Sabres hand the Americans their fifth straight loss

By Kevin Scott

Box Score
Game Sheet League Scoreboard Americans Team Statistics

RAPID CITY, S.D., February 3, 2023 — The #6 Great Falls Americans (14-22-2-0) and the #8 Badlands (SD) Sabres (11-22-2-3) have already played four of their six regular season games against each other this season.

The Americans have been victorious in three of those four including two wins at home at the end of October 2022.

The Americans scored four goals in the second period to defeat the Sabres, 5-1 on October 28th and outshot Badlands 52-42 (game story). The following night (October 29), Great Falls and Badlands needed a shootout to declare a winning team. The Americans scored four goals in the first but allowed four unanswered goals over the second and third periods for a 4-4 tie after regulation. After a scoreless five-minute overtime with no team scoring, a shootout was necessary. Silas Hughes, who is now with the Gillette Wild, scored two goals in regulation and buried the game-winning tally in the shootout for the 5-4 win for the Americans (game story).

The teams both met in Rapid City, South Dakota on December 2-3, 2022, with the Americans earning the weekend split. Badlands standouts Dawson Wirth and AJ Petrotto scored both goals in a 2-0 shutout win for the host team (game story). Dawson Bunch and Garrett Weisenburger scored two goals apiece in a 6-4 victory over Badlands on December 3rd (game story).

Since their December meeting, Great Falls has won four of their 14 contests (4-8-2-0) and Badlands also had four victories (4-9-0-0).

Defenseman Alex Leaf, forward Jace Thompson and goaltender Ryan Stowe lead the Americans through the first 38 contests of the 2022-23 NA3HL season. Leaf leads the team in two categories: Assists (24) and Points Scored (28), Thompson has the most goals with 12 and Stowe is 2-5-1-0, 3.51 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a save percentage of 0.934.

Zach Vockler (22 points), Tyson Dunbar (14 assists), and Brady Ridnour (13 goals) lead the Sabres of coach Brendan Hodge. Brady Devries (5-5-1-0, 4.68 GAA, 0.898 save percentage) is the top netminder for Badlands.

The #8 Badlands Sabres scored two first period goals and one more in the middle period to fend off the #6 Great Falls Americans, 3-1 on Friday night’s NA3HL junior hockey action inside the Roosevelt Park Ice Arena in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Great Falls lost for the ninth time in ten games.

The Great Falls Americans haven’t scored in the opening period since a January 20th contest against the Butte Cobras where the Cobras eventually won 4-3 in overtime (game summary) and that streak continued tonight. Great Falls has not scored in their previous three games (a single game against the Bozeman Ice Dogs on January 21 and two games last weekend at the Helena Bighorns, Jan. 27-28). The Sabres saw successful scoring drives from Dominic Powilatis and Carter Johnson during the first twenty minutes. Powilatis scored for the second time this season with assists going to Aden Cobbs and Mason Witt, who each converted their second assists of the year.  The 1-0 lead scored two minutes into Badlands and Great Falls’ fifth head-to-head matchup lasted eleven minutes until Carter Johnson lit up the lamp for the Sabres second goal. Johnson’s tenth goal was assisted by Peyton Wilson, who made his seventh assist and Brady Ridnour (third assist). Great Falls attempted 15 of the 29 total shots-on-goal before the second intermission.

Payton Stauffacher of Badlands picked up where Dominic Powilatis and Carter Johnson started by burying the Sabres third goal of the contest 92 seconds into the middle period. Stauffacher, one of two Wisconsin natives on the roster, racked up his third goal of the season with assistance from AJ Petrotto and Tyson Dunbar. Americans forward Russ Rasmussen stopped the shutout with 2:22 left before the second period expired. Rasmussen tallied his fifth score on the high glove side of Sabres netminder Zach Broxterman to cut the deficit to 3-1. Noah Osiowy and Alex Leaf set up the score. Leaf is the Americans assist leader this season with 24. The Sabres outshot the Americans 18-10 in the period.

The third period came and went without any scoring for either squad. Great Falls had eighteen chances to score but could not put the biscuit in the basket for the visiting Montana team. The Sabres had three missed opportunities.

Thanks to 18 shots-on-goal for the Americans in the third frame, the Americans finished with eight more shots (43-35) than the Sabres after the final buzzer.

A minor penalty for interference by Matt Ramstad in the first period was the only infraction called on Great Falls. The Montana team stayed away from the sin bin in the second and third periods. Meanwhile, South Dakota was whistled for six minor penalties after the first period that resulted in twelve minutes of time off the ice.  Both teams combined for 0-for-7 on the power play.

Zach Broxterman (4-16-1-3) has struggled this season as one of the goaltenders for the Sabres but he managed to get his second victory against the Americans by getting 42 saves on 43 shots. Back on December 2nd in Rapid City, South Dakota, he swatted away all 31 shots in a 2-0 win over the Americans.

Ryan Stowe (2-5-1-0), who played 57 minutes for the Americans, accumulated 32 saves but allowed three goals including two in the first twenty minutes for his fifth regulation loss (sixth overall) in eleven appearances with most of them coming in January.

FRONTIER DIVISION UPDATE: Bodie Shepardson (two goals), Owen House and Bryce Storm quickly put the visiting #5 Bozeman Ice Dogs (17-20-0-1) out in front of the #7 Yellowstone (WY) Quake (12-22-4-2), 4-0 before the first intermission. Yellowstone’s Ben Carlson added two goals in the second period and Nick Cofer added one to outscore Bozeman 3-2 after forty minutes. The three-goal deficit was as close as the Quake could come against the visitors as neither team gathered any scoring drives in the third frame. The 6-3 victory for Bozeman was their 17th of the season as they maintained their fifth-place spot in the Frontier Division on Friday in Cody, Wyoming. In addition to Bodie Shepardson’s two goals, Mattias Godfrey and Dominik Hauer each tallied a goal and one assist while teammate Spencer Wilkinson had a hand in three scoring opportunities for the Ice Dogs. Ben Carlson scored two of the three goals for the host team. Sean Smer got his third victory in ten games (3-4-0-1) by acquiring 38 saves for the winners. Yellowstone’s John Hughes and Steven Kelley combined for 44 saves as Hughes (4-9-1-1) received his ninth loss in regulation in his first season with the Wyoming NA3HL franchise (box score).

Due to issues with the Sheridan Hawks bus, the #3 Sheridan (WY) Hawks (21-14-2-0) and the #4 Butte
Cobras (18-17-1-1) did not start their schedule 7:30PM (MST) game until 9:59PM (MST).

After Sheridan’s Makhai Sparks scored the first of his two first period goals, the Cobras went on a 4-0 run
during a three-minute span as the Cobras led 5-3 before the second stanza. Patrick Crooks of Butte
scored two of his three total goals in the first. The Cobras scored two more in the second to stretch their
lead to 7-3 behind Nick Bradshaw and Patrick Crooks scoring drives. The Hawks comeback bid came up
short despite outscoring the Cobras 3-1 in the third. The 8-6 win by Butte kept them in fourth place in the
eight-team Frontier Division. Patrick Crook led Butte with three goals (hat trick) and an assist while
teammate Nick Bradshaw had two goals and one assist. Caleb Cross (14-9-0-0) picked up the win in the
net by obtaining 59 saves. Meanwhile, Makhai Sparks led Wyoming with two scoring drives and one
assist. Patric Loeffler (69 saves) had his record go to 9-7-0-0. Loeffler is now 0-2 this season against
Butte as he lost 5-2 in a September 16th game with the fourth-place Montana NA3HL squad (box score)

The #1 Gillette (WY) Wild (31-5-1-2) takes a weekend break from the Frontier Division and will play a two-game series with the NA3HL West Division’s Granite City Lumberjacks, based out of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota on Saturday (Feb. 4) and Sunday (Feb. 5) with the action starting nightly at 6:30PM (MST). The Lumberjacks are in first place in the West (Division) and have already clinched a spot in the Fraser Cup Playoffs in March with an overall record of 30-3-0-1.

The second-ranked Helena Bighorns are idle this weekend (Feb. 3-4) but will return to action on February 10-11, 2023, when the Yellowstone (WY) Quake come to the Helena Ice Arena for two games.

NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will remain in Rapid City, South Dakota for second game of their weekend series with the Sabres on Saturday, February 4th. This will be the last time these clubs meet on the ice in the regular season. Fans can watch the action live on HockeyTV at 7:05PM (MST) from the Roosevelt Park Ice Arena.

Additional Media Coverage: February 1, 2023: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Wednesday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.