Quake take one of three

Posted 11/11/10

“We gave a solid effort,” said Furstenau, whose team moved to 6-9 overall this season following the weekend results. “I was pleased with our team effort. All four lines played good defense and all four lines were able to generate …

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Quake take one of three


{gallery}11_11_10/quake{/gallery}Defender Chad Braun battles for position in front of the Quake net during recent action against the Billings Bulls at Riley Arena. The two teams meet again at 7:30 p.m. this Friday in Cody. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik Yellowstone Quake head coach Craig Furstenau is convinced his hockey team has started to turn the corner that had eluded it for a couple of weeks. Now, he just wishes they'd get a little more in the win column to show for it. The Quake split games at Missoula, falling by a 4-3 count Friday before winning 4-2 on Saturday. The squad also suffered its fourth one-goal loss to Billings in as many meetings this season, losing 4-3 in a shootout against the Bulls.

“We gave a solid effort,” said Furstenau, whose team moved to 6-9 overall this season following the weekend results. “I was pleased with our team effort. All four lines played good defense and all four lines were able to generate scoring opportunities over the weekend.”

Branden Morganroth's first-period shorthanded goal tied the game at 1-1 and was all the Quake managed in Friday's weekend opener until Zachary Tuchklaper scored less than three minutes into the final period. Missoula answered with three goals before Tyler Roberts slapped home a shot with two seconds remaining to pull the Quake within one at the final buzzer.

Roberts and Tuchklaper found the back of the net again on Saturday as the Quake and the Maulers again skated into the final period deadlocked. Evan Dixon's unassisted goal 58 seconds into the final period wound up being the go-ahead strike. Andreas Olofsson added a shorthanded goal four minutes later to give the game its final margin and enable the Quake to leave Missoula with a doubleheader split.

Sunday's contest at Billings proved to be the wildest yet in a series that has produced four one-goal decisions and three overtime games already this season. Tuchklaper and Ethan Range each scored in the first 12 minutes to give the Quake a 2-0 lead this time around.

Zach McDonald beat the Quake goalkeeper Nikoe Giacomo and the first-period buzzer to halve the lead momentarily.

Morganroth's second goal of the weekend, roughly eight minutes into the seecond period, re-established the two-goal lead and the Quake took a 3-1 lead into the third period.

Billings scored on a pair of short-handed goals in the first first six minutes of the last period to deadlock the contest. The two sides skated through a pair of scoreless overtime periods to set up a shootout.

Range took the first puck of the shootout and beat Bulls goalie Eddie Fritz one-on-one, only to watch as McDonald matched his effort for Billings. Michael Mackinnon and Olofsson were each denied on their attempts to score in the shootout, while the next two Billings skaters were both successful. When Tuchklaper was unable to score on his shot, the Bulls' two-goal shootout margin was untouchable and the team was awarded the game-winning goal.

“It's frustrating,” Furstenau said of the loss, which dropped his team to 6-9 on the season. “We're just not getting any breaks right now. You can only control so much.”

Furstenau, who was ejected during the second overtime of the Billings game for protesting a no-call on a play where a member of the Quake was forced to the bench with a facial laceration. Furstenau will be forced to serve a one-game suspension and will not be on the team bench for Friday's contest in Cody against the Bulls. Afterward, Furstenau voiced concerns with the officiating his team received over the weekend.

“I really thought it dictated the outcome in both of our losses,” said Furstenau, pointing out penalties whistled in Friday's game broke 11-3 against the Quake while in Sunday's game the stats released by NORPAC showed an 8-1 discrepency. “We're having the league review the games.”

Steve Stevens, director of officials for NORPAC, indicated that he had not received a formal complaint from the Quake organization as of Tuesday night. Should one be received, he noted any such request would be “investigated and resolved immediately.” Possible actions, he noted, would depend on the outcome of the reivew of game videos, interviews and sanctions recommended.

Stevens also noted that “penalties and scores are in the public light for all to see. Complaints, issues and league investigations are not.”

NORPAC commissioner Mike Butters referred matters back to the Quake organization for comment. Furstenau indicated the team would announce any feedback it received.

With roughly one-third of the regular season now played, the Quake enter a pivotal stretch of their schedule starting this Friday.

Currently tied for fourth place in the America West Division standings, the Quake play 12 of their next 15 games at home.

Included in that span is an eight-game home stand starting Nov. 20 and stretching to Jan. 1, 2011.

“It is an important stretch, there's no question,” said Furstenau. “Two points currently separates three teams. We need to get points any way we can.”