ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans took on the Quad City Mallards in a must-win, game six on Tuesday night at the Allen Event Center. After suffering back-to-back overtime losses to the Mallards on Friday and Saturday, Allen would have to dig deep to force a game seven, as the team has struggled to score all series and by the end of regulation they had unleashed an avalanche of goals, half of them on the power play.
The Americans got things going early when Spencer Asuchak netted his fourth goal of the playoffs, assisted by Anthony Maiani and Darryl Bootland at 5:20. Ten Minutes later the Americans extended their lead when Bruce Graham lit the lamp for the seventh time this post-season, on the power play at 15:05, assisted by Bootland and Jonathon Zion.
Allen held the 2-0 lead through the balance of the frame, as well as shots on goal at the first intermission, leading 14-10. The play through the period was dominated by Allen as they controlled the puck and spent the majority of the time in the Mallards’ end, while giving up few quality scoring chances in their own end.
The Americans further extended their lead with another pair of goals and in the process, chased Thomas Heemskerk from the Quad City net with less than two minutes remaining in the second period.
Just 11-seconds later, Jonathan Lessard found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the playoffs, assisted by Brian McMillin and Daniel Tetrault. It was then that Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski knew Heemskerk had had enough and pulled his number one goaltender after he surrendered four shots on 20 goals to that point. The clubs were tied 10-10 for shots in the period with Allen led 24-20 after two periods.
Quad City sparked to life in the third period when Michael Monfredo finally found a way past Bryan Pitton in the Americans net, but that would be the lone Mallards goal. Monfredo’s marker was a power play goal at 4:28, assisted by Vladimir Nikiforov and Jim McKenzie.
For the next ten minutes, Quad City assaulted the Americans’ net with everything they had, but a determined Pitton frustrated their efforts. Allen finally grabbed the reins and wrestled back control of the game in the final four minutes of the stanza, notching another pair of goals to force a deciding game seven Wednesday night.
First it was Hanson earning his second goal of the playoffs, on the power play, assisted by Lavoie and Tyler Ludwig at 16:25, followed by Anthony Maiani’s fifth post-season marker at 18:22 with the lone helper going to Ross Rouleau. Those two Allen goals came on only five shots in the final frame as Quad City out-shot Allen 13-5 as they took the three period total 33-29, but fell to Allen on the scoredboard 6-1.
The Americans and Mallards conclude their series on Wednesday evening when they face off in the deciding game seven at the Allen Event Center with a 7:05pm scheduled puck drop.
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Photos courtesy of Kimberly Sauer