The Glacier Nationals played two games this past weekend and even though they went winless against both Helena and Great Falls, they at least took some positive steps forward in the process.
The Nationals, who hosted Frontier Division foe Helena Friday inside the Havre Ice Dome, dropped the game against the Bighorns 3-0, before losing a road game against the Great Falls Americans Saturday 5-0.
In the opening game of the weekend set for Glacier, the Nationals came out fighting against Helena, but the Bighorns still managed to score a first-period goal, thanks to Bradley Estrada, who beat Will Langstaff to give the road team a 1-0 lead after one.
Estrada, who turned out to be the only goal scorer on the night, beat Langstaff twice more in the second period, giving him a hat trick and putting Helena in front 3-0 with just under nine minutes left in the stanza. Glacier, which has struggled to create scoring opportunities this season, put together a 42-shot effort against Helena, but the incredible effort by Alex Kruger, who notched 42 saves en route to a shutout, made it a moot point. Kruger got the win in net and Langstaff got the loss for Glacier.
After falling to Helena, the Nationals traveled to Great Falls, to take on the Americans, the second place team in the Frontier. Great Falls scored just once in the first period, as Tegan Harrington scored just shy of the six-minute mark to make it 1-0 after the initial 20 minutes. Harrington added a goal early in the second and another from Tanner Congdon made it 3-0 heading to the third period.
Still within striking distance, the Nationals, who attempted just 20 shots on goal, still couldn't muster any offense. The Americans, on the other hand, got two more goals from Congdon, who notched a hat trick as he scored his 29th goal of the season. Brendan Schultz got the loss for the Nationals, despite saving 53 of the 58 shots he faced. Kyler Ayers got the win for Great Falls after finishing with 20 saves in a shutout.
The Nationals, who are now winless in 26 consecutive games, remain in the basement of the Frontier division, well out of the playoff race. The Nationals will be home this weekend, as they host the Missoula Jr. Bruins for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday night inside the Havre Ice Dome.