Americans Swat Bees in First Round Victory

The Allen Americans swatted aside Rio Grande Valley like bothersome bees to sweep the Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup Opening Round best-of-five series with three straight triumphs. The 2010-11 regular season Central League and Berry Conference Champions are awaiting the outcome of other series to determine their second round opponent.

Allen dominated Game 3 against the eighth seeded Bees and completed the sweep in Hidalgo, Texas with a 5-2 triumph on Sunday afternoon, April 3. Forwards Nino Musitelli (power play) and Bruce Graham scored first period goals and forward Judd Blackwater added his third and fourth tallies of the series in the second period to give Allen a 4-0 lead.

RGV’s Dominic D’Amour and Mark Magnowski sandwiched Killer Bee stings around a shorthanded tally by Allen forward Tobias Whelan, and Americans’ goalie Chris Whitley made 30 saves en route to his third straight triumph between the pipes.

Allen outshot the Bees, 35-32 as RGV netminder Jerad Kaufmann also made 30 stops.

Game 2 provided the proverbial fulcrum that enabled Allen to slant the series totally in its favor. Either squad could have taken control in the Friday night, April 1 matchup at the Allen Event Center, as the Americans appeared tentative and unsure of themselves.

Fortunately for Allen, coach Dwight Mullins and his skaters, Graham broke a scoreless tie midway through the second period with a power play goal and forward Jarret Lukin’s one-timer just two minutes later made it 2-0.

After the Killer Bees cut the lead in half early in the third period on a goal by Tomas Klempa, forward Colton Yellow Horn answered with a power play one-timer, and Whelan also beat Bees’ keeper Juliano Pagliero for a 4-1 lead. Brett Clouthier finished the scoring for Rio Grande Valley with just 27 seconds remaining as Allen grabbed a two-games-to-none series lead with the 4-2 triumph.

Defenseman Jonathan Zion added two assists for the Americans. Whitley made 26 saves, and his stellar goalkeeping kept the Bees off the board until Graham and Lukin could solve the equally effective Pagliero (29 stops). Allen outshot its visitors, 33-28.

The Americans controlled the series opener on Thursday, March 31 in Allen. Zion opened the scoring and forward Blackwater added a pair of red lights (his first with a man advantage) in an explosive two minute span to give the home team a commanding 3-0 lead in the opening period.

Zion added his second goal of the night in the second stanza before the Bees’ Nick Sucharski closed the count to 4-1, solving Whitley on an Americans’ power play later in the frame. Whitley made 26 saves and Pagliero stopped 28 pucks as Allen outshot its visitors, 32-27.

Depending on who captures their First Round series, the Americans will face either the Odessa Jackalopes, Texas Brahmas, Arizona Sundogs or the Mississippi RiverKings in the Second Round.

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