An eight-game stretch to begin a season came be a challenge for any club. It also can provide time for a team to develop, bond and grow together. The Butte Cobras are at the midway point of this stretch – their longest of the regular season – and have seen both the positive and negative.
This trip saw the Cobras travel to Wyoming to face the Sheridan Hawks who are the defending Frontier Division champions. Butte would outplay the Hawks for the better part of both games, but ended up splitting the two-game set.
Nick Bradshaw had the Cobras off to a great start in the Friday opener scoring just 4:08 into the game. Sheridan did even things by intermission, but Bradshaw scored another on the opening shift of the second to make it 2-1. After a quick answer by the Hawks that tied the game 2-2 Butte would dominate play in the period holding a 20-10 shot advantage. Opportunity came for Sheridan though and the Hawks took advantage scoring a powerplay goal in the final minute of the period.
Butte continued to outplay their opponent in the third and were rewarded at the 15:32 mark when Fabian Vik tied the game 3-3. The Cobras finished regulation with a 44-26 advantage in shots on net.
With a point in their pockets, the Cobras headed into overtime with confidence, but it was the Hawks who took advantage of the three-on-three format. A turnover at the blue line ended with a breakaway chance for Nathan Gilleshammer who beat goaltender Braylon Rogers for the OT winner.
In the Saturday matchup the Cobras came out determined to take two points – and that is what the team earned. Caleb Cross earned his second win of the young season stopping 39 of 42 shots while the Cobras skated to a 5-3 victory.
Bradshaw continued his hot scoring touch scoring his third of the weekend at 7:16 of the first. Just over five minutes later David Hanney made it 2-0 with his first of the season.
Cade Wessman made it 3-0 early in the second before a series of powerplay opportunities allowed the Hawks back in the game. Sheridan would convert two of those chances before a Vik tally at 13:26 made the score 4-2.
🚨 Cade Wessman makes it 3-0 with helpers from Carson Streich and Robby Arver! https://t.co/nqSWMKPYjG #NA3HL
— Butte Cobras (@Butte_Cobras) September 26, 2021
A five-minute major penalty whistled against Jonah Gilbert saw the Hawks once again take advantage of the extra man. Gilleshammer scored on the powerplay late in the second to cut the Cobras lead to 4-3, but it was all they would see on this night. Cross stopped all 11 shots in the third while the Cobras played penalty free to clinch the win. Luke Schleusler found the empty net in the final minute to close out scoring.
With three of four points collected the Butte Cobras (2-2-1-0) moved into a three-way tie for third in the Frontier. They will next face the first place Gillette Wild (6-0-0-0) in a two-game series beginning Friday in Gillette.