Tension built in the Glacier Ice Rink as fans from both sides of the rivalry filled the stands in the season’s most anticipated match-up. Missoula scored first with a power play goal almost six minutes into the first period. Neither team was able to come up with another goal and the game went into the intermission 1-0.
Helena and Missoula came out in the second period looking to change the score in their favor. Despite the Bighorns outshooting the Maulers, they were unable to connect with the goal. It looked like it would be another scoreless period when a much-debated penalty shoot was awarded to the Maulers. Brett Mathews scored and the Maulers took a 2-0 lead.
The third period opened with good news for the Bighorns. Forward Theo Campe scored the Bighorns' lone goal of the evening just ninety-five seconds into the period. With the Bighorns only back by one, they went on an offensive drive, battling for that goal to tie things up. Almost fifteen minutes into the period, Missoula came up with their third goal of the evening and the Bighorns saw a win move out of their grasp.
The 3-1 loss to the Maulers set the play-off schedule. Second place Helena will play third place Billings in the first round of the AWHL play-offs. Play-offs will kick-off in Helena on Tuesday, March 13th at 7:05. The Bighorns will then travel to Billings on Wednesday before coming back to host the Bulls once more on Friday, March 16 at 7:35. The Bighorns will finish the week back in Billings on Saturday. With play-offs on a best-of-seven schedule, the remaining three games will be on a as necessary schedule. Three more dates are on the schedule, with the Bighorns hosting the Bulls on March 21 and 24 if necessary and travelling to Billing on March 23 if necessary.
Fans are encouraged to support the Bighorns over the course of this first round of play-offs before the team takes a break to travel to Rochester, MN at the end of the month to compete at Nationals. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the Bighorns website at www.HelenaBighorns.com or call (406) 457-2817.
-PRIDE & PASSION-