INSIDE HOCKEY » Central Hockey League http://insidehockey.com Get Inside! Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:37:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Americans Hook Cutthroats, Repeat as CHL Champs http://insidehockey.com/americans-hook-cutthroats-repeat-as-chl-champs http://insidehockey.com/americans-hook-cutthroats-repeat-as-chl-champs#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 20:47:51 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=58678

The smile that spanned his bearded face from ear to ear said it all. Right wing Darryl Bootland could not control his happiness after contributing the goal that touched off the Allen Americans’ offense in their 5-2 victory over the visiting Denver Cutthroats at the Allen Event Centerd. The victory clinched the five-year old franchise’s 2nd consecutive Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Trophy championship on Saturday, May 10, giving Allen the distinction of being the first CHL team to win back-to-back titles since the Memphis RiverKings turned the trick back in 2002-2003.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Bootland, whose 7th goal of the playoffs ignited a four-goal 2nd period outburst to ensure that the Cup would stay in this north Texas suburb of Dallas. “Defending the cup is so tough. For most of this year, it’s all everyone’s talked about. I don’t know where my career will take me, or whether I’ll continue playing, but I’m really going to savor these two President’s Cup championships.”

Bootland’s red light just over five minutes into Period Two tied the score 1-1, as the Americans simply took the game away from Denver with swift skating and – more importantly – a headstrong desire to win with sheer grit and determination.

“We had to put some doubt in their minds, and that’s what we did when we came out for the 2nd period,” said Bootland. “We didn’t want to have to win it like we did a year ago. (Allen needed two 3rd period goals and another in sudden death overtime of Game Seven to upend visiting Wichita for the 2012-2013 Cup in only its 4th season of existence).”

Right wing Jamie Schaafsma’s team-leading 10th goal gave Allen the lead for good five minutes later when he hit the back of the net after capturing the rebound of defenseman Daniel Tetrault’s shot. “We really took advantage of our momentum there and capitalized on our scoring chances,” said Schaafsma, who was named the CHL playoff MVP for 2013-2014. “I think once we had that, we could smell blood and we were so excited it just got the adrenaline going even more.

“(The Cup victory is) such a great honor and is very rewarding, but I couldn’t do it without my linemates or my teammates,” Schaafsma added. “I really thought our goalie (Bryan Pitton) deserved it for all the big saves he made for us, but I’m still really thankful for the honor.”

Just 1:03 later, right wing Kale Kerbashian skated the length of the rink to catch up with left wing Jonathan Lessard’s long clearing pass, cut inside a defenseman, pulled the puck onto his forehead and flipped one over the outstretched form of goalie Kent Patterson for his 3rd goal of the playoffs and a 3-1 Allen lead. “That’s the thing about Kerby (Kerbashian),” said Bootland. “You never know when he’ll turn those jets on. He’s got those ‘Kim Kardashian’ legs, and when he turns those babies on, nobody’s stopping him.”

Lessard connected for his 9th of the playoffs just :19 later, and the three goals in a span of 2:22 sent the near-sellout crowd into a frenzy.

“I really felt tonight was the night (the Americans would explode offensively),” said coach Steve Martinson after winning his second Cup in Allen. “I thought (this type of game) was coming tonight because we hadn’t really played our best game against Denver.”

Allen played a near flawless 3rd period, keeping Denver from building up any pressure on goalie Pitton, who finished with 29 saves and a 12-5 won-lost mark through the postseason. Pitton also ranked 2nd in goals against average (2.20), save percentage (.931) and shutouts (one) for the postseason.

“Even before the game, we knew it was Game Seven for them, and we knew they were going to bring everything they had,” said Allen defenseman Tyler Ludwig. “So being up by three goals, we wanted to keep pucks deep (in the Denver zone) and play the clock. They didn’t seem to have much in the 3rd period because they probably felt a little defeated, being down by three goals and losing the series three-games-to-one. They have the offense to (make a comeback), but we held them down pretty well.”

Denver’s Lee Moffit scored with a minute left in the period, but Kerbashian’s empty netter put an emphatic exclamation point on the triumph and touched off an emotional celebration.

The Cutthroats, who were skating without their leading scorer, forward A.J. Gale since early in Game Two when he was checked hard and sustained an upper body injury, played a solid first period, connecting midway through the session on one of their four power plays during the first 20 minutes when forward Kyle Fletcher slapped a rebound past Pitton for a 1-0 lead.

“The absence of A.J. Gale was a big part of the series,” said Bootland of Gale, who led the CHL in post season scoring with 11 markers, including a league single game-tying four goals in Game One that helped give Denver its only victory of the Finals, 5-4. Gale’s four markers gave him seven in two games, but his injury sent him to the hospital during Game 2 and into the press box for Games Three, Four and Five. “It changed the whole outlook on the entire series because instead of us having to worry about four big (scorers), we had to watch just three (top scorers). It was the TSN turning point of the series.”

Allen, which has amassed more than 200 regular season victories in its five-year history, was making its third trip to the CHL’s Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals. The Americans lost in six games to the Rapid City Rush to finish its first season of existence in 2009-2010.

“It’s hard to put into perspective right now, but what a great job by our guys,” said former Dallas Stars defenseman Richard Matvichuk, Allen’s assistant coach and general manager. “We know that the toughest thing in pro sports is to win back-to-back championships, but we stuck together. It was a great job by our guys. From our owners on up to the City of Allen (Texas), it’s hard to beat a place like this to play. It’s one of the best places in the league to play and that’s why we get the caliber of players that we get, because it’s so special to be here.”

“You know what? Last year the way this team came together, you can’t duplicate that,” said Ludwig, the son of former Dallas Stars defenseman Craig Ludwig. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing. But this year, we had a lot of camaraderie in the locker room, and that enabled us to win this year.

“This is a tough league,” added Ludwig, whose brother Trevor was injured but plans to return to the Americans next season. “Coming off a championship, there was a lot of hype because it’s a tough thing to win back-to-back Cups. But we really came together as a group when the going got tough.”

Allen sets the stage for Saturday’s Cup Celebration

Lessard potted his 2nd goal of the night less than four minutes into sudden death overtime to give Allen a 4-3 victory and a three-games-to-one series lead on Friday, May 9 at the Allen Event Center. Denver led twice in this game, 1-0 on a first period goal by Robin Soudek and 3-2 after Aaron MacKenzie and Jean-Philippe Chabot (power play) connected within a six-minute span in the 2nd period. But Tetrault scored with less than three minutes left in the 2nd period to tie the match at 3-3 and set the stage for Lessard’s overtime heroics.

Lessard’s first goal of the game with five and a half minutes left in the first period tied the score, 1-1, and Schaafsma’s red light early in Period Two gave the Americans a short-lived 2-1 advantage.

Americans take a two-games-to-one series lead

Left wing Greger Hansen broke a 1-1 tie with 5:42 left in the 3rd period when he rushed into the Denver zone from center ice on the left wing side, deftly cut behind the net and whipped a wraparound shot into the net to lead Allen to a 3-1 victory and a two-games-to-one series lead at the Allen Event Center on Wednesday, May 7.

Hansen netted his 7th goal of the playoffs by hooking his stick around the puck at the far post of the Cutthroats’ net as he skated behind the Denver net before netminder Patterson could slide across his crease.

“I knew I was going to try a wraparound even as I skated in on goal,” said Hansen. “Their defense made a good play keeping me to the (left wing) side, and although I had the speed advantage, I knew I didn’t’ have a shot. I didn’t’ think I’d beat him as cleanly as I did – maybe (Patterson) was expecting a shot, but he couldn’t get over to the other post to cover in time.”

Kerbashian iced the victory when he hit the empty net on the fly from center ice with 1: left. Tetrault gave Allen a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game with a slap shot red light. Denver tied the game less than two minutes later when Fletcher beat Pitton on a backhanded rebound shot.

But Pitton came up with three spectacular saves in a two minute span later in the period to keep Denver from taking the lead, and finished with 28 saves.

Americans Even Series With Overtime Victory in Denver

The Americans tied the series at a game apiece on Saturday, May 3 in Denver when Schaafsma took a pass from defenseman Ludwig and slipped behind the defense for a breakaway goal early in the 2nd sudden death overtime period. Schaafsma netted 2nd goal of the night and his 4th in the opening two games of the series when he slipped the puck behind Denver goalie Patterson just beneath the crossbar.

Denver played most of Game 2 without forward Gale, who entered the match having tallied a CHL-record seven goals in his last two games. Gale was checked hard into the boards and was helped to the locker room with a lower body injury in the opening period. No penalty was called on the play. He was later taken to an area hospital, according to Denver coach Derek Armstrong.     “It was a huge loss for us,” the Cutthroats’ Troy Schwab. “In my opinion he’s the best player in the league.”

Later in the 1st period, Schaafsma scored to give Allen the lead, and Lessard beat Patterson high on his stick side for a 2-0 Americans lead.       Denver, a 2nd year franchise which was ousted by Allen in five games during the opening round of the 2012-13 playoffs, cut the lead in half before end of 1st period on a goal by Soudek.

The Cutthroats took the lead, 3-2 in the 2nd period on a wraparound by veteran Garett Bembridge and Schwab’s slap shot that beat Pitton. Denver’s Chabot appeared to add to the lead on a power play later in the session, but the referee ruled he had kicked the puck into the net.

Allen defenseman Steve Tarasuk of Allen tied the score at 3-3 on his 1st goal of the post season with 12:41 left in regulation, but Daniel Barczuk put the Cutthroats back in front 4-3 later in the 3rd period.

Allen right wing and Denver university alum Anthony Maiani rescued Allen when he tied the score, 4-4 by lighting the lamp with only 1:14 left in regulation. Maiani’s 2nd goal in two games and 6th of the playoffs crossed the goal line as a Denver penalty was expiring and with goalie Pitton having been pulled for an extra attacker.

Defenseman Jonathan Zion of the Americans finished with three assists, while goalie Pitton won his 9th game of the postseason with 47 saves as Denver outshot Allen, 51-41.

Four Gale Goals Give Denver Opening Game Win

Forward A.J. Gale scored a CHL single game record-tying four goals to help host Denver win the opening game of the series, 5-4 on Friday night. Gale potted his 3rd and 4th goals of the game in the 3rd period after Allen had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, 3-3 in the final minute of the 2nd period. Gale finished the match with a league record seven goals in his last two games. “He’s pretty close to the sun right now — he’s hot,” said coach Armstrong.

After Cam Reid and Gale (twice) had scored to give the Cutthroats a 3-0 lead early in Period Two, Lessard, Maiani and Schaafsma each lit the lamp behind Patterson in less than 12 minutes of the 2nd period. Schaafsma’s 2nd of the game cut Denver’s lead to 5-4 with just over six minutes left in regulation. Goalie Pitton made 28 saves in a losing effort.

The Cutthroats, named for a species of trout that is prevalent in streams running through the Rocky Mountains, defeated #7 seed Tulsa and #8 seed Arizona to reach the Cup Finals. Allen ousted Brampton in five game and Quad City in seven to reach the championship round.

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Allen Ties Denver, Series Shifts to Texas http://insidehockey.com/allen-ties-denver-series-shifts-to-texas http://insidehockey.com/allen-ties-denver-series-shifts-to-texas#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 18:47:30 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=58601

The Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup defending champion Allen Americans are locked in an exhilarating struggle with the Denver Cutthroats.

In its 5th year of operation, the Americans – who were ranked 3rd in the regular season standings with 83 points — tied the series at a game apiece on Saturday, May 3 in Denver when right wing Jamie Schaafsma took a pass from defenseman Tyler Ludwig and slipped behind the defense for a breakaway goal early in the 2nd sudden death overtime period. Schaafsma netted his team-leading 8th goal of the playoffs, 2nd of the night and his 4th in the opening two games of the series when he slipped the puck behind Denver goalie Kent Patterson just beneath the crossbar.

Denver, a 2nd year franchise that finished in 2nd place with 87 points, won the opening game of the best-of-seven championship series, 5-4 on Friday, May 2 behind a scintillating four-goal performance by standout forward A.J. Gale.

Denver played most of Game 2 without forward Gale, who entered the match having tallied seven goals in his last two games. Gale was checked hard into the boards and was helped to the locker room with a lower body injury in the opening period. No penalty was called on the play. He was later taken to an area hospital, according to Denver coach Derek Armstrong, the 14-year NHL veteran who played center for the Islanders, Senators, Rangers, Kings, and Blues from 1993-2010.

“It was a huge loss for us,” the Cutthroats’ Troy Schwab. “In my opinion he’s the best player in the league.”

Later in the 1st period, Schaafsma scored to give Allen the lead, and left wing Jonathan Lessard netted his 6th of the postseason by beating Patterson high on his stick side for a 2-0 Americans lead.

Denver, which was ousted by Allen in five games during the opening round of the 2012-13 playoffs, cut the lead in half before end of 1st period on a goal by Robin Soudek.

The Cutthroats took the lead, 3-2 in the 2nd period on a wraparound by veteran Garett Bembridege and Schwab’s slap shot that beat goalie Bryan Pitton. Denver’s J.P. Chabot appeared to add to the lead on a power play later in the session, but the referee ruled he had kicked the puck into the net.

Allen defenseman Steve Tarasuk of Allen tied the score at 3-3 on his 1st goal of the post season with 12:41 left in regulation, but Daniel Barczuk put the Cutthroats back in front 4-3 later in the 3rd period.

Allen right wing and Denver university alum Anthony Maiani rescued Allen when he tied the score, 4-4 by lighting the lamp with only 1:14 left in regulation. Maiani’s 2nd goal in two games and 6th of the playoffs crossed the goal line as a Denver penalty was expiring and with goalie Pitton having been pulled for an extra attacker.

Forward Jonathan Zion of the Americans finished with three assists, while goalie Pitton won his 9th game of the postseason with 47 saves as Denver outshot Allen, 51-41.

Four Gale Goals Give Denver Opening Game Win.

Forward A.J. Gale scored four goals to help host Denver win the opening game of the series, 5-4 on Friday night. Gale potted his 3rd and 4th goals of the game in the 3rd period after Allen had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, 3-3 in the final minute of the 2nd period. Gale finished the match with seven goals in his last two games.

After Cam Reid and Gale (twice) had scored for the Cutthroats for a 3-0 lead early in Period 2, Lessard, Maiani and Schaafsma each lit the lamp behind Patterson in less than 12 minutes of the 2nd period. Schaafsma’s 2nd of the game cut Denver’s lead to 5-4 with just over six minutes left in regulation. Goalie Pitton made 28 saves in a losing effort.

Allen coach Steve Martinson, who with assistant coach Richard Matvichuk guided the Americans to their title last year, will have the final say in line matchups when the series shifts to Allen, Texas for Games 3, 4, and 5 at the Allen Event Center on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. Martin was a five-year NHL right wing from 1987-92 who skated for the Red Wings, Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars (currently the Dallas Stars). The Americans reached this year’s finals by defeating 6th seed and first-year franchise Brampton in five games, then came from behind to eliminate #5 seed Quad City in seven games.

Denver will host Games 6 and 7 on Wednesday, May 14th and Friday, May 16th,< respectively and as necessary. The Cutthroats, named for a species of trout that is prevalent in streams running through the Rocky Mountains, defeated #7 seed Tulsa and #8 seed Arizona to reach the Cup Finals.

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Defending CHL Champs Upend Quad City http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-champs-upend-quad-city http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-champs-upend-quad-city#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 11:37:34 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=58544

The defending Central Hockey League champion Allen Americans will have the opportunity defend their title. Despite trailing in their semifinal series against Quad Cities, Allen rallied for 6-1 and 3-2 victories on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 29 and 30, respectively at the Allen Even Center.

As a result, coach Steve Martinson’s squad will face off against the Denver Cutthroats in the best-of-seven championship series to determine this year’s Ray Miron President’s Cup champion beginning in Denver, Colorado on Friday, May 2. Denver finished the regular season in 2nd place with 87 points, while Allen was seeded 3rd with 83 points. The Cutthroats defeated #7 seed Tulsa and #8 seed Arizona to reach the Cup Finals.

This will be the third trip to the championship round for the Americans’ franchise. Last season, they defeated Wichita with a stunning 3rd period comeback and a sudden death overtime goal in Game 7 of the championship series. In their first season of operation (2009-2010), Allen dropped a six-game series against the Rapid City Rush.

“I think we saved our best play for these two (Games Six and Seven),” said 6-foot-5 center Bruce Graham, whose team scored a league-leading 249 goals during the regular season. “We play a skating game and were outstanding when we had to be. Every line that Coach Martinson threw out there did a tremendous job. In both games, we felt good right from the start. The key was, we were aggressive, we got our forecheck going early and continued to do so throughout the game.”

The Americans returned home for what they hoped would be two games against the Mallards, who had taken a three-games-to-two series lead after their goalie, Thomas Heemskerk, slammed the door on Allen en route to sudden death overtime victories of 2-1 and 3-2 in Games 4 and 5, respectively, in Moline, Illinois.

“Once we taook the ice for Game 6 here, we got a lot of traffic in front of (Heemskerk),” explained Graham. “He has been stopping what he’s seeing, and he stole both games (in Moline). But once we began to (screen) him and put a lot of pucks on the net, things changed for us.

“The truth is, when we’re aggressive and play that style of game with a relentless forecheck I don’t think there’s a (CHL) team that can hang with us,” added Graham, who scored 109 regular season and playoff goals for Allen during a previous three-year stint from 2009 to 2012 before playing for Nottingham, England of the EIHL during last year’s President’s Cup championship campaign. Graham rejoined Allen for the final 15 games of this year’s regular season.

In the decisive Game 7, Allen jumped in front when Jonathan Zion scored his first goal of the postseason on a power play. Zion converted the ricochet defenseman Tyler Ludwig’s shot from the point midway through the first period. Former Americans forward Jim McKenzie tied the score 1-1 four minutes later with a wrister from the right faceoff circle.

Left wing Jonathan Lessard put Allen in front to stay with his 4th goal and second in two nights midway through the second period when he beat Heemskerk on a breakaway. Center Spencer Asuchak’s 4th goal and his second in two nights 3:32 into Period Three on a power play extended the advantage to 3-1.

Americans’ standout goalie Bryon Pitton, who finished with 30 saves, was beaten a minute after Asuchak’s marker to make it 3-2. However, he shut the door on Quad Cities for the final 15:40. The Mallards were called for three offsides infractions during the waning minutes and did not pull Heemskerk until there were only 40 seconds remaining in regulation.

“It was the seventh game and we took stupid penalties and it cost us,” said Quad Cities coach and former Chicago Blackhawks forward Terry Ruskowski, whose team was outscored 9-2 by Allen on the power play. “.

“I take the approach when I’m playing that it’s just like any other game, and when I do that, I’m able to focus better and stop the puck,” said Pitton, who defeated his brother, Brampton forward Jason and the Beast in five games during the Opening Round of the CHL playoffs. “It also helps to play with the lead, which we did up (in Moline).

“Defensively, we played two outstanding games (in Allen),” Pitton added. “Our defense did a great job clogging the middle and keeping their shooters to the outside and further away from the net. And our forwards have been playing great defensively, they were coming back and putting pressure on the (Mallards’) forwards.”

In Game 6, Allen tied the series at three games apiece with a dominating 6-1 triumph over visiting Quad City at the Allen Event Center on Tuesday, April 29. Allen doubled its lead to 4-0 late in the second period on Ludwig’s power play goal and Lessard’s even strength tally just 11 seconds apart. After the Mallards’ McKenzie lit the lamp on the power play early in the third session to make it 4-1, left wing Greger Hansen scored his 6th on a power play and right wing Anthony Maiani added his 4th to give goalie Pitton (32 saves) some breathing room. The Americans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period goals by Asuchak and Graham (his 6th on a power play). “This is what we expected tonight,” said Allen right wing Darryl Bootland, who contributed a pair of assists to the triumph. “We have a lot of pride, and there was no way our season was going to end with Game 6.”

In Game 5, the Americans fell into a three-games-to-two hole after losing 3-2 in overtime on Saturday, April 26 in Moline, Illinois. Goalie Pitton (29 saves) yielded goals during the final minute of regulation and late in overtime. Allen center Alex Lavoie tied the score early in the 3rd period by converting a Bootland power play feed, and Bootland lit the lamp midway through the session for a 2-1 Americans lead. “To be honest, we could’ve won both the (overtime) games up there,” Pitton admitted. “But our guys were getting a little frustrated because they weren’t scoring despite putting a lot of pucks on the net. We were getting a lot of shots, but we also have to drive to the net. Once we returned home, our guys were going to the tough areas, and we began scoring.”

In Game 4, Quad Cities tied the series at two games apiece on Friday, April 25 with a 2-1 overtime victory in Moline. Lavoie returned from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League and quickly scored a power play goal early in the first period for a 1-0 Allen lead. The Mallards tied the score 1-1 in the final minute of period two, and victimized Pitton (31 saves) with the game-winner less than seven minutes into the extra session

In Game 3, Allen took a two-games-to-one lead with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday, April 23 as the series shifted to Moline. Graham scored on the power play and Lessard added a shorthanded tally within a three minute span late in the first period to give Allen a 2-0 lead within a three minute span late in the 1st period. After the Mallards cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the 3rd period, right wing Jamie Schaafsma converted a Graham feed to make it 3-1. Hansen added an empty net goal after Quad City had scored late in the period and cut the lead to 3-2. Pitton made 33 saves for his 6th victory of the post season.

In Game 2, the Americans tied the series at a game apiece at the Allen Event Center on Sunday, April 20 when Pitton made 23 saves to earn his first CHL playoff shutout. Graham broke a scoreless tie with the game-winner goal midway through the third period, and Asuchak added an empty netter in the final minute.

Allen dropped the series opener at home on Friday, April 18 by a score of 4-2. Trailing 2-0, the Americans tied the score it at 2-2 midway through the second period when Graham and Maiani scored within a 2:18 span. Quad Cities regained the lead for good just four minutes later, and added an early third period tally against Pitton (22 saves).

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Defending CHL Cup Champ Americans Oust Brampton http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-cup-champ-americans-oust-brampton http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-cup-champ-americans-oust-brampton#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:06:49 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=58205

The defending Central Hockey League President’s Cup champion Allen Americans captured their opening round best-of-seven series in five games against the 6th seed Brampton Beast, culminating in a 4-1 triumph in the suburban Toronto city on Sunday afternoon, April 13.

Center Jamie Schaafsma netted a pair of goals, including the game-tying tally late in the 1st period and his 3rd of the playoffs midway through the 3rd period to give Allen a 3-1 lead. Schaafsma is tied with center Anthony Maiani for 3rd place in the team’s postseason scoring race with seven points each.

The team’s top playoff scorer, Greger Hanson (9 points), netted his 4th goal of the post-season on a pass from Schaafsma midway through period two for the eventual game-winner. Hanson, a forward who skated for the Wichita squad that was defeated by Allen in overtime of Game Seven for the CHL’s Ray Miron Presidents Trophy a year ago, lit the lamp in his 3rd straight game. Center Bruce Graham, the team’s second leading playoff scorer and leading assist producer (with six) added his 2nd red light of the playoffs with less than four minutes to play. Goalie Bryan Pitton made 28 saves to eliminate his brother, Brampton forward Jason Pitton and the expansion Beast.

The Americans dropped a 4-2 victory on Friday night, April 11 for force Game 5 on a pair of 3rd period Brampton goals. Maiani, gave Allen a 1-0 lead in the 1st period and Hanson tied it, 2-2 in the 2nd period. Goalie Pitton made 35 saves.

Hanson and Graham each contributed a goal and an assist to a 4-1 victory on Thursday, April 10 – after a full week of game inactivity — that gave the Americans a three game to none lead. Defenseman Daniel Tetrault scored even strength and Hanson’s power play tally gave Allen a 2-0 lead in the opening period. Right wing Darryl Bootland added a power play tally in the 2nd period for a 3-1 lead, and Graham hit the empty net late in the 3rd session to back goalie Pitton’s 30-save performance.

Allen opened the series with a pair of victories at the Allen Event Centre. CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year Tyler Ludwig and Bootland each scored twice while regular season scoring leader Joseph Lessard, Maiani and Tetrault each added a marker to back the 29-save netminding of Pitton in a 7-2 win in Game One on Wednesday, April 2.

Twenty four hours later, Allen rallied from a 3-1 first period deficit. Forward Brian McMillan tied the game 3-3 in the middle period before Hanson netted the eventual game-winner in the 3rd period. Left wing Spencer Asuchak, Bootland and Schaafsma (empty net) also scored, while Pitton made 33 saves.

The Americans do not know who their next opponent will be, since Game 6 will be played Tuesday, April 15 in each of the CHL’s other three opening round best of seven series.

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Allen Americans Begin CHL Cup Defense http://insidehockey.com/allen-americans-begin-chl-cup-defense http://insidehockey.com/allen-americans-begin-chl-cup-defense#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:01:28 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=57889

The defending Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup champion Allen Americans are not an easy team to quantify as the 2013-14 post-season gets underway. They did finish the regular season with a league-leading 249 goals, but their 214 goals allowed ranked 6th in the 10-team circuit.

Then there was the continuous retooling of the roster required by general manager and coach Steve Martinson due to injuries and American Hockey League call ups during the second half of the season. In fact, the New Year saw Allen go on a veritable roller coaster ride of success and slumps that left them in third place and looking at an opening round date with the 6th place and first-year Brampton Beast (Ont.). The teams split their six-game regular season series at three wins apiece, but have not seen each other since Dec. 21

In other CHL first round best-of-seven action, first place Missouri faces off against 8th place Arizona, second place Denver skates against 7th place Tulsa, and fourth place Quad City locks horns with fifth place Quad City.

Allen went out like a lamb as March ended, dropping two of its last three regular season games – all at home. The Americans finished with 39 victories for the third straight season and a respectable 83 points, but far short of the 2011-2012 team’s franchise record 47 wins and 97 points.

Conversely, the season-ending mini-slump came on the skate heels of 12 wins in 15 games from February 21 through March 23, which had followed a downturn that saw Allen lose seven of eight (including five straight) from January 31 to February 17.

The Americans (39-22-5) were served by youth throughout the season. CHL Rookie of the Year Alex Lavoie set a team first year skater scoring mark and led all league rookies with 76 points (including 25 goals), while newcomers Jonathan Lessard contributed 28 goals and 57 points and fellow rookie Spencer Asuchak (21 goals, 56 points) led the CHL with five shorthanded goals (an Allen single season mark).

“I really believe that we have the best young team in the league,” said Martinson, who guided Allen to its first President’s Cup title last season in his first year behind their bench. “Our kids played better as the season continued. We are also the most physical team in the league, and when you can be physical and also have a good offense, it makes for very entertaining and successful hockey.

“For awhile, we were among the best teams in the league, certainly the best roster,” added Martinson, who is assisted by former Dallas Stars Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Rich Matvichuk. “We need to return to that level, and I think we can do that in the playoffs.”

The Americans will begin defense of the Cup on Wednesday, April 2 and Thursday, April 3 at the Allen Event Center without Lavoie (25 goals, 76 points), who is with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, Edmonton’s top farm team. “We’ll miss Alex, he’s been exactly what we thought he would be,” said Martinson, whose team eclipsed the franchise’s 200th victory. “Leading the league in rookie scoring and getting an opportunity to play at the American Hockey League level just reinforces our initial thoughts about his talent level.”

Allen will have standout CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year and Amerks power play quarterback Tyler Ludwig (the son of former Stars Stanley Cup-winning backliner Craig Ludwig). The righthanded-shooting Ludwig led the league’s defenders with 20 goals and 55 points (both new Americans single season marks) and established new Allen career scoring marks for a blueliner.

In addition, former Flyers farmhand Garrett Klotz set a new team mark with 257 penalty minutes, contributing to the Americans’ league-leading 1498 minutes in the sin bin (which pales in comparison to the 1570 last year’s championship squad had amassed).

The Americans, who had a CHL-leading seven players with 50+ points this season, will also get scoring from veterans such as Jamie Schaafsma (21, 55), and Gregor Hanson (21, 52). Schaafsma is a holdover from last year’s Cup team, while Hanson skated with the Wichita sextet that lost to the Americans in overtime of the 7th game last May.

Martinson was able to add several important and experienced players in forwards Brian McMillin, a key cog for the Cup-winning team who netted 13 goals and 31 points in 39 games after his mid-season signing, and the 6-foot-5 Bruce Graham (6 goals, 21 points in 15 games), a holdover from the five-year old franchise’s first three seasons. These additions helped fill the void left by injured players Darryl Bootland (34 points in just 45 games), who should be available for post-season goal-scoring duty.

The Americans will be without center Jarret Lukin, the unquestioned team leader of last year’s Cup-winning squad who has been out since Thanksgiving. Also missing due to injuries will be defenseman Trevor Ludwig (Tyler’s brother) and forward Phil Fox.

In goal, Allen will rely on Bryan Pitton, who was 27-10-4 with a shutout, a 2.75 goals against average and a .916 save percentage in 43 games. His backup is Willie Yanakeff, who was signed only last week and looked good in his only decision – a loss.

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Defending CHL Cup Champ Allen Tied for Top Spot http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-cup-champ-allen-tied-for-top-spot http://insidehockey.com/defending-chl-cup-champ-allen-tied-for-top-spot#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 19:25:59 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=56198

The 2012-2013 Central Hockey League Ray Miron Cup champion Allen Americans are once again vying for a lofty playoff seeding to defend their  title.

Coach Steve Martinson’s squad, comprised of a mixture of holdovers plus newcomers to the fifth year franchise, was tied with Rapid City and Missouri for first place atop the 10-team circuit, each with 54 points as of Feb. 4. The Americans (25-12-4) began hitting their stride right before the New Year and are eight wins from celebrating the franchise’s 200th career triumph.

Since late December, Allen has earned at least a point in the last 13 games (11-0-2) to earn 24 of a possible 26 points through mid-February. Their string of success included five- and four-game win streaks.

“The best thing about our team is that we have a young squad, the best young team in the league,” said Martinson, who is in his second season behind the Americans’ bench. “And the kids are playing better as the season continues. We are also the most physical team in the league. When you can be physical and also have a good offense, it makes for very entertaining and effective hockey. And that’s what we want to do, play a style of hockey that’s fun to watch. I’m proud that we can be a fun team to watch.

“I also think we have the best team in the league, certainly the best roster,” added Martinson, who is assisted by former Dallas Stars Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Rich Matvichuk. “We’re finally playing up to that level, and I think we’re going to be even better.”

This year’s team, which has scored a league-leading 149 goals to date, is paced by the top five scorers in rookie Alex Lavoie (20 goals, 54 points, plus-12 rating), returnee Kale Kerbashian (15G, 44A, plus-nine), newcomer Jonathan Lessard (19G, 34A, plus-seven), holdover defenseman Tyler Ludwig (12G, 30A, plus-10) and returning winger Darryl Bootland (15G, 29A, plus-seven).

Bootland (103 penalty minutes), former Philadelphia Flyers forward Garrett Klotz (139) — who spent several seasons with the Philadelphia and the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms — and defenseman Trevor Hendrikx (81) are quick to take the body, drop the gloves and keep the opposition honest.

The lineup also has several former Fort Worth Brahmas players after that franchise became a junior team, including Phil Fox (10G, 8A) and defenseman Ross Rouleau (3G, 12A), and goaltender Mark Guggenberger (7-5-1, including a shutout, 3.09 goals against average and .903 save percentage). Also in goal is Bryan Pitton (14-5-3, one shutout, 2.77 GAA and .914 save percentage).

Coach Martinson, who is always looking to upgrade his roster, recently re-signed Brian McMillan, a member of last year’s championship team to add playmaking and scoring depth. Martinson follows this blueprint not only to improve the club, but also because the Americans annually lose players to AHL clubs’ callups. This year alone, the Amerks have lost, then welcomed back Lavoie (Oklahoma City) and forward Ryley Grantham (Springfield).

Lavoie scored 14 points in January (6G, 8A) to earn CHL Rookie of the Month honors and leads all first-year skaters in points, goals and assists. “That’s a great honor,” said Lavoie. “[But] we are here to win a championship and that’s our goal. I’m lucky to be playing with great players on our line, and am surrounded by some outstanding teammates overall.”

The Americans rallied from a 2-0 deficit and scored twice in just over five minutes of playing time to upend Wichita, 3-2, in sudden death overtime of Game 7 in front of a roaring crowd at Allen Event Center on Mother’s Day Eve to win the Cup. Todd Robinson scored the game-winner.

Veteran forward Jarret Lukin, the only player in Allen team history to participate during each of the franchise’s five seasons, scored the Americans’ first goal in the 2nd period, and Hendrickx slid home a rebound goal with 2:19 left in regulation. Todd Robinson slammed home the game winner just 2:47 into overtime. Lukin (2G, 8A) has missed 23 of the Americans’ 41 games to date with an injury, while Robinson (12G, 49A) was Tulsa’s leading scorer through 42 games but is also sidelined with an injury.

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Allen Wins CHL’s President’s Cup http://insidehockey.com/allen-wins-chls-presidents-cup http://insidehockey.com/allen-wins-chls-presidents-cup#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 11:36:26 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=50466

Two goals in just 5:06 of playing time snatched a 3-2 Game 7 sudden death overtime victory over the Wichita Thunder from the jaws of defeat and delivered the Allen Americans their first Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup on Mother’s Day Eve in only their fourth season of existence.

The Americans certainly did not take the easy route, falling behind 2-0 after 40 minutes to the Wichita Thunder in only the sixth decisive Game 7 in league Finals history.

Truth be told, Allen fans were wondering aloud whether the “real” Amerks would ever emerge as they milled about the Allen Even Centre before period three. They pondered the possibility of their team delivering just one more overpowering, wide-open skating performance similar to their one-sided 5-2 and 5-1 home ice victories in Games 2 and 5, respectively.

Wichita, making its second consecutive CHL Finals appearance (they lost to Fort Wayne in 2012), had forced the winner-take-all match with a gritty 3-2 victory in Kansas the previous evening and were dominating Allen as the third period beckoned.

But Head Coach Steve Martinson and Assistant Coach Richard Matvichuk implored their determined skaters to make one last impassioned charge at the championship, and the red-shirted Americans responded by dominating the third stanza. They attacked the net while pouring frozen rubber toward standout Thunder goalie Torrie Jung, outshooting Wichita 16-4 in the session (and 37-23 for the game).

Tenacious forward Jarret Lukin, the only skater who has performed for “the Red” in each of the franchise’s four campaigns, halved the lead at 2-1 by beating Jung on a rebound with less than 13 minutes to play. With the drama building to a fever pitch throughout the building, defenseman Trevor Hendrikx – in his second tour of duty with Allen – pushed a rebound through rush hour-like traffic and into the net with 2:19 remaining in regulation to forge only the second Game 7 overtime in CHL Finals history. The preceding Game 7 Finals sudden death match was won by Laredo vs. Bossier-Shreveport in 2004.

The plot twist thrilled the hometown fans (and disappointed the dozens of Wichita faithful who made the five-hour trip south to support their squad) and climaxed when forward Todd Robinson potted the cup-winner just 2:47 into the extra session.

Robinson, a crafty playmaker and goal scorer who competed against Allen as a member of the Odessa Jackalopes in 2010-2011, had requested his released from Evansville of the East Coast Hockey League a few months earlier to join Allen, which had lost several key players who’d been promoted to the American Hockey League when the NHL lockout ended. Todd will turn 35 in June and is one of those romanticized grizzled veterans who keeps lacing ‘em up for the love of the game and a last-gasp opportunity to skate in the AHL and perhaps the NHL. He turned pro in 2000-2001 and has done most of his playing in Muskegon, Michigan.

On this night, he earned an indelible niche in CHL and franchise history after taking a long, accurate pass from defenseman Mike Montgomery and launching a shot that slowly hung in the air before eluding Jung. The President’s Cup-winning goal touched off a tumultuous celebration for most of the 6,125 fans in the cozy arena. Robinson emerged as the team’s leading post-season scorer with 22 points in 19 games, and forward Brian McMillan scored 12 goals and 20 points in the playoffs to earn Finals MVP honors.

Goaltender Aaron Dell played another outstanding game between the pipes, allowing goals by Wichita forward RG Flath in the first and second period while making 23 saves to earn his 12th playoff victory. The Thunder’s Flath finished with a team high nine playoff goals.

“This is an incredible feeling,” said Americans’ Captain and forward Jason Deitsch, the CHL Finals MVP for the 2008-2009 Cup-winning Fort Worth Brahmas. “This (Cup-winning feeling) never gets old.”

The continuously growing legion of Americans fans will also covet that sensation when they think back to their inaugural 2009-2010 squad dropping a Game Six overtime verdict at Rapid City and could only watch as the rival Rush skaters toted the trophy on their home ice. The Americans actually led that series two-games-to-one and were up 2-0 in Game Four before the tide turned.

The Allen franchise has been a hallmark of success both on and off the ice, earning post season berths in each season and taking great pains to add talented, fan-friendly players. One of their former skaters, defenseman Jordie Benn, was a member of this year’s Dallas Stars squad.

In addition, former Dallas Stars icons Craig Ludwig, Eddie Belfour and Mike Modano along with former NHL defenseman Steve Duchesne are minority owners, and the majority owner local businessman Douglas Miller. (Two of Ludwig’s sons, defensemen Tyler and Trevor, have been among the squad’s standouts the last two seasons. Trevor missed much of the series after suffering a broken jaw in Game 3 at Wichita).

This year’s Allen sextet had raced out to a big lead atop the CHL standings after winning nine of its first 10 regular season games. But after losing several players, including high-scoring forward Scotty Howes to the American League, they slumped during an extended home stand in January that had them questioning their talent and drive as league rivals closed in on their lead.

An affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Houston Aeros and Texas Stars, the Americans added key players such as scoring forwards Robinson and Kale Kerbashian and the return of checking forward Jim McKenzie to strengthen their roster. During the season’s final week, they lost at home to the Thunder in the waning minutes before winning 2nd place Wichita, then lost at home to Missouri before winning 3-2 at Tulsa (which missed the playoffs) to earn the regular season title (and home ice in the post-season) by one point.

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Photo Gallery: Mavericks @ Komets (4/14/12) http://insidehockey.com/photo-gallery-mavericks-komets-41412 http://insidehockey.com/photo-gallery-mavericks-komets-41412#comments Sun, 15 Apr 2012 21:50:53 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=40045

The Missouri Mavericks beat the Fort Wayne Komets 6-3 Saturday, April 14, 2012 in Fort Wayne, IN to take a 2-0 lead in the Turner Conference Finals in the Central Hockey League playoffs.  (Inside Hockey/Rachel Lewis)

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Panthers Report: October 17, 2011 http://insidehockey.com/panthers-report-october-17-2011 http://insidehockey.com/panthers-report-october-17-2011#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2011 19:11:57 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=29862

Every Monday, we will be posting a report featuring the future of the Panthers. The three teams featured weekly are the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL). Additionally, any players in the organization that make noise at the college or junior levels will also be noted. Here is week two of the report, after a 1-1-0 Panthers week:

San Antonio Rampage (AHL)

  • The Panthers assigned forward Evgeny Dadonov to San Antonio Wednesday. Dadonov was a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season. Panthers management cited the ability for Dadonov to get more playing time as the reason for the demotion. Last season, he split time between the Panthers and then-affiliate Rochester, scoring eight goals in Florida.

Over the weekend, the team went 1-1. Brian Foster got the start in net for both games:

  • The Oklahoma City Barons took Friday’s game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, 3-2. Bracken Kearns and Scott Timmins scored in the loss.
  • Saturday, the Rampage and Houston Aeros went all the way to the 11th shootout round at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. The game went to the Rampage, 4-3. Defenseman Mike Kostka got the scoring started with a shorthanded goal 4:22 into the game. After two Houston power-play goals, Dadonov tied it up with a wraparound goal in the second period, but Houston regained the lead just 13 seconds later. Kearns scored with just seven minutes to go in regulation to tie it up, and it stayed that way into the shootout. Nine rounds into the shootout, Mark Cullen swept the puck through the five-hole of Houston goalie Matt Hackett. Houston countered with a goal, and after a quiet tenth round, Angelo Esposito went top-shelf to win the game. The 11 round shootout is a Rampage franchise high.
  • This week San Antonio travels to Austin, TX for a battle with their rival Texas Stars Thursday before returning home to face the Peoria Rivermen Friday night.

Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

  • The Cyclones accepted forward Anthony Luciani and defenseman Keith Seabrook from San Antonio, in addition to three players from the Milwaukee Admirals this week. Milwaukee’s players are property of the Nashville Predators, who the Cyclones share affiliation with.
  • Cincinnati opened their 2011-12 season Saturday, falling to the Kalamazoo Wings 3-1 at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, MI. Panthers prospect Garrett Wilson scored his first professional goal in the loss, and it proved to be Cincinnati’s lone goal.
  • The Cyclones travel to Reading, PA on Saturday, as they take on the Royals.

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL)

  • The Killer Beers opened their training camp and pre-season schedule this week.

Rio Grande Valley swept their rival Laredo Bucks Thursday and Friday:

  • The Bees topped the Buks 3-2 in a shootout Thursday at State Farm Arena in Hildago, TX. David Labrecque and Brandon Campos scored in regulation, with Travis Eggum scoring the winning goal in the eighth round of the shootout.
  • On Friday, the teams traveled to Laredo Energy Arena, and the Bees spoiled Laredo’s homecoming. Campos, Dan Nicholls, Adam Stewart, and Mark Mangowski all scored in the victory.
  • Rio Grande Valley opens up their season with two home games against the Missouri Mavericks. Game one is Friday with the second contest Saturday night.

Juniors and College

  • Jonathan Huberdeau had a busy week off the ice, inking his first professional contract. He was quiet on the ice, though, scoring just a goal and adding an assist over the three-game week with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Huberdeau has two goals and six assists in five QMJHL games this season.
  • Kyle Rau scored two power-play goals in the University of Minnesota’s 5-4 win over Minnesota-Duluth Friday night. Nick Bjugstad added two assists in the game. Bjugstad and Rau each scored in Minnesota’s second 5-4 victory Saturday. Bjugstad added two assists including Rau’s goal, which was the game-winner.
  • Drew Shore scored the game-winning goal Friday in The University of Denver’s 4-2 victory over Boston College Friday night. His brother, Nick, assisted on another goal later in the game. On Saturday, the Pioneers traveled across town to take on the Boston University Terriers. Shore scored a goal late in the 4-3 loss. Panthers prospect Wade Megan scored the winning goal in that game.
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Allen Rallies To Eliminate Odessa http://insidehockey.com/allen-rallies-to-eliminate-odessa http://insidehockey.com/allen-rallies-to-eliminate-odessa#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2011 13:48:39 +0000 http://insidehockey.com/?p=24645

The Allen Americans began writing the prose for the tale of their exciting comeback in Game 3 at Odessa, and their raucous fans helped insert the exclamation point as the backdrop for a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their Berry Conference Semifinal series on Friday night, April 22.

As a result, the regular season Central Hockey League points champion Amerks used the best-of-five games conquest to advance to the conference finals against Bossier-Shreveport (LA), a best-of-seven game affair that begins in Allen on Friday, April 29. Defending President’s Cup champion Rapid City, which upended Allen in six games last Spring, takes on Colorado in the Turner Conference Finals.

The series’ first victory by a home team was also Allen’s third triumph in four days as they stayed on track to battle for their second straight appearance in the finals of the Ray Miron Presidents Cup Playoffs.

“It was great to get this win in front of a full house of (4,912) home fans,” Allen Head Coach Dwight Mullins minutes after forward Colton Yellow Horn’s empty net goal with 29.2 seconds remaining ensured the team’s second consecutive playoff triumph over the Jackalopes. “(Our) fans were great tonight. This was probably the loudest it’s been in (the Allen Event Center) since we started the franchise (in 2009-2010).”

The Americans, who dropped the first two games of the series at home before winning twice in West Texas to force the fifth and deciding game, continued their dominant play throughout the deciding match. They finished with a 41-19 advantage in shots and took a 1-0 lead when defenseman David Strathman lit the lamp midway through the first period.

But it was forward Dave Bonk’s tally that regained the lead at 2-1 for Allen and turned the game completely in Allen’s favor. Bonk, who also assisted on Yellow Horn’s empty netter, buried a rebound behind Odessa goalie Joel Martin (who finished with 38 saves) with only six seconds remaining in the second period. Bonk finished the game tied for 10th place among CHL scorers with 10 points (including four goals), while center Jarret Lukin is tied for 6th with 11 points (four goals).

“That was a huge goal (because) we went back to the locker room and talked about how we only had 20 minutes to go,” said Mullins. “Obviously, you’d rather be ahead than trying to catch up.”

Goaltender Chris Whitley, who recovered from losses in the first two in which he allowed eight goals, held fast between the pipes by turning aside the only five shots allowed by Allen’s stifling defense. He finished the game with 18 saves, allowing only a power play goal to Odessa forward Mike Ramsey that tied the score 1-1 with just 10 seconds remaining in the opening period.

“Chris did a good job of narrowing his focus as the series went on,” Mullins said of his goalie, who allowed just five goals in the series’ final three games and ranks 4th among all CHL goalies with a 2.26 goals against average, 6-2 won-lost record and a .920 save percentage. “Like most guys, he started to play better once his confidence (increased).

“After Game 2, we felt like the pressure shifted to them,” Mullins said of Odessa, whose franchise is departing the CHL for the North American Hockey League (NAHL) next season. “We were the top seed and a lot was expected from us, but we were down 2-0 and the pressure was on them to close us out. We (seized on) some things to believe in during Game 3 and were able to build from there.”

Game 4 Recap

The Americans forced the deciding game with a gutsy 5-3 victory at Odessa’s Ector County Coliseum on Thursday, April 21. Forward Judd Blackwater netted the game-winner, his second of the night, just :24 into the third period to give Allen a 4-3 lead. After goaltender Whitley preserved the slim lead by making 12 of his 23 saves in the session, forward Tobias Whelan’s shorthanded empty netter sealed the verdict.

Jackalopes’ forward Todd Robinson opened the scoring just over a minute into the contest, and Blackwater evened things later in the session. Allen regained the lead, 2-1 with just over a minute remaining in the period on Bonk’s power play goal.

After Odessa forward Jeff Pierce tied the score at 2-2 in the middle period, Allen regained the lead on a goal by Lukin. Robinson of the Jacks netted his second marker of the game on a power play to tie the score again at 3-3 with less than five minutes to play in the stanza. Forward Sabastien Tinnel and defenseman Alex Dunn each dealt two assists for the ‘Lopes, as did Allen forward Colton Yellow Horn. The Americans outshot their hosts, 38-26 as Odessa netminder stopped 33 shots.

“I thought we really battled through adversity there through the first two periods, where some weird things were happening,” Jackalopes’ Coach Paul Gillis said. “In the third period, we won the opening faceoff and had a play to make and didn’t make it and they got us. We fought hard, and our guys gave it everything they had. It was one miscue (at the outset of the third period) that cost us the game. Our team, we are giving it everything we’ve got.”

Game 3 Recap

Allen avoided elimination with its first victory of the series, 3-1 at the Ector County Coliseum on Tuesday, April 19. Bonk gave the Amerks a 1-0 lead in the opening period, and Lukin made it 2-0 just over five minutes into the third stanza. After Jackalopes’ firward Phillippe Plant tallied to cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the session, Lukin set up forward Nino Musitelli for a lamp lighter late in the period for insurance. Both teams launched 40 shots goalward, as Allen’s Whitley rose to the occasion with 39 saves, and Odessa’s Joel Martin Allen stopped 37 shots.

“(Odessa) did a good job in (winning twice in) Allen and we need to keep taking every inch that we can,” said Mullins. “I just think we were a little more patient tonight, we didn’t try to force too much.” Added Odessa’s Gillis, “We didn’t have the energy we should have had, especially early in the game. But in saying that, I thought it was a well-played game on both sides. Obviously we had to open it up in the third period and they ended up getting that third goal on us. We were throwing everything at them that we could and I thought (Whitley) played extremely well and our goalie (Martin) played well.”

Game 2 Recap

The Jacks took a two-games-to-none series lead in Allen on Sunday, April 17 with a 3-2 victory as the visitors took advantage of a five minute major in the opening period. Robinson and Thinel scored while Odessa had the man advantage, and defenseman Patrick Mbaraga’s second period tally made it 3-0.

After Lukin cut the lead to 3-1 with his second period goal, defenseman Matt Gens and Pierce scored less than three minutes into period three for a 5-1 lead. Lukin set up Whelan for a goal in the third period to complete the scoring. Robinson finished the night with three assists while Gens provided two helpers. Odessa goalie Martin made 26 saves while Whitley stopped 18 pucks as Allen outshot the Jacks, 28-23.

Game 1 Recap

Odessa won the series opener on Thursday, April 14 in Allen with a 3-2 victory. Robinson assisted on goals by Thinel and Ramsey to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the opening period. After forward Bruce Graham halved the lead for Allen before the end of the session, Jacks’ defenseman Garrett Gruenke beat Whitley early in the second session for a 3-1 Odessa lead. Bonk scored late in the third period off a rebound, but the Amerks could not slip another shop past Odessa netminder Martin, who finished with 30 saves. Whitley stopped 27 shots for Allen, which outshot the visitors 32-30.

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