ROCHESTER, MN – The Helena Bighorns may their 6th National appearance a tough road as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Long Island Royals this afternoon, Bighorns President, Mike Butters announced today.

Helena started strong in the first period and held an 8-2 shot advantage, but it was the Royals who struck first blood on a power play goal that saw captain Trevor Tracy in the box for a slashing call. The period ended 1-0 with the shots even at 12.

The 2nd period was more of the same. The Bighorns started strong again in the second but it was the Royals who struck again to make it 2-0 on their second shot of the period. The Bighorns then got on the board midway through the second frame when Alex DeWitz jammed home a Hagen Nemsek shot to bring the Bighorns to within one, entering the third period.

The Bighorns put relentless pressure on the Royals in the third and it looked like they tied the game on a broken play when Trevor Tracy tapped in a loose puck in front of the Royals net. The goal was waved off. Long Island scored a late goal with goaltender, Trey Flesch on the bench for the extra attacker. The Royals only had 6 shots on goal after the first period against the Bighorns but it was enough as they clung to their goalie and handed the Bighorns their first loss of the tournament.

Bighorns Head Coach, Scott Cunningham, was content with his team’s play but felt the team needed to change their game if they hope to advance in the tournament. “We applied pressure and controlled the play,” said Cunningham, “but we didn’t drive the net. We have to have guys willing to drive to the net to score goals. Our only goal came from that. We need to score and score often to advance.

The Bighorns will have to win their two remaining games if they have a chance to advance into the medal round. They will also likely need some help from others to do so.

Helena faces Atlanta tomorrow at 4:00 pm CST. The game can be watched on