By The Independent Record | Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Helena Bighorns will cruise into next week’s NorPac America West Division playoffs after picking up an easy win in their final regular season game Saturday night 6-2 over Butte.
Chad James and Adam Johnson scored two goals apiece as the Bighorns out shot their opponent 67-12.
Helena enters into the best-of-five series with Billings (20-28) next week with a 42-5 record and the No. 1 seed. Despite the top ranking, a scheduling conflict means that they will head to Billings for the first two games of the series.
Butte (4-43) was out of playoff contention long ago, but the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds weren’t decided until late Saturday night.
Missoula (33-15) dropped its final game to fifth-ranked Bozeman 4-3, which means the Maulers, who lost their last three games, dropped to No. 3 and allowed Yellowstone (34-14) to take the No. 2 spot.
The Bighorns, who are the reigning Cascade Cup champions, won their final five games and received a forfeit from Butte since losing 2-1 to Yellowstone on Feb. 6.
Much of their success is thanks to Johnson, who leads the squad with 89 points and scored six goals in the final two games. Rudy Pino, who also had a goal and two assists, follows up with 87 points.
Taylor Laneville led off the scoring for the Bighorns on Saturday while James had both of his goals around one by Butte’s Zack Wilson at the end of the second period.
Tyler Campbell added the second for the Roughriders at the start of the third before Johnson hit his back-to-back and Pino put one in for good measure with 2:12 left in the game.
Helena goalie Nic Wackerly had 10 saves while James Adamo stopped 61 for the Roughriders.