By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
BUTTE, Mont., January 12, 2019 — The Great Falls Americans (28-7-0-1) have played 36 games in their 48-game North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) season and they have 27 victories.
The Americans have moved into the top spot in the Frontier Division after blanking the Butte Cobras on Friday night in Great Falls, 8-0. The Helena Bighorns, who led the way in the division standings for most of the season, have slipped down to second place with their 8-4 setback on Friday night to the Missoula Junior Bruins in Missoula, Montana.
Great Falls has improved their record to 5-0 when facing the Cobras (4-26-2-0). Butte, first year members of the North American 3 Hockey League this season, haven’t scored more than four goals against the top-ranked team from Great Falls with three remaining head-to-head matchups remaining.
Ben Rinckey scored once during each of the three regulation periods to ensure the Great Falls Americans would get their 28th victory of the season by downing the Butte Cobras, 6-1 for the fifth consecutive win against these two teams. Cody Dearing accumulated three assists and Lindros Beard had two for the winning squad on Saturday evening in Butte, Montana.
The Great Falls Americans opened the first period at the Butte Community Ice Arena with two goals in a 6:10 span. Nick Ramstad found the back of the net first followed by one of Ben Rinckey’s scores. Brody Boyce and Levi Mese assisted on Ramstad’s goal with 11:20 on the game clock. Cody Dearing and Nate Simpson gathered the assists on Rinckey’s play.
The Cobras trimmed the Americans lead to 2-1 with the first three minutes of the second stanza. Butte native Robin Bagley and North Dakota’s Wyatt Haakenson set up Canadian Tyson Stovin’s score. The Americans capitalized on their only power play of the night when Nate Simpson rattled in his fourth goal with help from Hendrik Robel and Lindros Beard. Ben Rinckey put the biscuit in the basket during the final 53 seconds of the period to make the score 4-1 in favor of the visiting team. Dylan Olson and Lindros Beard chipped in the assists. Great Falls held a 50-28 advantage on shots-on-goals after two periods.
Great Falls assist leader Jens Juliussen provided his 18th goal as Cody Dearing and Payton McSharry created the fifth goal four minutes into the final period. Ben Rinckey waited until the last 14 seconds of the contest to pick up his hat trick. The 13th goal by the Eagle River, Alaska hockey standout was assisted by Lindros Beard and Braxton Lorenz.
Coach Greg Sears’ squad created over 20 shots in each of the periods to end the game with 70. Butte accrued 16 of their 41 in the middle period.
Nate Simpson’s fourth goal of the season was the only power play of the contest. The scoring drive came with 5:50 left before the second intermission.
The Cobras and Americans combined for 15 penalties for 30 minutes.
Viktor Wennberg ran his record to 12-2 as one of four goaltenders for the Americans. The product of Stockholm, Sweden stopped 40 of 41 shots. Utah’s Karl Zodda went 0-for-2 and had 118 saves on the weekend against Great Falls and is now 1-11-0-2 on the season for the struggling Butte junior hockey franchise.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls has just six more home dates left in the 2018-19 regular season. Great Falls will host the Helena Bighorns (Friday, Jan. 18th) and the Missoula Jr. Bruins (Sat. Jan. 19th) at the Great Falls Ice Plex at 7:30PM each night.