Down almost immediately, the Helena Bighorns rallied on Friday, but ultimately couldn’t muster enough offense to get past the Gillette Wild, falling 5-2 in the second game of their best-of-three series.
Helena won the opener in the Capital City on Thursday night, and will now play a second consecutive night in Wyoming on Saturday. The winner of that contest will advance to the semifinals of the NA3HL Frontier Division playoffs.
Gillette sparked the home crowd with a goal only 37 seconds in on Friday by Colt Johnson. The answer from Helena was nearly as quick, however, Nicholas Lindgren sending one past keeper Lincon Riley a 1:56 of the frame.
Neither team scored again until Gillette’ Jack Oberg netted a goal at 4:55 of the second. Once again, Helena responded. This time it was John Heddle, scoring his third goal of the series with an assist from Dane Rieger at 9:38.
The game wasn’t tied long, however, as Preston Fuller put the home team back in front a little more than two minutes later.
That goal wound up being the game winner, but Cade Boreing and Kyle Truax scored insurance goals late in the third period to result in the final margin.
Nicholas Battaglia, playing in his second game in as many nights, stopped 42 of 47 shots in the loss, while Gillette’s Riley faced 33 shots.
The teams will now square off for a winner-take-all game Saturday night. The puck is set to drop at 7:05.