By Kevin Scott
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GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 9, 2021 — The second-ranked Great Falls Americans (16-8-1-0) were looking for some redemption as they finished off their weekend series against the top-ranked Sheridan Hawks (19-1-0-0) on Saturday evening in Great Falls.
During their first meeting on Friday night (January 8th), Sheridan scored once in the first and second periods and two more goals in the third period to defeat Great Falls 4-1 and pick up their 18th victory in 19 games. Forwards Justin Schwartzmiller and Blake Billings each scored once and dished out one assist and new goaltender Thomas Kuriscak picked up his first win for Wyoming by earning 23 saves. Micah Serino scored the lone goal for the Americans and goaltender Trever Mellen recorded 60 saves in the loss.
The Americans and Hawks will clash next weekend (January 15-16) inside the Whitney Rink in the M&M’s Center in Sheridan, Wyoming for their final head-to-head meetings of the season unless both teams face each other in the postseason in March.
The #1 Sheridan Hawks overcame multiple lead changes put on by the #2 Great Falls Americans offense to edge out a victory over the home team, 4-3 to sweep the weekend series at the Great Falls Ice Plex during Saturday’s North American 3 Hockey League action. Jacob Cummings led the way for Wyoming with two goals. Micah Serino also had two successful scoring opportunities for the Americans.
Briar Sylvester got Sheridan on the scoreboard first during the first seven minutes of the first period as Zach Brydges and Luke Desmarais added the assists for coach Andy Scheib’s squad. The Hawks would lead until the 3:11 mark of the period when Micah Serino put in the equalizer off the stick of Tyler Lorring. Hunter Maschke also garnered an assist. The visiting team accumulated 27 of the 34 shots-on-goal before the first intermission.
Jacob Cummings, who scored off a pass from Logan Syrup and Blake Billings, gave Sheridan their second lead of the contest just 20 seconds into the middle period with Great Falls in the penalty box. The American offense got going five minutes later and evened up the score (2-2). Brody Savoie, a returning defenseman from Prior Lake, Minnesota, secured his first scoring drive of the year with help from Tyler Lorring and Bryson Fletcher. Micah Serino chipped in his second goal of the night midway through the stanza and put the Americans out in front for the first time this weekend. Daniel Crutcher earned another assist and Connor Doyle also received an assist while the Hawks were in the sin bin. Before the second period concluded, Jacob Cummings connected on his second goal (21st overall) while Logan Syrup and Blake Billings provided the assists to tie the contest at 3-3.
The Hawks’ Dakota Kotts netted the tie-breaking score with 10:28 remaining off a pass from Justin Schwartzmiller and Simon Herz for the 4-3 advantage in the third period. That goal proved to be the game-winning drive as both teams failed to light up the lamp during the final ten minutes.
Sheridan dominated on the offensive end by taking 64 shots including 37 combined shots after the first intermission. Great Falls started off slow but attempted 34 shots total.
The second game of the series saw both teams rack up ten minor infractions that resulted in twenty minutes of penalty time. Sheridan took advantage of the Americans penalty kill and scored half of their goals while Great Falls was down a man. Micah Serino’s second goal that occurred the second period was the only one of six tries the Americans capitalized on during their power plays.
Thomas Kuriscak completed his second game and his second victory as a member of the Hawks goaltending staff. The Minnesota netminder allowed just three goals and finished with 31 saves. Vincent Marroni closed out his fifth appearance this season with his third loss. He added 60 saves in 59 minutes of action.
NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls will be on the road January 15th and 16th when they make the trip to Sheridan, Wyoming to face the Hawks in their home arena. The action starts at 7:30PM (MST) each night and the contest will be streamed on HockeyTV. Please click here If you would like more information about subscribing to Hockey TV (All Access).
Great Falls’ next home contest is set for the end of January (January 29-30) when the Cody, Wyoming based Yellowstone Quake comes to the Great Falls Ice Plex for a two-game series.