Two games were there for the taking last weekend in Cody. The Butte Cobras led in both contests against the Yellowstone Quake, but penalties and mistakes late in the games proved to be too much.
Butte opened the series with a spark not seen this season which led to a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of action. Tallies by Cory Kane and Nick Bradshaw had the Cobras, seeking their first victory of the season, playing confident.
Cobras confidence on grew after a Nikita Pinimyasov goal at 3;24 of the second made it 3-0. Three minutes later a Yellowstone powerplay goal made it 3-1 as the teams battled back-and-forth throughout.
The host Quake came out with purpose in the third, grabbing momentum after a Will Sobeski goal at 3:19. Butte drew a penalty on the next shift, but it was Yellowstone who would score shorthanded at 4:47 to tie the game 3-3.
An untimely penalty by Randy Yeakley for leaving the bench at 11:19 proved costly. Yeakley was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct giving the Quake a powerplay for nearly half of the remaining time in regulation.
It took Yellowstone just :43 to find what turned out to be the game winning goal when Dylan Rumpke punched in a loose puck in front of the net spoiling the debut of Cobras goaltender Skyler Coard who finished with 38 saves. The 19-year old native of Morrisville, North Carolina was recently acquired from the Louisiana Drillers. Coard recorded nine wins in 14 games played last season with the New England Wolves (EHLP) posting an impressive .920 save%.
The two Frontier Division opponents met again on Sunday in what turned out to be a bit of a wild one. The teams combined for 97 shots in the game, with Butte posting a season-high 50.
Kyle Chambers scored first for the Cobras late in the first period which ended tied 1-1. Kane would restore the lead midway into the second, but the Quake again answered to even the score 2-2. A powerplay tally scored by Jonathan Schoof – his first NA3HL goal – at 18:02 gave the Cobras a 3-2 advantage which carried into the third.
Penalties again proved costly as Yellowstone scored twice on the powerplay then adding an empty net goal to seal the win. Butte made it a 6-4 final when Cade Insko scored with :16 on the clock.
Tommy Neal stopped 41 of 46 shots against in defeat.