Bonta’s big game bests Yellowstone in 9-3 Helena win

Johnny Bonta had two goals and three assists to lead the Helena Bighorns to a 9-3 victory over the Yellowstone Quake.

Bonta found the back of the net 18:51 into the second period to make the score 4-2 Helena and again while on the power play 5:53 into the third to make the score 5-2 Helena.

Yellowstone fell victim to a deadly Helena power play, which ripped the Quake for four goals.

The Bighorns forced Quake\’s goalies to work in net, taking 61 shots and forcing 52 saves. Lance Knudson made 38 stops and AJ Hill made 14. Helena bested its season scoring average. This season, the Bighorns average 4.1 goals per contest.

Helena additionally got points from Brandt Miller, who also registered two goals and two assists, Liam McDonough, who also racked up one goal and one assist, Brian Skillicorn, who also had one goal and two assists, and Matt Mohar, who also tallied one goal and one assist. Helena also got a goal from Brandon Mills as well. More assists for Helena came via Jay Forbes, Kendall Bolen-Porter, and Blake Babineau, who each chipped in one and Nick Trefry and Cody Vanthournout, who contributed two each.

Yellowstone was often in penalty trouble, totaling six minors and three majors for 57 minutes in penalty time. The Quake had been averaging 16.0 minutes in penalties per game. Yellowstone forced Helena goalie Adam Ranck to work between the pipes, taking 34 shots.

The Quake were helped by Mike McCullen, who registered one goal. McCullen scored on the power play 12:12 into the second period to make the score 3-2 Helena. Yellowstone earned a power play opportunity when McDonough was put in the box for interference. Nick Ligocki picked up the assist. Yellowstone also had goals scored by Mason Jobe and Ross Mullen, who each put in one.

Ranck rejected 31 shots on goal for the Bighorns. Helena ended with 23 minutes in penalty time with four minors and one major. The Quake registered one goal on two power play opportunities.