CODY, Wyo. – Helena\’s win streak came to a quick end on Tuesday.
The Bighorns gave up a goal on each of their first two penalty kills and the Yellowstone Quake ended Helena\’s nine-game win streak with a 5-2 opener in the America West Division finals.
Yellowstone improves to 4-0 in the playoffs after sweeping through Missoula in the first round. Helena is now 3-1 after beating up Billings in the best-of-five series.
Andrew Lord scored the first of three Yellowstone power-play goals one minute, 32 seconds after Helena defenseman Gene Constantine was called for tripping in the first period.
Jake Doty added another goal just 38 seconds after Tom Lee was called for kneeing. The Quake sped away from there, taking a 5-0 lead into the third as Kory Sosnowski, Nick Kent and Alex Odea tallied goals.
\”They did exactly what they had to do,\” said Bighorns head coach Scott Cunningham. \”We weren\’t good defensively.
\”We were on our heels all night. We just kept backing up and giving them room.\”
The Bighorns still outshot their opponent 57-37, but Alex Larson finished with 55 saves for the Quake while Helena\’s Ryan Sutliffe stopped 32.
Helena finally got on the board with 9:53 left in the game. Taylor Laneville scored on an assist by Rudy Pino and Gehrett Sargis scored a power-play goal thanks to assists by Constantine and Pino.
\”We needed to have a good solid third period, maybe it would carry over to tomorrow night\’s game,\” Cunningham said.
The two-time reigning Cascade Cup champions finished the regular season with a 43-5 record to Yellowstone\’s 34-14, but a scheduling conflict forced them on the road to start the series with the Quake.
The Bighorns will play one more game in Yellowstone tonight at 7:30 p.m. before returning to finish out the series in Helena beginning Friday.