BUTTE – The Butte Cobras hosted the Yellowstone Quake this weekend at the Butte Community Ice Center as part of NA3HL Frontier Division action.
Here is the capsule of the two-game series at BCIC this weekend.
Cross, Yellowstone White Cobras 3-0
Tyler Tosch, Micah Williamson and Patrick Crooks scored 2:17 late in the second period, and Caleb Cross held the goals with a 39-save performance as the Cobras earned their first shutout of the season, after recording a 3-0 victory over Quake.
There was no goal in the first period, thanks in part to two decisive disadvantages by the Cobras in the middle of the period and a killing by Yellowstone in the latter part of the frame.
The Quakes had a botched line change that cost Yellowstone a minor bench for too many men on the ice with 3:19 left in the second period.
Williamson made a great backhand save to keep the puck in the zone. He sent a pass between the skates of a Quake to Anthony Johnson, who sent a no-look pass into the slot where Tosch skated, took the puck in his backhand and pushed the puck over the goaltender’s glove by Quake Edvin Falkenstrom for the power play goal. Tosch’s second goal of the season gave Butte a 1-0 lead with 2:53 left in the second.
Teagan Scheurer was whistled for checking Crooks from behind in the slot with 2:02 left in the period.
The Cobras turned opportunity into prosperity. Caelin Chinery passed the puck over the left point to Tosch, who tapped a pass to Quinn Nichols. The centering pass was dropped by Williamson past a sprawling Falkenstrom for another power-play goal from Butte. Tosh and Nichols had the assists to give the Cobras a two-goal lead with 45 seconds left in the period.
The Cobras rushed around the goal in the final 30 seconds of the period. Work by Cade Wessman and Nick Bradshaw in the defensive zone resulted in a two-on-two breakout, with Crooks on the left wing and Wessman running down the center into the slot. Crooks fired a net shot that ricocheted off Falkenstrom’s stick racket and into the net. Crooks’ sixth goal of the season gave Butte a 3-0 lead with two seconds left in the period.
In the end, a mistake by the Quake almost ended in their own goal. Will Soldano was skating behind his net, Falkenstrom sliding to the right in his end zone. Soldano lost control of the puck towards the net, and Falkenstrom dived for the puck at the last moment to make it 3-0 with 15:23 to go.
Both teams had significant opportunities in the final 20 minutes, which included a Yellowstone power play. However, Cross and Falkenstrom protected the goals well for the game to end 3-0.
The Cobras were 2 of 4 on the power play, rising to 21.2 percent (14 of 66) for the season. Butte killed all three shorthanded situations, improving to 74.5 percent (38 of 51) for the season.
Cross improved his record between the posts to 5-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and one shutout.
The Cobras have just two shutout wins since 2018-19, with Cross authoring both. The previous shutout was an 8-0 win at Sheridan on Feb. 25, in the 2021-22 campaign. Cross made 28 saves in that game.
Falkenstrom saved 49 of 52 shots and played well in the loss. He’s 3-6 with one overtime loss this season, with a 2.64 GAA and .934 save percentage.
Tosch wins OT, Butte sweeps Yellowstone
The Butte Cobras continued their North American Hockey League Division 3 (NA3HL) Frontier Series weekend with the Yellowstone Quake at the Butte Community Ice Center.
Tyler Tosch’s overtime goal with 1:03 left in overtime completed the weekend sweep with a 4-3 win.
Cade Wessman started the scoring for Butte with 65:37 left in the first period. As Kazden Stineff’s penalty expired, Wessman picked up the puck just inside the offensive zone, rounded a defender in the slot, and beat Yellowstone goaltender John Hughes on the stick side to give the Cobras a 1-0 lead.
Butte fans in attendance were treated to a rare punching opportunity in junior hockey with 9:22 left in the period. Cobras’ Tamer Billman and Quake’s Blake Mitchell got tangled at the blue line and collided once more before the two players let go of the mitts and fought. Both players received fight majors and game fouls.
Nick Cofer took advantage of an open eye on the net in the crease and fired a wrist shot past Butte keeper Caleb Cross to level the score at 1-1 with 50 seconds left in the first period.
The goal ended Butte’s 99:42 shutout streak.
The second period was a goalkeeper period, as Hughes and Cross held the scoreline 1-1 for 40 minutes.
The Quake scored on a rebound that went loose in the goalkeeper’s area. Cofer scored his second goal of the night to give Yellowstone a 2-1 lead with 18:26 left in regulation.
Patrick Crooks equalized for Butte moments later. Caelin Chinery made a pass to Carter Large, who caught it on Hughes’ pads, and Crooks parked the puck in the net to tie the game at 2-2 with 12:39 left in the third period.
Cofer completed his hat trick on the power play after Crooks was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. After shots from Sebe Perez and Christopher Dick, Cofer shoved the puck over Cross’ left leg to give Yellowstone a 3-2 lead with 7:27 left in the period.
Butte continued to pepper Hughes with shots from Wessman and Nick Bradshaw that led to another Cobra goal. Carson Streich and Rye Vincent took shots on net which were first saved by Hughes. Bradshaw circled the net and shoved the puck into the net to restore the tie, this time at 3-2, with 5:14 left in regulation.
Bradshaw split two defenders and broke free for a shot on Hughes with 15 seconds left. A puck hit the post, and seconds later the horn ended regulation.
Overtime began with a three-on-three situation. Bradshaw took two shots from close range and Wessman another which was saved by Hughes.
Cross made two dazzling saves that created a 2-on-1 opportunity through the neutral zone and into the offensive end for Tosch on the right side and Crooks on the left. Tosch charged a wrist shot from the middle of the right faceoff circle and beat Hughes on the stick side for the game winner with 1:04 left in overtime.
Tosch’s shot gave the Cobras the shots on goal advantage for the night, 47-46.
Crooks had a goal and an assist to lead the Cobras. Cross stopped 43 of 46 shots and finished the weekend with a total of 82 saves on 85 shots in securing both wins in net for Butte.
Cofer scored three goals, while Perez and Will Soldano each had two assists. Hughes played well in the net for Yellowstone, having stopped 43 of 47 shots.
Yellowstone went 1 of 7 on the power play, while Butte went 0 of 3 on the man advantage.
Work at the weekend
The Cobras were 2 of 7 on the power play, rising to 20.3 percent (14 of 69) for the season. Butte killed 9 of 10 shorthanded situations, rising to 75.9 percent (44 of 58) for the season.
After the series, Yellowstone is 10 of 82 (12.2%) on the power play and 48 of 61 shorthanded (78.7%).
After the weekend action
Gillette (29 points) took a four point lead over Helena (25 points). With Butte’s four points this weekend (17 overall), they are one point ahead of Great Falls (16) and two points over Sheridan (15). Badlands and Yellowstone (12 points) are tied for sixth and Bozeman (7) is in eighth place.
Next stop for Butte
The Cobras travel to Cody, Wyoming to take on Yellowstone next Friday and Saturday, November 11-12, at Riley Arena.