Bighorns shut out Butte 10-0

Ryan Parkhouse insists he hasn’t given much attention to winning the NorPac scoring title this season. His actions tell a much different story.

Parkhouse posted his third hat trick of the season, scoring three goals and getting two assists as the Helena Bighorns beat the Butte Roughriders 10-0 in a NorPac game at the Helena Ice Arena on Friday night.

Parkhouse took over the league scoring lead with 30 goals and 59 points in 30 NorPac games this season. (Helena’s four games in the Las Vegas Shootout do not count in the NorPac standings or statistics.)

“Our line played pretty well and I got it in the back of the net,” Parkhouse said. The PHP line of Parkhouse, Cody Hess and Anthony Petruzzelli accounted for 13 points on Friday. Hess and Petruzzelli each had a goal and three assists.

“We’re working really well and it comes naturally,” Petruzzelli said. “I’ll have the opportunity to shoot, but if I have one of them open, I’ll get rid of it.”

The chemistry was evident on the very first shift when Petruzzelli hit Hess with a pass down low and Hess fired a no-look pass to Parkhouse, who beat Butte goaltender Riese Niehaus low glove side just 21 seconds into the contest. It was the first of a staggering 93 shots Niehaus faced in his first career start against Helena.

“They’re fast and they shoot hard,” Niehaus said. “They’re everywhere.”

Thirteen different players scored at least one point as Helena (29-2, 58 points) controlled the play in the offensive zone for the majority of the night, even on the three times when Butte had a power play.

Kameron Maxwell had to make only 11 saves to post his fourth shutout of the season — three of them coming against Butte.

“Playing teams like Butte is the most difficult of games to stay focused and you don’t want to be too hard on them,” Helena coach Scott Cunningham said.

Butte (3-28, 6 points) dropped its sixth straight. The Roughriders are 0-5 against Helena this season and have been outscored 63-3.

“I’m sure Butte wants to have a better organization,” Cunningham said. “Players are slim picking. I think they need bodies. That’s the biggest disadvantage they’ve had the last couple of years.

“It was 3-0 after the first one and we kept plugging away. I think they got tired.”

Parkhouse never seems to get tired. The California native has 14 points in his last eight games and tallied at least one point in 25 of 30 games this season.

That production should help the Bighorns make up for the loss of forward Chris Rinaldi, who will miss at least the next three weeks with a broken ring finger on his right hand. Rinaldi suffered the injury in a fight with Yellowstone’s Cody Farber last week and will have surgery on Monday.

Rinaldi’s normal linemates, Michael Sullivan and Trevor Tracy, were both healthy scratches on Friday.

ICE CHIPS: Forward Tyler Marek, acquired last week from Missoula for defenseman Blair Murphy, scored his first Helena goal in the third period. Defenseman Matt Prigge also played his first game as a Bighorn.