Ohnstad paces Great Falls to their third victory of the season

By Kevin Scott

Box Score Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

GREAT FALLS, Mont., September 21, 2019 — When the Great Falls Americans (3-1-0-0) and the Butte Cobras (0-4-0-0) met on the ice for the Cobras inaugural season during the 2018-19 season, Great Falls went undefeated when they faced the Mining City squad.

In eight regular season contests, Great Falls never lost by less than three goals and out-scored Butte, 73-10 including three double-digit victories.

This year (2019-2020) is a different season but if Thursday’s 5-2 win in Butte serves as any indication as to what this season may bring, Great Falls is on the right track to success. Brody Boyce and Levi Mese, both returning forwards from last year’s squad, combined to score four of the five goals while goaltender Viktor Wennberg added 27 saves.

The second game of the six-game season series began on Saturday night in Great Falls.

The Great Falls Americans led 6-1 after two periods of play over the winless Butte Cobras and went on to defeat the second year NA3HL team, 9-2 during Saturday’s action at the Great Falls Ice Plex. The 925 spectators saw a flurry of goals by the home team. Justin Ohnstad paced Great Falls with two goals and two assists.

The home team established control early in the first period. Great Falls lit up the lamp for three goals in a 36-second span. Blake Nerney, Justin Ohnstad, and Jack Olson gathered the goals with assists coming from Justin Ohnstad and Brody Boyce (Blake Nerney goal), Blake Nerney and Brody Boyce (Justin Ohnstad score) while Olson’s scoring drive was assisted by Levi Mese and Kellen Harris with 15:31 left in the stanza. The Cobras fought back and cut into the Americans lead with Sidney, Montana native Kyler Garsjo getting Butte onto the scoreboard with help from Ty Stovin and Hunter Varney near the midpoint of the period. Jake Hayes, a first-year player for Great Falls, secured his third goal of the season with 2:26 remaining off the stick of Minnesota native Henry Fusco, who earned his first assist. Jack Olson also helped set up the play The Americans acquired 24 of the 31 total shots-on-goal before the first intermission.

The score quickly jumped to 6-1 four minutes into the middle period. Brody Boyce and Levi Mese each garnered their fourth goal in four contests for the third-place Americans. Luke Richesin, Justin Ohnstad, and Jack Olson picked up their fourth assists while Kellen Harris added his first. The teams skated the rest of the way without getting the puck in the net. Great Falls accrued 28 shots in the period and held a 52-19 advantage heading into the final period of regulation.

Justin Ohnstad netted his second goal in three periods 89 seconds into the final frame. Jake Hayes and Kellen Harris set up the seventh goal for coach Greg Sears’ squad. A few minutes later, Jake Hayes and Henry Fusco found newcomer Harley Nyhuis who put the puck in the net to increase the lead to 8-1. Butte forward Kyler Garsjo chipped in the Cobras second score at the 12:25 mark with assistance from Robin Bagley and Ty Stovin. Before the period ended, Braydon Rachow received his first score with the Americans as Luke Richesin and Henry Chavez racked up the assists with three minutes remaining.  Great Falls attempted 67 shots including 15 in the final twenty minutes while holding Butte to 26 with 7 coming after the second break.

A total of eleven power play opportunities in this game went unanswered. The referees called 16 total penalties resulting in 40 minutes of penalty time.

Justin Ohnstad led the way for the Americans with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and Jake Hayes and Brody Boyce each scored once and dished out two assists in the win.  Meanwhile, Kyler Garsjo scored both goals and Ty Stovin contributed two assists in the loss for coach Chris Shadow’s club.

Trever Mellen ran his record to 1-1 on the season as the starting goaltender for the Americans swatted away 24 of the 26 shots the Cobras attempted. Butte netminders Colton Marcy and Casey Mattfeldt combined for 58 saves in their fourth consecutive loss.

NEXT CONTEST: For the first-time season, the Great Falls Americans will face their long-time interstate rivals, the Helena Bighorns on Saturday, September 28th at 7:30PM. The Great Falls Ice Plex will be the site for the Americans only game of the week. Catch all of the action on HockeyTV.

Additional Media Coverage: September 23, 2019: Great Falls Tribune: Americans sweep home-and-home set with Cobras