By Kevin Scott
|Box Score||Game Sheet||League Scoreboard||Americans Team Statistics|
GREAT FALLS, Mont., January 29, 2021 — Last week, the #4 Great Falls Americans (17-11-1-0) snapped a five-game losing streak after posting a 3-2 shootout victory over the #8 Butte Cobras (4-21-2-1) on the road.
Tonight, they hoped to build on their momentum for their lone game against the Cobras last week when the #7 Yellowstone Quake (Cody, WY) came to town for a twin-bill. Great Falls and Yellowstone played one weekend of games (two games) at Wyoming’s Riley Arena back on November 13th and 14th with the Americans picking up their ninth and tenth wins of the season. At that point of the season, Great Falls was undefeated at 10-0 after posting 10-2 and 6-3 wins against the Quake.
Since that meeting, Great Falls is 7-11-1-0 and Yellowstone has won just six of their 15 games. The Americans, who are now currently sitting in fourth place in the NA3HL’s Frontier Division after spending most of their season trailing the #1 Sheridan (WY) Hawks (24-1-0-0), are led by standout goaltender Trever Mellen, who is 15-6-0-0 on the season with a 2.65 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a 0.928 save percentage after 22 games. Forward Alex Jackson, a first-year player for Great Falls, leads the team in goals scored (16) and is second in assists made with 19. Teammate and returning forward, Jake Hayes has scored 13 goals and 22 assists. Bryson Fletcher also has registered 20 assists for coach Greg Sears’ squad.
The Yellowstone Quake (9-17-1-0) have two goaltenders with similar stats. Hudgel Selk and Connor Carroll both have the same save percentage. Selk, a Wyoming native, has six losses and has a save percentage of 0.878 coming into tonight’s game with Great Falls. Carroll, from Canada, has four setbacks and a 0.877 save percentage. Two returning forwards for coach Phil Oberlin’s team, Jack Harris and Dylan Rumpke lead the team with 43 points each. Harris is the team leader with 23 goals while Rumpke is the top player in assists with 27.
The seventh-ranked Yellowstone (WY) Quake outscored the #4 Great Falls Americans 3-0 in the third period to hold on for a 5-3 upset victory in Great Falls on Friday evening. Dylan Rumpke scored twice and had one assist while Jack Harris compiled three assists for Wyoming’s ninth win.
The Quake quickly pushed the puck up and scored 22 seconds into the first period for the only successful scoring drive during the first twenty minutes. Defenseman Rowan Wuerdeman earned his first goal of the season as Cade Rosansky and Jack Luttringer earned the assists. Both squads combined for 16 shots as the first intermission came.
The Americans trailed 1-0 for the first 73 seconds of the middle period before the home team struck. It was a Jake Hayes dish to Micah Serino for the goal over Quake netminder Connor Carroll to even up the game. Bryson Fletcher collected his 12th goal nine minutes after Serino’s game-tying score to give Great Falls their first lead of the night. Jake Hayes produced his 22nd assist in 25 appearances and Connor Doyle accrued his 12th assist of the season. Later in the stanza, Bryson Fletcher scored his second goal of the second frame with defensemen Jay Alford and Tyler Lorring setting up third tally. Tempers flared during the final minute of the period with four unsportsmanlike conducts called on the Americans. Yellowstone closed out the second with their second goal to cut the deficit to 3-2 as team leaders Jack Harris’ pass to Dylan Rumpke lit up the back of the net while Great Falls was in the penalty kill.
The third period began just like the first period with Yellowstone racking up a goal during the first minute of action. Cade Rosansky secured his fifth score with helpers from Joe McCormick and Jack Harris as the Quake capitalized on the penalty by Great Falls to tie the contest at 3-3. Former Great Falls American Max Jacoshenk was the recipient of Yellowstone’ fourth goal as the Quake regained the lead with assistance from Dylan Rumpke and Jack Harris with 8:45 remaining. Dylan Rumpke chipped in his second goal off the stick of Keegan Ferguson for the third goal that came via the power play to increase the lead to 5-3 with 7:04 left in the contest. The teams battled it out the rest of the way with no scoring.
Yellowstone attempted seven more shots than Great Falls to finish with 36.
Sixteen infractions were called between the two junior hockey franchises. Great Falls was whistled for 13 of those resulting in 44 minutes spent off the ice with one ejection. Yellowstone’s three minor penalties came after the first period. The visiting team went 3-for-9 on the power play and Great Falls added one power play score in the second period.
Dylan Rumpke (two goals, one assist) and Jack Harris (three assists) each had three points apiece to lead their team to the upset win. Bryson Fletcher scored two of the Americans three goals while teammate Jake Hayes dished out two assists in the loss.
Connor Carroll achieved another victory for Yellowstone by stopping 26 shots while allowing three middle period goals by the host team. Trever Mellen had a tough night in the net for Great Falls. He recorded 31 saves but failed to prevent five scoring threats by the Quake.
NOTES: Before the February 6th trading deadline, the Great Falls Americans have made some changes to their roster this week. Goaltender Hunter Burian, forwards Ryder McMillen and Ethan Funaro were released, and goaltender Ben Monsivais and forward John Rynne were traded to the NA3HL’s Bay State (MA) Bobcats. Great Falls did add three players to their roster including netminder Ben Winkler, defenseman Kobe Pane, and defenseman Zach Crawley, who came over from the NA3HL’s Texas Brahmas.
Also, Max Jacoshenk, a defenseman from Portland, Oregon, started the season (seven games) for the Americans and is now playing with the Yellowstone (WY) Quake.
Starting tonight, the Great Falls Americans can now have 250 spectators in attendance at the Great Falls Ice Plex for the junior hockey games as the Cascade County Health Board eased up on some of the COVID-19 restrictions. Since November 21st until now, no spectators were allowed into the Ice Plex.
The Gillette (WY) Wild are in second place with a record of 17-10-1-1 and the Missoula Jr. Bruins are in third with a record of 17-10-2-0. Great Falls was in third place before tonight’s contest but with the loss and Missoula’s 5-4 overtime road win over the Helena Bighorns on Friday, they fell to fourth place.
NEXT CONTEST: The Yellowstone Quake will be in town for the second game of their weekend series against Great Falls with a 7:30PM (MST) start time on Saturday, January 30th. The action from the Great Falls Ice Plex can be seen live on the NA3HL’s streaming service, HockeyTV.
Additional Media Coverage: January 29, 2021: 560AM-KMON: Weekly Radio Interview by KMON’s Randy Bogden with Great Falls Americans Head Coach Greg Sears every Friday morning. Click here to listen to the full interviews.