Helena beats Billings 5-3 after comeback scare

The Helena Bighorns survived a determined comeback attempt by the Billings Bulls on the way to a 5-3 win.

Helena made the score 5-2 on a goal by Elliot Hopkins at 2:00 in the third period, and Billings got as close as 5-3 when Ralfs Karelis scored 9:11 into the third period.

The Bighorns forced the Bulls\’ netminders to work between the pipes, taking 50 shots and forcing 45 saves. Cole Semchak made 36 stops and Ray Smith made nine. Helena was ineffective while on the power play, as it was held to one goal off of nine man advantages. The Bighorns could not stay out of the penalty box, as the team accrued 40 minutes in penalties during the game.

Helena was led by Matt Mohar, who had three goals. Bryan Knesel also scored for Helena. More assists for Helena came via Nick Trefry, Kendall Bolen-Porter, Jarrett Scheibel, Brian Skillicorn, and Justin Provencher, who contributed one each.

Billings kept the Bighorns\’ goalie busy throughout the game, and Grant Martens made 37 saves on 40 shots. The Bulls could not stay out of the penalty box, as the team accrued 22 minutes in penalties during the game.

Billings was helped by TJ Theodosopoulos, who tallied one goal and one assist. Theodosopoulos scored on the power play 16:51 into the first period to make the score 3-2 Helena. A unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Knesel had put the Bulls on the power play. Tristan Henrichs assisted on the tally. Billings additionally got points from Reed Kaiser, who also racked up one goal and one assist. In addition, Billings received assists from Steven Thompson, Cameron Birklid, and Ian Wiljanen, who each chipped in one.

Billings registered two goals on eight power play opportunities.