Allen drops playoff opener 2-1 Americans fall flat on home ice

0b757262f9f440d1877d3e7caf7cae73.300ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans began their 4th post-season run in as many years in the Central Hockey League, on Thursday evening against the expansion Denver Cutthroats, just days after securing their second Governor’s Cup and earning home ice advantage for their playoff run.

The two clubs are no strangers to each other, having played three times in the regular season with Allen winning two of the three contests. All of those games were decided by one goal, with the visiting team taking home the victory and Thursday night followed suit with Denver walking away with a big victory over Allen.

 

Allen's Bryce Aneloski battles Denver's Luke Fulghum for the puck

Allen’s Bryce Aneloski battles Denver’s Luke Fulghum for the puck

Allen started off the game on fire, dominating the opening period of play at both ends of the ice. The Americans had wanted to come out strong in the early going and did just that, doubling up the Cutthroats in shots through the first period 15-7 and getting the opening goal near the midway point of the first period.

New addition to the Americans playoff roster and college amateur, Bryce Aneloski, made an excellent impression on the Allen fans in his first outing with the team. Aneloski netted his first professional goal at 9:38 of the first period on the power play, assisted by Darryl Bootland and Todd Robinson, to give the Americans the early 1-0 lead.

Aneloski played for the University of Nebraska in the WCHA the past three seasons, where he’s compiled 60 points (13G, 47A) in 115 games and was a 7th round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2010 NHL draft.

Allen dominated much of the play throughout the period with Denver unable to establish much of a presence in the Allen zone in the opening 20 minutes of play. That all changed however, when Ben Wilson drilled a shot past Aaron Dell at the 19:51 mark, on the power play, assisted by Luke Fulghum and Mikael Bedard.

That late goal signaled a massive momentum shift in Denver’s favor that Allen was unable to recover from. For the remainder of the game, except for the last five minutes of regulation, the Americans looked listless and uninspired, the polar opposite of the way they started the game.

 

Denver goalie Kieran Millan makes a save

Denver goalie Kieran Millan makes a save

Of other note in the first period was the loss of Adam Pineault for the Americans, who left the game midway through the first with an undisclosed injury. He went off under his own power, but never returned to the ice Thursday night. 

Late in the second period, Mikael Bedard did a great job of gaining position on Trevor Ludwig in front of the Allen crease, where he was able to bat in a rebound to give the Cutthroats the lead and the eventual game winner at 16:28. Assists on the Bedard goal were credited to Luke Fulghum and Gabe Gauthier. The Americans made a strong run in the final five minutes of the game but were unable to get the evener before time expired.

Allen will need to bounce back strong in game two on Friday night, if they hope to break the pattern of the visitor walking away with the win that these two teams have established. Game two is Friday night at the Allen Event Center, with the puck drop scheduled for 7:05 pm CST.

Contact the writer at maurice.fitzgerald@prohockeynews.com

Contact the photographer at chip.crail@prohockeynews.com

Follow us on Twitter: @prohockeynews

 

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