You are what your record says you are. And after sweeping a weekend series over the Butte Cobras, the Gillette Wild now sit atop the NA3HL Frontier Standings. A 7-3 victory Friday night, followed up with a 5-2 win Saturday night moved Gillette to 12-1-0-1 on the season and their 25 points have them sitting top five in the NA3HL standings.
With a quick glance at the box score it would be easy to think Gillette rolled through Butte, but the box score doesn’t tell the whole story.
Friday night, the Cobras controlled the pace early. Gillette struggled to possess the puck, but the Wild were able to strike first on a goal from Sky Solig. Butte would respond less than a minute later, tying the score on a Nick Bradshaw goal, before Cobra defensemen Luke Schleusner would add another goal just past the midway point in the opening period.
“We got to have fast starts, and Friday wasn’t an example of that,” Gillette Head Coach Ethan Hayes said. “We can’t let teams get ahead of us. We do play from behind pretty well, but we don’t want to keep putting ourselves in that position. Confidence for the other team is huge, and we don’t want to give anyone any confidence they don’t deserve.”
A pair of two-goal out bursts in the second period helped Gillette take control of the game. An Anthony Foster goal, assisted by Saizha Norwegian, and Solig, tied the game. Just over a minute later, Wyatt Schmitz, and Adam Severson setup a JP Johnson goal that put the Wild up for good. Later in the second, an Alec Waller goal, assisted by Norwegian and Solig, was quickly followed by Wylee Gladen scoring a goal, assisted by Todd Powassin, and Johan Palmqvist, to blow things open.
Jake Turek got the win in net for Gillette on Friday night stopping 26-of-29 shots he faced. Turek is now 4-0-0-1 this season and has turned away 162-of-172 (.931 SV%) shots faced.
Saturday saw the Wild start fast and not look bad. A Ryan Jordan goal, assisted by Connor Wendell, and Remington Richardson, was the first of three Gillette would score in the first. A Palmqvist goal, assited by Isaac Young, and Johnson, was followed 17-seconds later, by Solig scoring, getting setup by Norwegian, and Powassin to put Gillette up 3-0 after the first.
Two goals in the second, Johnson, from Young and Severson, and Severson, from Johnson and Young, would be enough for Gillette to secure the win and series sweep.
Cole Wheaton got the win in net for Gillette on Saturday night stopping 26-of-28 shots he faced. Wheaton is now 4-1 this season and has turned away 142-of-156 (.910 SV%) shots faced.
Gillette will be back home at Spirit Hall Ice Arena this Friday night facing off against Sheridan. More on that later in the week.