Bighorns grab 3 of 4 points, tie for last playoff spot

The Helena Bighorns earned 3 of 4 possible points this weekend in Gillette, WY, tying them with Missoula for the last playoff berth.

After a slow first half of the season, the Helena Bighorns continued to be unbeaten in regulation for 2020 as they look to earn a playoff berth with just 3 weeks left in the regular season.

The team traveled to Gillette, WY this weekend for a 2 game set vs. the #5 Wild. Friday night saw the team start slow after the long trip to Gillette, and the first period ended in a scoreless tie, 0-0.  The Horns started quickly in the second period as #17 Jiri Benes slammed home a one-timer off a pass from D-partner JJ Blondin on a steadily improving Bighorns powerplay. Helena would take the 1 goal lead into the 3rd period before Porter Tirrill would give them a 2 goal cushion off a great pass from linemate Darren Donovan on a late developing 2 on 1 opportunity.  The next 10 minutes of the period would see back and forth action, before Helena’s Gavyn Galloway would put the game to bed with a goal on an empty Gillette net after they pulled the goalie during 4v4 play. Darren Donovan would add another to give the Bighorns the 4-0 win, as goalie Ethan Racz earned his first shutout of the season, turning aside all 30 of Gillette’s shots.

Saturday’s game started well for the Bighorns, as they took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission off a Porter Tirrill goal off a nice set up by Darren Donovan.  Gillette would not lay down however and came back in the second with two quick goals at 3:49 and 5:58 into the period. Sloppy play on both sides led to a scoreless next twenty minutes before Helena’s Darren Donovan converted on a breakaway attempt at the 6:51 mark in the 3rd period. Neither team would get much going for the rest of the period, and the two teams headed to 3 v 3 overtime tied 2 apiece.  Suspense for both teams was short lived after Gillette’s Caleb Sanborn beat Helena netminder Kevin Taunton with a shot off a faceoff battle just 40 seconds into the extra period. Taunton would take the loss, stopping 19 of 22 shots for the game.

The Bighorns are home this weekend, February 14, 15; and face off against the Sheridan Hawks, who are currently in 2nd place in the Frontier Division. Puck drops at 705 pm both nights.