HELENA — Ben Kottmeier scored 14 minutes into the first period and the Helena Bighorns never looked back, defeating rival Great Falls 4-0 in Game 2 of an opening round playoff series. The win advanced the Bighorns in the postseason, after Helena defeated Great Falls in overtime on Friday.
Kottmeier scored the opening goal on assists from Jeremy Solko and Hayden Seitz, putting the home club up 1-0 in the opening period. Helena tacked on another goal three minutes later when Kaden Lindberg and Gavin Cline assisted for Justin Sullivan.
Helena led 2-0 entering the second period.
The two rivals were chippy throughout the contest, with the penalty box seeing plenty of action throughout the night. Helena’s Ty Niskanen sent Brandon Vukasin to the ice in the second period, leading to a scuffle between the duo. Each was charged with roughing and sent to the box for two minutes.
The hard hits continued in the period when Helena’s Mikhail Gavrilenko laid a crushing blow that brought multiple Great Falls players charging.
Helena appeared to take a 3-0 lead with just over a minute to play in the second, as Dane Rieger’s shot fell right to the stick of teammate Jarett Scheibel, whose rebound sailed into the goal. Officials concluded a loose net negated the goal, sending the teams to the locker room with the 2-0 score.
The Bighorns extended their lead five minutes into the third, as Luc Cross scored the third goal of the game. Rieger and Henry Kipper were credited with assists on the play, pushing the Bighorns ahead 3-0.
Helena tacked on a final goal when Hayden Seitz scored an unassisted goal in the last five minutes of the game, clinching the 4-0 victory.