Absolutely everything went right for the Gillette Wild on Saturday night in Great Falls and for 45-minutes they had absolutely nothing to show for it.
A late second period goal followed by three more over a three minute span in the third, blew things open as Gillette swept the Frontier Division series over the Americans at the Great Falls Ice Complex this weekend.
“It is frustrating when you’re doing everything right and bounces don’t go your way, or you don’t get rewarded for it other than a pat on the back on the bench,” Wild Head Coach Ethan Hayes said. “It is very frustrating but they just know that if they stay the course that the goals they have set will be accomplished.”
With the two victories, 9-4 on Friday, and 5-1 on Saturday, Gillette collected all four points and remain second in the division. The Wild are 10-1-0-1 on the season and trail only Helena, 12-1-0-1, in the Frontier standings.
Saturday night saw Gillette setup shop early in the Americans defensive zone, outshooting Great Falls 20-7 in the first period. Americans goalie Josh Koziol was up to challenge turning away 19 of 20 shots he faced in the first. Connor Wendell scored with just under a minute to go in the period putting Gillette out front, but Great Falls answered with a goal of their own in the period’s final 10-seconds.
Sky Solig scored the only goal in the second frame and Gillette was clinging to one goal lead before opening the floodgates in the third.
A pair of Jace Johnson goals sandwiched around a strike from Johan Palmqvist, over a three-minute stretch midway through the third, created the distance Gillette had been looking for all night.
“We’re a blue collar group,” Hayes added. “We’re not going to stop working just because things don’t go our way. We’re not whiners. We’re not breeding whiners here, we’re breeding savages.”
Dominic Hite stopped 27 of 28 shots he faced in victory Saturday night. Jake Turek turned away 25 of 29 shots in the Wild win Friday night.
Gillette returns home this weekend hosting a pair of games against the Butte Cobras.