By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., September 30, 2016 — The Great Falls Americans (4-0-1) and the Yellowstone Quake (3-0) were the top two teams in the Frontier Division last season.
Great Falls struggled with the Wyoming NA3HL franchise and managed to win three of their eight meetings including the first two of the 2015-16 season. Each team converted 24 goals in those eight contests. The Quake won the regular season Frontier title but the Americans overcame them in the Frontier Divisional Finals where it counted. Great Falls swept the series 2-0 and the automatic berth to the Silver Cup national tournament in Illinois. Yellowstone participated in the national tournament as well.
Both squads were undefeated and look to be on the right track so far early on this year. The Americans faced their toughest challenge of the year when the Yellowstone Quake came to town.
Great Falls led throughout the first two periods and managed to send the NA3HL contest into overtime before falling to the Yellowstone Quake 4-3 during Friday’s showdown between these two rivals. Bridger Steel and McDonald’s sponsored the Americans fourth home contest.
Both defenses held up throughout the first period. Great Falls managed to secure one goal. Defenseman Quinn Stuebner netted his first goal of the season off the stick of Nathan Margeson, who added his second assist. The power play score came at the 13:41 mark of the opening period. Yellowstone wasn’t able to come away with any points despite taking an 18-10 advantage in the shots-on-goal category.
Danny O’Donnell, the Ventura, California native, got the puck by the Yellowstone goaltender Nick Ottenbacker from forward Kody Thomas to give the host team a 2-0 lead 13 minutes into the middle period. Malachi Bushey also picked up an assist on the Americans second goal. The Quake netted their first goal with 4:05 remaining in the period. Hunter Ruschmeyer found an open Curt Greenbush for the goal over Americans goaltender Nick Nast to cut the deficit to 2-1 before the second intermission.
The Yellowstone offense started out the final period on a strong note. Max Meyer tied the contest at 2-2 with assistance from Pablo Pantoia during the first two minutes of the last stanza. Tony Dahlberg’s tally with 1:49 remaining gave the Quake their first lead of the night. Matt Runyon and Jesse Lawman assisted on the short-lived scoring opportunity for the Wyoming franchise. The game went down to the final 34 seconds when Great Falls’ Sandis Mezharaups got the unassisted game-tying goal to send the game into overtime.
In the extra five-minute overtime, Curt Greenbush scored the game-winning goal for the visiting Quake off the stick of Max Doner in the final two minutes of the sudden death overtime.
Each team converted one of their power plays.
The visiting team out-shot the Americans in each of the three regulation periods 54-36 including 6-0 in overtime.
Great Falls finished with seven infractions for seventeen minutes of penalty time while the Quake, who ended their night with a win, accumulated eight penalties for 24 minutes.
Yellowstone’s Nick Ottenbacker, who played the entire game including overtime, earned 33 saves. Nick Nast, who received his first loss of the season, recorded 50 saves for Great Falls.
NEXT CONTEST: The Great Falls Americans and the Yellowstone Quake square off against each other again on Saturday, October 1st at the Great Falls Ice Plex at 7:30PM (MST).