The red-hot Butte Cobras swept a two-game series over the visiting Yellowstone Quake this weekend as the team continues its development. In the past six games Butte has a 3-1-1-1 record and eight points for their efforts.
Goaltender Tommy Near was the story of the weekend stopping 118 of 121 shots faced (.975 save%) improving his season record to 4-5-1-1. The 19-year old native of Caledonia, Michigan is among the NA3HL top 15 leaders in save% while facing 683 shots against, sixth most in the league.
Butte began the weekend with an impressive 6-1 victory Friday night in one of the better team performances of the season. First period tallies by Jonathan Schoof and Randy Yeakley were enough as Near, who finished with 62 saves, held the Quake at bay.
Yellowstone were kept off the scoreboard for the first 49 minutes of the game before Aiden Croce broke up the shutout. By then the Cobras led 4-0 behind third period goals from Kyler Garsjo and Nick Bradshaw.
Tamer Billman scored late in the period before Zane Cluphf added an empty net goal to seal the victory.
The Quake came ready to play the following night determined for a series split. Cade Rosansky scored the only goal of the opening period to give Yellowstone the lead.
Butte fought back in the second frame, taking a 2-1 lead behind goals from Garsjo and Robin Bagley. The Cobras outshot Yellowstone in the period 22-14.
Pressure came from everywhere in the third with the Quake pounding Near with 24 shots, but it was Luke Schlensner who found the back of the net at 5:42 to make it a 3-1 game.
Yellowstone quickly answered the call as Tyler Cramer scored to make it 3-2 with 13:22 remaining in regulation, but the Cobras defense (and Near) were up to the task holding on for the victory.
The Cobras are home once again next weekend playing host to the Missoula Jr. Bruins on Friday then Great Falls Americans the following night. A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased online.
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