The Gillette Wild was within striking distance after one period, but the Helena Bighorns put the pedal down in the second en route to an 8-2 victory.
Gillette fell victim to a deadly Helena power play, which ripped the Wild for four goals.
The Bighorns were sparked by Austin Loes, who registered one goal. Loes scored 1:22 into the second period to make the score 3-1 Helena.
Helena racked up the penalties in the contest, and ended with nine minors and one major for 33 minutes in penalty time. The Bighorns had been averaging 20.0 minutes in penalties per game. Helena forced Gillette's goalies to work all game long, finishing with 55 shots and forcing 47 saves. Josh Beatty made 22 stops and Michael Kitts made 25.
Helena additionally got points from Nick Okada, who also tallied one goal and one assist,Dylan Webster, who also had one goal and three assists to lead the team in points, Logan Henne, who also finished with one goal and one assist, and Sebastian Hansson, who also grabbed one goal and one assist. Jacob Wolter also scored for Helena. In addition, Helena received assists from Parker Olson and Austin Buckholtz, who each chipped in one and Ryan Webber and Brian Skillicorn, who contributed two a piece.
The Wild were often in penalty trouble, totaling 11 minors and one major for 27 minutes in penalty time. Gillette surpassed its season average of 23.0 penalty minutes per game. The Wild kept the Bighorns' goalie busy throughout the game, and Austin Brihn made 30 saves on 32 shots. Gillette was ineffective while on the power play, as it was held to two goals off of nine man advantages.
The Wild were helped by Brandon Castleberry, who registered one goal. Castleberry scored on the power play 12:44 into the second period to make the score 4-2 Helena. Gillette earned a power play opportunity when Wolter was put in the box for kneeing. Darren Bankspicked up the assist. Gillette also got a goal from Andrii Istominov as well. Other players who recorded assists for Gillette were Moco Willis, who had one.
The Bighorns played tonight's game in honor of teammate Wyatt Winfield, who spent four seasons with the Bighorns before he tragically passed away in an automobile accident on March 15th, 2013. Today marked Wyatt's 20th birthday.