falls during the power play for La Crosse. Brock Zukowski and Thomas Magnavite added the assists for coach Jon Vaillancourt’s team.

Great Falls utilized the third period to try to get on the scoreboard and they receive their first goal 14 minutes into the last stanza. Payton McSharry tallied the unassisted score as the puck got away from Freeze goalie Jacob Silverstein. A few minutes later, La Crosse broke the tie as Brady Lindauer set up Matthew Francois for the eventual game-winning scoring drive that came with 3:56 remaining.

The Freeze over-powered Great Falls in the shots-on-goal category. La Crosse held a 28-10 advantage before the second intermission and held Great Falls to just three shots during the final period.

La Crosse scored just once on the five power play chances that Great Falls gave them. Great Falls couldn’t capitalize on the one first period power play that they were given.

Jacob Silverstein allowed just one goal while stopping 12 for the game-winning team from Wisconsin. Bryan Sharp finished with 36 saves for the Americans in a losing effort.

The Gillette Wild (3-1 win over Cape Cod (MA) Islanders) and Missoula Jr. Bruins (3-0 win over Rochester (MN) Ice Hawks) each picked up victories while Bozeman (Ice Dogs), Helena (Bighorns), and the Yellowstone (Quake) fell in their contests on Monday. Bozeman lost 8-5 to Breezy Point (MN) North Stars, Helena lost a 5-4 thriller in overtime to the Wisconsin Whalers and Yellowstone was downed 2-1 to the North Iowa Bulls.

NEXT CONTEST: During the final day of the Showcase Tournament, Great Falls will battle with challenge the Oswego (NY) Stampeded at 8:30AM (MST) at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota on Tuesday.

For more information about the tournament that will feature many college and junior scouts in attendance, please click here.

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