The Gillette Wild tried to dig themselves out of a three-goal hole, but the Great Falls Americans held on for a 5-3 victory.
Great Falls made the score 5-2 on a goal by Lucas Lomax at 9:03 in the third period, and Gillette got as close as 5-3 when Will Fobair scored 18:21 into the third period.
The Americans\’ penalty kill excelled, as Great Falls gave up one goal despite allowing six power plays.
The Americans racked up the penalties in the contest, and ended with eight minors and three majors for 51 minutes in penalty time. Great Falls surpassed its season average of 23.0 penalty minutes per game. The Americans forced the Wild\’s goaltenders to work without much rest, taking 35 shots and forcing 30 saves. Michael Kitts made 29 stops and Josh Beatty made one.
Great Falls was helped by Brady Christiaens, who had one goal. Christiaens scored on the power play 6:19 into the first period to make the score 2-1 Great Falls. A unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Darren Banks had put the Americans on the power play. Zachary Mese provided the assist. Great Falls additionally got points from Lomax, who also racked up one goal and two assists to lead the team in points and Donovan Mattfeldt, who also registered one goal and one assist. Great Falls also had goals scored by Austin Krantz and Steven Goran, who each put in one. More assists for Great Falls came via Erik Gatson, who had two and Dylan Garton, Cody Page, Doug Keller, and Tanner Doty, who contributed one a piece.
Gillette was often in penalty trouble, totaling eight minors and three majors for 71 minutes in penalty time. The Wild had been averaging 22.0 minutes in penalties per game. Gillette\’s offense rang up 42 shots on Great Falls\’ net.
The Wild were helped by Dalton McCann, who grabbed one goal. McCann scored 1:25 into the first period to make the score 1-0 Gillette. Tj Mcminn assisted on the tally. Greg Sauers also scored for Gillette. In addition, Gillette received assists from Andrii Istominov and Brandon Castleberry, who each chipped in one.
Erik Powell made 39 saves for the Americans on 42 shots. Great Falls registered three goals on six power play opportunities. For the Americans, Johnathan Carpenter was ejected from the game.