The long-awaited home opener happened in Butte this weekend with a pair of in-state rivals coming to town to face the Cobras. While the results may similar to their first four road games of the season the team showed grit and were competitive at times in both losses.
Bozeman Icedogs were at the Community Ice Center on Friday night riding a two-game win streak. The visitors pounced early with a pair of goals in the opening seven minutes before Robby Arver scored his first of the season for Butte to cut the lead to 2-1. Jeff Fleck assisted on the tally scored at 10:25 of the first period.
The Icedogs would add two goals in the second and one more in the final period to finish off the 6-1 victory.
“We have had a rough 19 days, with only being able to be on the ice for three of those days before Friday’s game,” commented head coach Chris Shadow. “We saw some bright spots in our play, but we need to and will get better in the D-zone and with puck control.”
The busiest player over the weekend was Cobras goaltender Tommy Near of Caledonia, Michigan. Near played both games over the weekend and was key in helping keep the host team in the first half of both games.
Missoula Bruins (5-1-1-0) peppered the Cobras netminder with 46 shots in the opening two periods, but Near kept his team in the game through the first 27 minutes trailing just 2-0.
Fatigue would contribute to the mistakes by the young Cobras roster the rest of the way as Missoula would score three times in the second and another four in the final frame to wrap up a 9-0 win.
Missoula outshot Butte 63-25 in the game. Seth Daniel earned the shutout for the Bruins while Near finished with 54 saves.
“Adding in some key players is our number one concern right now and we are doing that as we speak. We are looking forward to getting back to normal and being on the ice for a full week of practice.”
The Cobras return to action next weekend in Butte when the Sheridan Hawks (4-1-0-0) are scheduled to arrive for a two-game series.
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