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Missoula Bruins crush the first place Helena Bighorns, 8-3

MISSOULA – The first-place team in the NA3HL Frontier Division came to Missoula Friday night. But the home team looked like the unbeatable force in the Glacier Ice Rink.

The Missoula Bruins skated circles around the first place Helena Bighorns, taking an 8-0 lead midway through the second period. Helena scored late but still suffered an 8-3 loss, matching its biggest defeat of the season. Helena also lost 8-3 at Great Falls on Oct. 26.

Missoula traded for former Bruin Christian Ward on Thursday. And less than 24 hours after his return to the Garden City, he chipped in five assists.

But the Bruins attacking pair of Russians did the most damage. Vadim Zubkov scored four goals and had two assists. The league’s leading scorer, Misha Akatnov, scored three goals and four assists. Their domination was highlighted by Missoula’s eighth goal. On a short-handed rush, Zubkov fed Akatnov. Akatnov spun in front of the net, returning the pass with a no-look backhand that Zubkov easily finished for another goal.

Missoula will try to answer their best performance of the season with a return trip to Helena at 7:00 Saturday night. The Bighorns will surely be looking for revenge.

Derek Buerkle

Derek Buerkle

Derek has worked in sports at KPAX-TV in Missoula since 2007. He grew up in Big Timber, Montana, and attended the University of Montana journalism program.
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