Friday Finals: Bighorns win battle of the unbeatens
Gillette 2 @ Helena 4: The Helena Bighorns continued their dominance across the league, completing a 4-2 victory over Gillette in the battle of unbeaten teams. Samuel Feamster had a key offensive performance for Helena, contributing to their first three scores with a pair of goals and an assist. Defenseman Taber Gutschick also contributed three points for the Bighorns. Brock Trboyevich and Tucker Lien each scored with under two minutes remaining in regulation for Gillette, however it was too little too late for the visitors. Seconds after Lien’s tally, Gutschick sealed the victory with an empty netter with just 32 seconds remaining. Eric Buchholz saved 35 shots in the win and Jake Turek made 35 stops in the loss.
Mid Cities 0 @ TX Brahmas 10: Texas’s offense proved to be too much to handle for Mid Cities, dominating the visitors by a final score of 10-0. Goaltender Dolan Gilbert helped keep Texas undefeated through 20 games with only 9 saves in the contest, the Brahmas shutting out their opponent in four of the last five games. 14 skaters found the scoresheet Friday night, highlighted by a four point night and hat trick performance from Aleksandr Gamzatov. Matt Coe and Michael Imala each scored twice while Erik Vrkoc, Gion Coray, Tyler Hildebrandt, Luc Yorkison, and Cameron Colberg also had multiple points. Quillon Bowman stopped 33 shots in the loss for Mid Cities.
Louisiana 3 @ Atlanta 5: After trailing by a pair of goals through two, Atlanta scored four unanswered in the 3rd period to defeat Louisiana 5-3 in comeback fashion. Louisiana’s Tyler Compton opened the scoring 5:04 into the opening slate, eventually adding another in the 2nd to keep the Drillers on top through 40 minutes. Atlanta’s Carson Holliday found the net midway through the first for his 3rd of the season, providing some momentum for the Capitals’ offense. In the 3rd period Kaleb Miller scored twice for Atlanta, Anthony O’Neal scoring the tying goal and Frederic Sterling burying the eventual game winner. Paul Jarvis remained steady in net for Atlanta, capturing the win with 34 saves. Brandon Keeney took the loss, stopping 27 shots.
Granite City 7 @ Alexandria 2: Ben Sanderson was the highlight of Granite City’s offense, scoring twice and assisting on another in the Lumberjacks’ 7-2 win over Alexandria. The visitors were comfortably ahead through 40 minutes, beating the goaltender seven times while shutting out the Alexandria offense. Nick Mountain, Kullan Daikawa, Nicholas Richert, Wyatt Halvorson, and Brett Reed were the other goal scorers for Granite City. Alexandria’s goals were both found in the final slate as Kaden Peterson and Tyler Klingbeil would both find their way past Granite City’s Matthew Smith. Smith saved the other 19 shots in the victory, while Bailey Rosch took the loss with 21 saves on 28 shots.
Mason City 12 @ Minnesota 2: Five different Mason City skaters beat the netminder twice in their dominant 12-2 rout against Minnesota. Cullen Hogan, Colin Hedland, Jack Campion, Luke Robertson, and Carter Newpower were the efficient multi-goal scorers for the Toros. Ryan Kaspar also found the scoresheet with four assists in Mason City’s victory. Blake Keller and Jackson Stiles were the only scorers for the Loons. Owen Carlson captured the victory with 22 saves. Payton West and Matthew Ryynanen shared time in net for Minnesota, combining for 39 saves in the loss.
Great Falls 4 @ Badlands 2: Daniel Crutcher’s score 12:04 into the 2nd period proved to be the deciding factor in Great Falls’ 4-2 win over the Sabres. Thomas Gazich breached the deadlock late in the first, with Patrick Crooks and Crutcher scoring in the 2nd to give the Americans a 3-0 lead. Derrick Brown found his 11th goal of the season for Badlands late in the second to keep the game within reach. Micah Serino extended the Great Falls lead early in the 3rd. Denim Young’s goal seven minutes later for Badlands would be their last as goaltender Will Simpson kept out 23 shots in the victory for the Americans. Zach Broxterman took home the loss with a busy night in net, making 57 saves.
Yellowstone 7 @ Butte 4: Gustov Osman, Cameron Deforest, and Jack Harris each scored twice for Yellowstone in their back-and-forth victory over the Cobras. Yellowstone scored the first three in the contest from Harris, Deforest, and Gabe Coppo. Butte rallied back with two scores of their own in the 2nd period as Luke Schleusner and Nick Bradshaw scored just minutes apart. Harris buried his 2nd of the game late in the middle period, continuing the Quake’s offensive success. Butte scored twice to open the 3rd period but Yellowstone answered with three more to complete the victory. Luc Haggitt snagged the victory between the pipes with 32 saves. Dale Pfannenstein and Caleb Cross split time in net for Butte, combining for 41 saves in the losing effort.
Bozeman 5 @ Sheridan 1: Bentley Simcox captured a hat trick, helping push Bozeman past the Sheridan Hawks 5-1. Bozeman was relentless in the offensive zone, recording 78 shots against the Sheridan netminder. Ten skaters found the scoresheet for the Icedogs, with captain Liam Massie and forward Nate Brunelle tallying the other Bozeman goals. Reid Hojan scored his first goal of the season for Sheridan 18:52 into the 3rd period to break up Collin Soderholm’s shutout. Soderholm eventually made 26 saves in a solid winning performance in net for Bozeman. Patric Loeffler kept the differential respectable, only allowing 5 goals on 78 shots.
Rochester 7 @ St. Louis 1: Rochester scored seven goals in their dominant victory on the road vs St. Louis. Kade Shea breached the deadlock early in the 1st for Rochester. Blake Arneson scored his 1st and 2nd goals of the season to increase the margin before the opening intermission. The Grizzlies found the back of the net three more times in the 2nd and once more in the 3rd, finding an edge over both St. Louis goaltenders. Michael Gakhutishvili scored his 8th of the season and the lone goal for the Jr. Blues. Rochester’s Lucas Henderson completed the night with an 18 save victory. Espen Reager and Brendan Cobb both spent time between the pipes for St. Louis, combining for 34 saves.