The season like no other continued this weekend for the Butte Cobras who have shown steady improvement each game. This week was no exception as the team took three of four points in their two games.
The Cobras traveled to the capital city Friday for a clash with the Helena Bighorns who defeated Butte in their previous matchup in overtime 5-4 on January 8. Some retribution was in store as the Cobras crushed the Bighorns 4-1.
Jonah Gilbert scored twice in the second before Zane Cluphf added a pair in the third to provide plenty of offense while goaltender Tommy Near (59 saves) slammed the door on every Helena opportunity. Nick Bradshaw assisted on both third period tallies while Jed Morone, Cluphf, Kyle Chambers and Luke Schlensner each chipped in with helpers.
Great Falls Americans were in Butte on Saturday night for another NA3HL Frontier Division game. The visitors had won all four previous matchups with Butte earning a point in an overtime loss on November 27.
A similar script played out in this one with each team scoring a goal in the opening frame. Kyler Garsjo netted his team-leading 16th of the season at 19:59 to even things at intermission.
Both teams had opportunities in the second, but Alex Jackson scored the lone goal for Great Falls at 14:19 to make it 2-1.
Tommy Near, who was playing his second game in two nights, kept the Americans off the board the rest of the way. He would stop 48 of 50 shots through 65 minutes.
Recent addition Nick DeCarlo tied the game for Butte at 9:10 of the third with assists from Cluphf and Chambers. It was his first Junior hockey goal for the 2020 St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati) grad in just his fourth game with the Cobras.
After a scoreless overtime and each team earning a point in the standings the game proceeded to a shootout. After four rounds Great Falls would take the extra point and a 3-2 victory.
After 28 games this season the Butte Cobras (4-21-2-1) have proven they can compete with anyone in the Frontier Division. After starting the season with 12-straight losses the teams has earned 11 points in the standings going 4-9-2-1.