HELENA – The Frontier Division might look a little different this year, but the Helena Bighorns luckily won’t.

Both the Billings Bulls and Butte Cobras folded before the start of the season, leaving a trimmed-down schedule for the rest of the league, but the Horns are embracing that and happy to be bringing back some familiar faces.

“So far I’m happy with the way things are going,” said head coach Bob Richards. “We were able to return 10 of our veterans from last year, and then with the new guys coming in, we’ve had, I guess, good leadership of all those 10 guys. To start the year off 4-2 and we had some good games, won some good games against some quality opponents.”

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“Getting guys in here that will get the job done, the guys that came back, knew what coach wanted, what it was all about, and I think we’re gelling together real nicely,”¬†added goalie Nick Battaglia.

That might be the last time you hear the word “nicely” out of a player’s mouth, because with a trimmed-down league it means these remaining teams will become very familiar with one another.

“I know we play a bunch of the teams eight and 10 times, so that can get pretty intense,” said Battaglia. “We see Bozeman five out of the next six, so hopefully we can beat them. Seeing a team that many times in such a short little time could get intense, could get chippy.”

But that could be for the best.

“If anything, I think it makes the division better,” continued Battaglia. “Those two teams weren’t, if they had a team, they didn’t look like they were going to be too good. You know, they were struggling. So instead of having eight teams where two of them might not be as good, we have six really strong teams that are able to compete and go on to Chicago.”

“We still need to keep improving and have a good weekend every weekend,” said the head coach. “With only six teams in the division now, it’s a lot tighter this year, so every weekend, I don’t want to say hard-fought games, but tough games. It will be a lot of fun.”