HELENA — The Helena Bighorns earned themselves a first-round bye in the 2022 Fraser Cup Playoffs after becoming the Frontier Division regular season champions. They then swept the Great Falls Americans in round two of the playoffs, advancing them to the divisional finals. They will face the Gillette Wild in game one on Wednesday in Gillette.
Though the Bighorns had some major accomplishments this season, forward Tylor Greene is most proud of something the team doesn’t get to hold up a trophy or hang a banner for.
“I’m most proud of the way this group gelled together… to come together as a group like we did, it’s really something special,” Greene said.
Winning the coming series against the Wild would catapult the Bighorns into the Fraser Cup Championship Tournament. Head Coach Damon Hanson admits that beating the Wild will be no easy feat.
“They’re hard. They pressure hard. They hit anything that moves and we’re just prepared for it. We’ll be prepared for three games but obviously we’d like to finish it in two and take a little day off before we head to nationals,” Hanson said.
Greene says he’s watching out for the Wild’s power play abilities.
“We just have to be smart and play as hard as we can but we’re a good team so- I mean- as long as we come out and play the way we can, it’s up to us.”
Though the Wild are an impressive team, Greene sees the championship in his team’s future.
“We want to win it all. We’ve been working so hard out here, everyone has. The community is unbelievable with supporting us, so we want to win it all,” he said.
Owner Mike Greene told MTN earlier in the season that he wants it to be "a nightmare" for visiting teams to play in Helena, but Greene and Hanson say it’s not the team that’s scary, it's the fans.
“Fans. No question, the fans. It’s hard to play in a building with 2,000 people that do not like you. So we thank them tremendously, and it’s been amazing,” Greene said.
Hanson realizes that those coming into Helena Ice Arena aren’t used to the intensity of the fans.
“Well, let’s be honest nobody at this level, or you know, even at the higher levels, not everybody gets to come play in front of 18, 19-hundred people each and every night. When people walk in this building, they’re scared. They don’t want to be here. It’s loud, it’s rowdy, and that’s what we like about it,” he said.
You can see the Bighorns in action at home on Friday. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. You can buy tickets here.