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Tyler Hanson battles for the puck against a Helena defender on Friday, November 19th.

The Yellowstone Quake hosted the hottest team in the division over the weekend and showed a marked improvement from the last time they faced Helena.

The Quake (4-14-2) lost 6-2 Friday night against the Bighorns, and then fell 5-1 on Saturday night.

Friday night the Quake were down just one goal entering the third after consecutive scores by Keegan Ferguson and Tyler Hanson made it 3-2 after two periods.

Helena (19-0-0) scored three goals in the third to secure the win.

On Saturday night the Quake took a 1-0 lead at the 7:29 mark of the second period. Jack Harris scored that power play goal on assists from Gabe Coppo and Gustov Ostman.

Helena then scored three goals in the second and two in the third to get the win.

“The improvement we’ve wanted is finally coming along now that we have some new bodies who have learned the systems,” coach CJ Sweigart said. “Everything is starting to come together.”

The last matchup against the Bighorns resulted in undefeated Helena outscoring Yellowstone 24-4 in two games earlier this month.

The defensive zone for the Quake held the Bighorns to just 45 shots on Saturday night, the first time any team in the league has been able to hold Helena to under 50.

Friday night, Helena got 52 shots with goalie Cole Eastman stopping 46 of those.

He was in the net most of  Saturday night as well, stopping 36 of 41 shots.

“We are showing we can play with the best in the league,” Sweigart said. “But at the end of the day Helena is just a really great hockey team and we weren’t able to hang with them all three periods in both games.”

The Quake roster will see a new goalie added soon, another Swedish player who will bring in some experience and add depth in the net. That will make for a trio of Swedes on the team.

“We’ve been really happy with how Cole Eastman has been playing, he was stellar this weekend,” Sweigart said. “But whenever you get a chance to get an import goalie who can come in and make an impact right away, you have to do what’s best for the franchise.”

The Quake host Butte (7-12-2) this weekend for a pair of matchups. The puck is scheduled to drop on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.

 “We have a couple of injuries, but now that we have some holes filled with other guys it won’t have as much impact as it did earlier in the season,” Sweigart said. “We have no doubt the guys in the  lineup can get the job done this weekend.”

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