Adam Winkler announces scores during the Yellowstone Quake game on Feb. 19 at Riley Arena.

The Yellowstone Quake will play their home finale this Friday against the Bozeman Icedogs.

It will be the last chance this season for Quake fans to cheer on their hometown team and the last chance for the team’s announcer to lead those cheers.

“It’s a pretty good rivalry and should be a good game,” coach Phil Oberlin said.

Cade Rosansky said having a packed house cheering the team on makes a big difference in their play. He pointed to a recent home series with Gillette in which a much larger crowd showed up the second night of the weekend and helped propel them to a payback win after a tough Friday loss.

“They were screaming and cheering each intermission after we’d get off the ice,” Rosansky said. “It just helps boost morale, especially after a big loss.”

Public announcer Adam Winkler is often the key to getting the home fans on their feet.

“Give it up for your Yellowstone Quake,” Winkler bellows into the microphone, his slighty gravelly voice guiding the fans to greet the team as they jump onto the ice.

Winkler has been the team’s announcer since 2016. Prior to that, he wore the costume of the Quake mascot “Rumble,” interacting with fans as a furry bear. Since being promoted he said he has fallen in love with the role.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said with a smile.

Winkler sang choir in high school and took speech class, but otherwise had no prior announcing experience. He said he didn’t know much about hockey growing up but picked up some knowledge going to Quake games and watching the NHL.

“I’m no expert by any means and am always asking the Quake players [and] Coach Oberlin questions,” he said.

Although he maintains a gregarious presence during the game, Winkler said he spends the entire drive over from his home in Powell psyching himself up before each game so that he can bring the right energy to the job. During the game, he drinks an energy drink to keep his emotions up.

Winkler is in charge of not only announcing but also selecting music to play throughout the game. He must constantly stay in tune with the rhythms of the game and how the fans are feeling when making his music selections.

When things weren’t going well for the Quake in a recent game he urged the fans on their feet, taunting, “C’mon, you guys can get louder than that.”

“He does a great job with announcing,” Oberlin said. “He has a great voice for it. He just helps the guys out in certain situations.”

If the Quake score or do something well, the music becomes more celebratory with songs like “Y.M.C.A.” and “Cha-Cha Slide” played. When their opponents commit a penalty, Winkler makes one of his favorite announcements.

“Time for a Pizza on the Run power play,” he yells with a slight undulation on the last two syllables, before orchestrating the infamous “Cops” TV show theme song “Bad Boys,” to blare through the Riley Arena speakers.

If the opponent does something well, he has the music take a more retaliatory tone. A fight or controversial play usually brings swearing from both players and coaches, which necessitates the need for Winkler to immediately play music, and loudly at that.

“You can hear them surprisingly well,” he said, laughing.

Due to COVID-19 health restrictions, the team has not been allowed to have as many fans in the building. This season the Quake averaged 116 fans per game, compared to 281 last year. But Winkler said the sparser crowds haven’t made this season any less enjoyable. He noted the Quake taking league-best Sheridan to overtime this season thanks to a last-second goal as one of his favorite memories.

“The whole arena was just rocking,” he said.

Quake fall to Sheridan

Yellowstone ran into an opponent most formidable last weekend, losing both its contests to the Sheridan Hawks.

On Friday, Sheridan beat the Quake 7-1.

The Quake kept it close in the first period, down 2-1 after a Dylan Rumpke score. Coby Nostrant and Keegan Ferguson assisted on the play.

But Sheridan (33-1) poured it on for the remainder and scored the game’s last five goals.

Matt Schoer made 68 saves in net for the Quake (11-25-1-1).

On Saturday, the Quake fell 10-2 to Sheridan.

Jack Luttringer and Tyler Hanson scored for the Quake in the loss.

Connor Carroll and Jarret Perino made a combined 78 goals in net.

Former Quake player and Cody native Jack Harris had two goals and an assist against his former team.

“We’re competing and battling out there, but as soon as we get off the ice we’re friends just like always,” Rumpke said.

Sheridan has now won 32 straight games.

Yellowstone will play its home finale Friday against the Bozeman Icedogs (12-18-2-2) at 7:30 p.m. before heading back on the road for the season finale Saturday in Bozeman. Although both teams are eliminated from the playoffs, a Quake sweep would move them up into sixth place in the Frontier just ahead of Bozeman.

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