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.