ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans showed consistency in one thing Tuesday night, and that was in dropping their third straight series opener; this time to the Wichita Thunder, who has yet to lose a game in the post-season, to the tune of 4-1. The good news for Allen is that they’ve bounced back and won both of their prior series, but the question is, can they do it again facing the hottest team in the playoffs in Wichita?
Allen came out strong in the opening frame, getting several good chances with each of their five shots being solid scoring opportunities. While scoring opportunities are great, they need to be capitalized on and the Americans didn’t get it done.
Wichita however did, with some help by the Americans defense, when Todd Griffith was credited with the late first period goal to give Wichita the 1-0 lead. Griffith was knocked into Aaron Dell in the Americans net and the puck slid past the prone Dell who was unable to stop it from crossing the line. Les Reaney and Kevin Young earned the assist on the Griffith marker at 16:47.
The Americans then fell flat for the next two periods, completely out of sync and continued to make uncharacteristic mistakes, mishandling the puck and openly turning it over in their own zone. This led to a second Wichita goal early in the middle frame when Todd Griffith rifled a shot under the crossbar to give the Thunder the 2-0 lead at 2:49, assisted by Travis Wight and Les Reaney.
Things looked up, very briefly for Allen in the third period when Brian McMillin, Todd Robinson and Trevor Ludwig connected on the power play to give Allen their first goal of the game. Ludwig’s goal came at the 4:18 mark, cutting the Wichita lead to 2-1.
Wichita dashed those hopes quickly, answering back at even strength just 23 seconds later when RG Flath lit the lamp, unassisted, to give the two goal lead back to the Thunder.
At 12:53, Chad Painchaud outhustled Tyler Ludwig to charge in uncontested against Dell and fired the puck over the shoulder to give the Thunder their final goal of the contest where it stood at 4-1 as time expired.
Wichita outshot Allen handily, doubling them up 30-16 while going 0-4 on the power play. The bright spots for Allen were a solid penalty kill effort, which held Wichita at bay, and the lone Americans goal came on the power play where they ended the game at 1-5.
Game two of the best-of-seven series is set for Thursday night at the Allen Event Center, with the puck drop at 7:05 pm CST.
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