Bighorns keep pace in Playoff Race

The Helena Bighorns stretched their point streak to 9 games with two wins over the Butte Cobras this past week.

The Bighorns travelled to Butte on Wednesday for a rare mid-week game at the Butte Community Ice Center.  The two teams skated to a scoreless tie in the first period, before things opened up just minutes into the second period with a goal by Ty Niskanen that put the Bighorns up 1-0. The Cobras answered back with a goal by Ty Stovin just over two minutes later, evening it one apiece. The Bighorns weren’t done however as Johnny Baird scored at the 16:53 mark, followed by a strike by Porter Tirrill with 1:14 to go in the frame.

The Bighorns would continue the momentum with a strike by Jiri Benes just 1:40 into the 3rd,  followed by a nice tip from forward Blaine Krona just over a minute later. Ty Niskanen would round things up with his 2nd of the night at the half way point of the 3rd to seal it for the Bighorns, 6-1. Bighorn goalie Ethan Racz would get the win, allowing just the one goal on 50 shots.

Saturday saw the Bighorns travel back to Butte for the 2nd game of the week, and the Cobras were ready to play from the puck drop as they got goals from Robin Bagley and Ty Stovin to take a 2-0 lead just over 5 minutes into the period. Helena would finally wake up as the period  passed the halfway mark, with a goal by Abe Laggis at 10:26. Ty Niskanen took the momentum and found the net just 18 seconds later to tie the game at 2 apiece. Bighorns forward Darren Donovan would pot his 21st of the year towards the end of the period to give the Bighorns a 3-2 lead going into the 1st intermission. It was all Bighorns from that point on as Tirrill and Laggis would score in the second period, followed by goals from Deskin and Galloway in the 3rd, giving the Bighorns the 7-2 win. Racz recovered nicely from the shaky start, not allowing a goal after the first two and stopping 27 of 29 for the win.

The two wins on the week extended the Bighorns streak to points in each of the last nine games, and kept them undefeated in regulation play in 2020. The points were badly needed as Missoula upset the Gillette Wild both games this weekend, keeping a 1 point lead over the Horns for the final playoff spot. The Bighorns will be on the road again this weekend as they head to Gillette for two games. The Horns are 1-3 in four games against the Wild this season.