The Butte Cobras began their 2020-21 NA3HL regular season October 2-3. It was supposed to be a home weekend at the Butte Community Ice Center, but ended up as a “home” series at Great Falls.
Ice at the arena was worked on all week in preparation, but some technical malfunctions made playing in Butte impossible. So the Cobras traveled north for a pair of home games against the Great Falls Americans in their rink.
With six 30+ win seasons under their belt the Americans have built a strong and consistent program, one the Cobras are attempting to create in Butte. Stacked with a veteran lineup and depth, the Americans proved too strong for the Cobras sweeping a two-game set.
Butte battled toe-to-toe with Great Falls in the opener and scored the first goal of the game at 14:38 when Blake Nichols found the back of the net. Assisting on the powerplay goal was Kyler Garsjo and Nick Bradshaw.
Great Falls would tie the game at 8:52 of the second, but the Cobras won the following faceoff and scored just :08 later on a goal by Bradshaw (assists from Jonathan Schoof and Garsjo) to make it 2-1.
Momentum didn’t last long though as the Americans once again evened things :18 later. Harley Nyhuis netted the would-be game winner at 13:09 of the second. The Americans added another just prior to intermission.
Great Falls experience and depth wore down the young Cobras in the second half of the game. Shot totals ended at 73-25 in favor of the Americans.
Goaltender Danny Fielding, a third year Junior veteran, took the loss in net for Butte stopping 47 of 51 shots in two periods of play. 18-year old Mason Giordano made 20 saves in the final frame, giving up two goals.
16-year old Diego Olson scored the lone Cobras goal in a 8-1 defeat on Saturday night. Olson is a native of Lafayette, California. The Americans were credited with 81 shots on net in the game.
Giordano started the game giving up five goals in 25 minutes. Fielding played the final 35 minutes making 45 saves on 48 shots faced.
Next weekend the Cobras travel to Sheridan to face the Hawks in another two-game series. The Hawks split their opening series against the Bozeman Icedogs.
In the Friday night game, Butte goaltender Mason Giordano made 20 saves on 20 shots. There were 2 open net goals.