MISSOULA — The Missoula Jr. Bruins posted one of their biggest home wins of the season Friday night.
The team knocked the Helena Bighorns out of first place in the NA3 Hockey League's Frontier Division with an 8-3 win at Glacier Ice Rink. Missoula improved to 17-15 while the Bighorns fell to 26-5-1.
The Jr. Bruins jumped on Helena for three goals in the first period. The Russian duo of Misha Akatnov and Vadim Zubkov keyed the surge. Akatnov scored on assists from John Bannon and Zubkov, then Zubkov scored on assists from Akatnov and Christian Ward and Akatnov scored again on assists from Zubkov and Ward.
Missoula kept pouring it on in the second period, scoring five goals in the first 10-plus minutes. Zubkov tallied three to bring his total to four for the night, while Akatnov secured a hat trick and Vladimir Chinikaylo added a score.
Helena finally got on the board with less than two minutes left in the second period, scoring twice. The Bighorns added another tally against Missoula goalie Evan Williams in the third period but it was too little, too late.
Zubkov finished with a total of four goals and three assists. Akatnov had three goals and four assists and Ward five assists for the hosts, who finished with a 42-33 edge in shots.
The Jr. Bruins will be back in action Saturday night when they play at Helena at 7 p.m.