Americans tame Beast 4-1, move within one game of series sweep

CHL Playoffs logoThe Allen Americans took their 2-0 series lead on the road, north of the border, against the Brampton Beast in a must-win situation for Brampton. The Beast took the bold step of guaranteeing a win for their fans; if the club didn’t win Thursday night, the fans would get free admission to Friday night’s game four.

The Americans took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after two goals scored less than a minute apart in an evenly balanced first period of play. Getting Allen going was Daniel Tetrault who blasted a shot from the point past goaltender Kristofer Westblom at 17:27 for his second goal of the playoffs, while Anthony Maiani earned the helper.

0337-005A Brampton penalty just 30-seconds later gave the Americans the man advantage and they didn’t squander the opportunity, scoring just 13-seconds into the power play when Greger Hanson netted his second goal of the post-season off a pass from Bruce Graham at 18:09. Shots were even through the frame at 16-16 with Allen holding the 2-0 lead after twenty minutes of play.

Brampton cut the Americans lead in half early in the middle frame when Scotty Howes poked the puck past Bryan Pitton unassisted at 2:58, for his second of the playoffs.

Allen answered back on a short five-on-three power play when Darryl Bootland notched his fourth goal of the playoffs at 6:01, assisted by Jonathon Zion and Maiani to regain their two-goal lead at 3-1. Allen held the edge in shots for the period at 13-11 while Brampton continued to have trouble trying to solve Allen’s Bryan Pitton, who was unbeatable between the pipes for the Americans after the first marker.

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A tight checking, physical third period stayed scoreless until the final 1:17 when Bruce Graham slipped the puck into the empty net to give Allen the 4-1 lead with assists from Hanson and Jamie Schaafsma. That capped the scoring for the game, giving Allen the commanding 3-0 series lead. Allen held the edge in shots on net in the final frame at 7-4, for a three period total of 36-31 in favor of Allen.

Standouts for Allen in this game were Pitton, who has been solid in net for Allen in the series. Bootland continues his hot hand with his fourth goal in three games and Hanson was on fire, playing both sides of the puck with a frenzied tenacity. Maiani continues his quiet contributions as playmaker, notching his fourth and fifth assists in three post-season games.

Special teams were key for Allen on Thursday night as they went 2-for-5 on the power play while keeping the Beast caged at 0-for-6.

Allen continues their series against Brampton on the road Friday night where they could close it out and sweep the expansion club in their first post-season appearance; the puck drop is scheduled for 7:35PM EST.

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Contact the writer: maurice.fitzgerald@prohockeynews.com

Contact the photographer: john.warren@prohockeynews.com

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