Great Falls blows out Helena, 5-1

Great Falls had a three-goal lead after two periods and cruised the rest of the way en route to a 5-1 win over Helena.

Helena was stymied by Great Falls\’ netminder Jake Stephan, who stopped 36 shots during the victory. Stephan managed to improve on his goals against average, which stood at 1.99 prior to the game.

Helena\’s 10 penalties came back to haunt it, as Helena let up four goals while on the penalty kill.

Great Falls forced its penalty killing units to work especially hard during the game, picking up nine minors and one major for 43 minutes in penalty time. The total exceeded the 16.0 minutes per game Great Falls had been spending in the box. Great Falls forced Helena\’s goalies to work hard to keep the puck out of the net, totaling 50 shots and forcing 45 saves. Grant Martens made 45 stops and Adam Ranck made zero. Great Falls put up an impenetrable defensive front on the penalty kill, and did not allow Helena to score on any of its nine power plays.

Great Falls was helped by Reed Link, who had one goal and one assist. Link scored on the power play 19:31 into the first period to make the score 2-0 Great Falls. Great Falls earned a power play opportunity when Wyatt Stotts was put in the box for high sticking. Wade Wylie assisted on the tally. Great Falls also got points from Wylie, who also registered one goal and one assist. Great Falls also got a goal from Ricards Bernhards as well. In addition, Great Falls received assists from Tyler Garcia, who had two and Arseny Ivanov, Blake Miller, Josh Larson, Tanner Congdon, and Adam Apangalook, who each chipped in one.

Helena\’s penalty box was a popular destination as the team totaled eight minors and two majors for 66 minutes in penalty time. Helena surpassed its season average of 25.0 penalty minutes per game. Helena\’s offense operated below its season average. Helena puts an average of 4.0 pucks into the net per game. Helena\’s offense rang up 37 shots on Great Falls\’ net.

For Helena, John Greer and Blake Babineau were ejected from the contest.