The Butte Cobras traveled to Missoula on Saturday to face the Jr. Bruins who are in a tightly contested playoff race. Missoula is tied for third place in the NA3HL Frontier Division standings and every point matters at this stage of the season. After a penalty-filled 60 minutes the Jr. Bruins walked away with a 6-2 win.
The game saw the two teams combine for 126 PIM, putting the spotlight on special teams play. Each team had eight powerplay opportunities. Missoula capitalized on four of those chances, Butte just one.
Missoula scored twice in the opening 7:07 of the first period to take command early. Trevor Prince and Pablo Frank, who are both among the top 15 scorers in the NA3HL, each netted the first of two in the game.
Butte played a much better period in the middle frame outshooting the host 9-4, but it was the Jr. Bruins who found the back of the net. Cayse Balk deflected a shot past goaltender Nickolai Wallery to make the score 3-0 before Prince added a powerplay marker at 11:14.
Trailing 4-0, the Cobras continued to battle in the third and were rewarded Jonah Gilbert scored his fourth of the season at 2:34. Jeff Fleck and Blake Nichols assisted on the play.
Kyler Garsjo cut the gap to 4-2 just past the midway point of the period with his 19th tally of the season. Assisting on the powerplay goal were Luke Schlensner and Robin Bagley.
A string of penalties marked the final five minutes of play and Missoula would add a pair of goals, Frank and Owen Miley the goalscorers, with a five-on-three powerplay. Prince assisted on both to cap a five point game. Shane Dotto finished with four helpers on the night.
Butte (6-25-3-1) return to the road next weekend with stops in Bozeman Friday then Helena on Saturday.
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