By Rapid City Journal Staff

March 6, 2022

The Badlands Sabres were knocked out of the Fraser Cup Playoffs Saturday night in a 7-1 defeat to the Great Falls Americans in Great Falls, Montana.

The Americans scored three goals in the first period and never looked back, outshooting the Sabres 53-40 to claim the Frontier Division Play-In Series and move on to the next round of the NA3HL postseason.

The Sabres finished their inaugural season 19-27-3.

“I thought we played a lot better tonight than on Wednesday,” head coach Brendon Hodge said. “I know the score doesn’t reflect it but our players battled to the end.”

Will Simpson earned the win between the pipes for Great Falls. He finished the contest with 27 saves on 28 shots in 40 minutes of action. Maxim Currie took the loss for the Sabres in goal despite recording 46 saves on 53 shots.

Great Falls converted on two of five power-play opportunities. Badlands sent six players to the penalty box for 12 minutes while the Americans sent four for eight minutes.

Seth Stock scored the lone goal for the Sabres on a power play at 18:39 in the first period on assists from Kael Delzer and Derrick Brown.

In the first period, the Americans started strong with a goal by Henry Fusco on assists from J.J. Martin and Blake Nerney at 4:40 to go in front 1-0. They added insurance at 11:36 when Micah Serino scored on assists from Bryson Fletcher and Jackson Heenningsgard.

It added another goal by Alford at 15:38 for a 3-0 lead before the Sabres rounded out the period with Seth Stock’s goal at 18:39 in the opening frame to cut their deficit to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.

Great Falls added three more goals and blanked Badlands in the second period as Jace Thompson, Nerney and Fletcher all scored to make it 6-1 after two.

Thompson added his second goal at 8:39 in the third period to extend the Americans’ lead to 7-1. Zac Hattan entered in goal for Great Falls for the last 20 minutes and saved all 12 of the Sabres’ shots.

“It’s tough right now for the players after losing, but once it settles we’ll get ready for next season,” Hodge said. “Overall this was a very successful season. Not a lot of expansion teams make the playoffs.”

Story Courtesy: Rapid City Journal: Sabres’ inaugural season coms to an end in playoff loss to Great Falls (March 6, 2022)