By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., November 2, 2018 — The Great Falls Americans (15-2-0-0) continues to pile up wins against all the Frontier Division clubs in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) this season.
They have defeated the six other teams that make up the Frontier Division at least once. The Missoula Jr. Bruins (5-9-0-0), tonight’s opponent, fell to 0-4 against the Americans including a 5-1 loss last weekend. The Americans have scored five goals during each those three contests and have allowed four goals including a shutout against the Bruins in their season opener in September.
The Great Falls Americans raced out to a 3-0 lead after one period and went on to defeat the visiting Missoula Jr. Bruins 5-1 thanks to Jack Olson and Payton McSharry, who registered two goals apiece during Friday’s NA3HL junior hockey contest in Great Falls. Great Falls is still in first place with 30 points followed by the Helena Bighorns with 26.
Payton McSharry, Jack Olson and Nate Simpson each successfully created scoring opportunities for the Americans during the first twenty minutes of action on the ice. Jens Juliussen’s dish to an open Payton McSharry at the 11:31 mark put the Americans up at the midway point of the period. Matt Janke also garnered an assist. Jack Olson netted his 12th goal 96 seconds later with help from teammate Levi Mese, who produced his eighth assist and Alexi Suchomlin gathered his sixth assist. Cody Dearing, a recent acquisition who spent some time with Great Falls last season, received his first assist this season as his pass to California native Nate Simpson increased the lead for Great Falls to 3-0 before the end of the period. The penalty-free opening period had the Americans making 23 shots while holding Missoula to four.
Missoula responded early in the second period with Russia native Vadim Zubkov coming up with eleventh goal with assistance from Keith Zobel and Connor Frye. The first power play of the game came with 16:58 remaining with Great Falls’ Matt Janke getting called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Jack Olson
made sure Great Falls regained their three-point advantage with his unassisted score coming a few minutes after the Bruins scoring opportunity. Payton McSharry and Jens Juliussen hooked up again for another score as Great Falls jumped to a 5-1 lead over Missoula to round out the scoring. Brandon Peterson also picked up an assist. Once again, the home team kept creating shot attempts and out-shot Missoula 28-5.
Despite 16 total shots combined by both squads, Great Falls and Missoula skated through a scoreless third period.
All four penalties by the Bruins in the game came during the final two periods that resulted in 16 minutes in the penalty box. Four out of the five penalties by Great Falls came after the second intermission. The Bruins and Americans each went 1-for-3 on the power play.
Drew Scites won his ninth game (9-1-0-2) as the goaltender for the Americans. The second-year player from Minnesota earned 14 saves. Meanwhile, Missoula netminder Evan Williams, who allowed three of the five goals get by him during the first period, received 56 saves.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will play host to the Bozeman Ice Dogs for a 7:30PM showdown on Saturday, November 10th at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Great Falls is home for the entire month of November with games against Missoula (Jr. Bruins), Helena (Bighorns), and two games against the Gillette Wild.
Additional Media Coverage: November 3, 2018: MTN Sports (KRTV) (MontanaSports.com): Great Falls Americans claim 5-1 win over Missoula Jr. Bruins