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January 13, 2011 8:21 am

Quake narrows the gap

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Win over Bozeman pulls team within two games

The Yellowstone Quake scored a 6-1 victory over Bozeman to narrow the gap between themselves and a spot in the NORPAC hockey playoffs to two games. A 3-1 loss to Billings prevented the squad from shaving another game off that margin.

Alex Johansons’ power play goal 3:31 into the game gave the Quake an early advantage in its Saturday game against Bozeman. Hazen Ripple countered with a power play goal for the Ice Dogs just before the 12-minute mark, but the scoreboard remained tied for just 19 seconds before the Quake’s Tyler Torkelson delivered the go-ahead goal.

Justin Dennis, Cody Farber and Drew Parus all scored in the second period to enable the Quake to pull away. Yellowstone held Bozeman to just six shots on goal in the period.

Calvenn Lanktree, a newcomer to the Quake roster, scored with 3:39 remaining in the contest ot give the game its final score. Nic Wackerly turned away 27 of 28 Bozeman shot attempts.

On Friday, the Quake were worn down by the Billings’ attack. Tyler Roberts put the Quake on top with a goal midway through the second period and the 1-0 score would persist into the final period.

Eventually, a Bulls offense that outshot the Quake by nearly a 2-to-1 margin began to take its toll. Billings knotted the score on a Michael Matthes goal with 5:07 remaining. Thirty seconds later, Billings took its first lead of the night. The Bulls would close out the scoring on an unassisted goal with 36 seconds remaining in the contest.

Yellowstone, 13-20, currently sits in fifth place in the six-team America West division. The Quake are two games out of playoff position, but have a chance to cut into that gap this weekend when the team hosts the Butte Roughriders (3-29) in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader.

Action at Cody’s Riley Arena begins at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

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