Near, Butte Cobras grab a point in Great Falls

Butte Cobras faced a tough task on Friday night. After earning their first victory of the season two days prior, the team traveled to face the division leading Great Falls Americans who have just one loss on their record. At the end of the night Butte secured a point in the standings with a 3-2 overtime loss.

It was the third meeting of the two teams this season (Great Falls swept opening weekend) with the Cobras coming off their first victory of the season just two days prior.

Daniel Crutcher scored the first goal on a long shot from high in the slot at 2:43. It was just the third shot of the game for the Americans. Backup goaltender Tommy Near was brought in replacing starter Mason Giordano.

With Near stopping all 16 shots faced the remainder of the first Butte got on the board with a powerplay goal at 10:15 to tie the game 1-1. Quinn Nichols recorded his first NA3HL goal with assists from Hunter Howe and Kyle Chambers.

It was just the fourth appearance for Nichols, a 17-year old from Helena. As a high school junior Nichols was named Montana All-State First Team last March.

The teams played the next 45+ minutes without a goal although both had chances throughout. Great Falls controlled portions of the game in the offensive zone, but Near (48 saves) was up to the task.

With four minutes remaining in regulation Bryson Fletcher won a faceoff kicking the puck to teammate Harley Nyhuis who slapped the puck past Near to give the Americans a 2-1 lead.

There was no quit in the Cobras this game and the team were rewarded when a diving pass from Nick Bradshaw found Hunter Howe who tied the game with just 1:14 to play in regulation. Randy Yeakley was credited with the second assist. It was just the fourth shot on net in the period by Butte, but enough to force overtime.

Both teams had opportunity in the three-on-three session with Butte posting seven shots on net. A tripping penalty was whistled on the Cobras with 1:23 to go giving the home team a powerplay. Great Falls used the extra man as Connor Doyle scored the game winner with just :07 left in overtime.

The Butte Cobras (1-12-1-0) head south today to face the Bozeman Icedogs (8-7-1-0) at Haynes Pavilion. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 PM.

Tech enthusiast, marketing and media. @Ludwig_Media

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