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Great Falls wins long-awaited return home

01/17/2014, 4:15pm MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to

Goals were tough to come by when the Great Falls Americans returned home for the first time in a month on Saturday night. The game went scoreless into the second overtime before Dylan Garton, a Great Falls native, gave the Americans a 1-0 win over the Billings Bulls in the American West Hockey League. Cody Page and Lucas Stover assisted on the goal.

Daniel Oordt had made 45 saves for Billings before Garton broke through. The win was the Americans’ second overtime victory in as many nights. The Americans topped the Glacier Nationals 5-4 Friday.

The second-place Americans (25-6-1) got 22 saves from Erik Powell for his third shutout of the season Saturday.

MOVING UP: Minnesota Junior Hockey League scoring leader Lane King earned a call-up to the North American Hockey League’s Brookings Blizzard after scoring 82 points in 29 games for the Great Lakes Division-leading Marquette Royals.

King had 69 assists and 23 power-play points with Marquette. He has 23 multi-point games, including an eight-point effort against the Wisconsin Rampage and three other games with at least five points.

PLAYOFF BOUND: The Flint Junior Generals and Granite City Lumberbacks clinched North American 3 Hockey League playoff berths on consecutive nights, joining the North Iowa Bulls, who were the first to clinch.

Flint’s Brett Leppek scored both goals and Anders Franke made 25 saves to lift the Junior Generals over the Metro Jets 2-1 Friday. Flint leads the East Division and has the second-best record in the entire NA3HL with a 31-3-2 record.

Christian Mohs and Zac Sikich each had four points Saturday when the Lumberjacks defeated the Peoria Mustangs, 7-3. Granite City (25-8-0) is second to North Iowa in the West Division.

SHOWDOWN SWEEP: The first-place Boston Junior Bruins won consecutive games from the Jersey Hitmen in a meeting of the two winningest teams in the United States Premier Hockey League Premier Division. Boston won 4-1 Friday and 3-2 Saturday.

Boston’s Brian Bowen broke a 1-1 tie and scored consecutive goals 1:42 apart late in the second period Friday. Sean Lawrence made 32 saves in the win and followed up with 33 more Saturday.

The Junior Bruins then went on to a 6-3 win over the Islanders Hockey Club Wednesday afternoon for their eighth straight win. Boston is 14-0-2-0 in the last 16 to improve to 28-3-2-1 overall.

COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: Two Waterloo Black Hawks veterans recently announced their college commitments. Defenseman Dane Cooper is headed to Brown University while forward Blake Winiecki has committed to St. Cloud State University.

Cooper, a third-year member of the United States Hockey League team, is a 19-year-old from Chicago. He has 10 assists and is plus-11 through 27 games.

Winiecki is tied for the team lead and seventh in the league with 16 goals, and he also has 11 assists in 31 games during his second season in the USHL. The Lakeville, Minn. native has five goals in his last three games, including his first hat trick Jan. 4 and a career-high, four-point game on his 20th birthday on Jan. 10.

Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Blake Hillman is committed to the University of Denver and Sioux Falls Stampede forward Dakota Joshua is committed to Ohio State University.

Hillman has a goal and six assists in 30 games. He shares the team lead at plus-12. The Elk River, Minn. resident will be 18 later this month.

Joshua has eight goals and 12 assists in 32 games. He has seven goals in his last 14 games. The 17-year-old from Dearborn, Mich. also played parts of last season with the Stampede and with the U.S. National Under-17 Team.

Sean Mostrom, a defenseman with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the NAHL, is also headed to Denver. The 19-year-old from Wayzata, Minn. becomes the first active Killer Bee to commit to an NCAA Division I school. Mostrom, who has three goals and six assists in 25 games this season, played with the Alexandria/Brookings Blizzard in his previous two seasons in the league.

Aberdeen Wings forward T.J. Roo is headed to Bemidji State University. Roo, 19, from Champlain Park, Minn., has 10 goals and 18 assists as an NAHL rookie.

USHL LEADERS: Youngstown Phantoms scoring leader Kyle Connor scored his first USHL hat trick Saturday in a 6-3 win over Team USA. Indiana Ice goalie Jason Pawloski, who is second in the USHL with 17 wins, has held opponents to one goal or none nine times this season.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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