Photo: Courtesy of Laura Richesin
By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., December 6, 2019 — The Great Falls Americans (19-2-3) and the Yellowstone (WY) Quake (8-15-2) renewed their fierce rivalry on Friday evening.
The Americans (#2 in the Frontier Division) have five shutout victories this season with the first (and only) two meetings in late October against the Quake have resulted in the visiting team coming away with no goals scored. Great Falls has outscored Yellowstone 9-0. Five different players for the Americans scored as they put up five goals in the first matchup on October 19th. Dylan Olson scored twice and dished out two assists while goaltender Viktor Wennberg stopped all 17 shots. Jake Hayes had two goals and Jack Olson accumulated three assists in the 4-0 win on October 20th.
Since then, the Americans have rattled off ten victories and two overtime losses (10-0-2) while the Quake have erupted for six victories, four regulations defeats, and two overtime losses (6-4-2).
Leading the way for the Americans is Jake Hayes (18 goals) and the team’s top assist and points maker is Jack Olson (28 assists, 35 points). Meanwhile, Ohio native Dylan Rumpke reins superior in points (44), goals (21), and assists (23) for coach Phil Oberlin’s squad.
Defenseman Logan Rachow scored the first and final goal to lift the #2 Great Falls Americans to a 3-1 win over the #5 Yellowstone Quake during Friday night’s NA3HL hockey matchup at the Great Falls Ice Plex. Bryson Fletcher had two assists and goaltender Viktor Wennberg turned away 15 of the 16 shots taken by the Yellowstone offense.
There were quite a few fantastic shot opportunities by the host team as the puck stayed with Great Falls for the majority of the first period. The scoreless, penalty-free stanza had the Americans take 29 shots and Yellowstone attempting 8.
The Americans jumped out front, 1-0, 55 seconds into the middle period. Logan Rachow secured his fourth goal of the season with Jake Hayes and Bryson Fletcher setting up Great Falls’ first scoring opportunity. A second goal by the home team three minutes later was tallied by Nick Silance, one of three players on the Americans roster from Eagle River, Alaska, netted his first goal of the season. Braydon Rachow and Ivan Royo collected the assists. The twenty-minute period concluded with 23 combined shots.
In the final period, Logan Rachow added his second goal of the contest to increase the lead for the second-place team in the Frontier Division to 3-0. Bryson Fletcher picked up his second assist (ninth overall) in the contest and Harley Nyhuis chipped in his eighth while Yellowstone was in the penalty box. The Quake avoided the shutout when standout Dylan Rumpke put the biscuit in the basket with helpers from Jon Green and Cade Rosansky. The first goal by the Wyoming squad came via a power play with 5:36 remaining. Neither team registered any scores the rest of the way. Great Falls out-shot Yellowstone 30-4 in the final frame.
The NA3HL officials called 15 total penalties with all of them coming in the final two periods. Two of the four goals came while the opponent was down a man. Great Falls went 1-for-6 and Yellowstone went 1-for-3.
Great Falls’ top netminder Viktor Wennberg won for the 13th time in 15 games as Sweden sensation ended his night with 15 saves and went 54 minutes without giving up a goal until the Quake’s Dylan Rumpke added his 21st of the season in the third frame. Wennberg’s counterpart for Yellowstone, Michael Allman accrued 75 saves but suffered his 11th loss in 17 games.
NOTE: The Americans welcomed back defenseman Brandon Peterson to the team tonight. The Oak Creek, Wisconsin native appeared in over 70 games for Great Falls and will be a big addition for the rest of the season. He has played for three seasons for the Great Falls junior hockey franchise scoring five goals and dishing out 23 assists (28 points).
There was a 17-minute delay before the contest as one of the Great Falls Americans players broke the glass with a slapshot during warmups. NA3HL officials were able to replace the glass in a timely manner and play began at 7:47PM MST.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls NA3HL squad finishes up their home portion of their schedule for 2019 with one more game against the Yellowstone Quake. That game is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th with the puck set to drop at 7:30PM from the Great Falls Ice Plex. These two seasoned squads will face off twice more in Cody, Wyoming on February 14-15, 2020. HockeyTV provides every online subscriber with all the action from every contest including the upcoming 2019 NA3HL Showcase Tournament (December 15-17th) from Blaine, Minnesota.