ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans have accomplished a tremendous amount in their four years in the Central Hockey League. Allen has been at the top of the league each season; winning two Governor’s Cup titles, and an appearance in the Central Hockey League Finals during their inaugural season, where they fell in game six to the Rapid City Rush in double overtime.
Allen has won nearly every accolade possible, except for one, the President’s Cup. Each season the club demands excellence from itself and last year’s first round exit against their cross-town rivals, the Fort Worth Brahmas, still burned fresh in the minds of the returning players and they used that fuel to keep the fires stoked in this year’s long playoff run to great effect.
Scripting the most dramatic game seven comeback win in Central Hockey League history, the Americans have gone from being out first in last year’s post-season to being the last team standing in this year’s. The yearning for that first President’s Cup is now sated, but the demand for excellence in themselves will only burn brighter.
The Americans failed to close the series on Friday night in Wichita, allowing the Thunder to force a deciding game seven, the series moved back to Allen where the home ice advantage cliché’s were in full force and effect.
As Wichita lead 2-0, on goals by RG Flath in both the first and second periods respectively, and with time slipping away, the 6,125 fans in attendance were the 7th man on the ice for the Americans, helping their team dig a little deeper into the reserve tank for one last and incredibly memorable offensive.
Wichita was buoyed by a pair of goals by RG Flath, who looked to be on his way to being the hero of game seven for Wichita, scoring first at 6:25 of the opening frame, assisted by Torrie Jung and then a second period marker up at 13:38, assisted by Chad Painchaud and Andrew Martens.
Wichita took it to Allen in the opening frame, doubling the Americans in shots 12-6 but in the second found themselves outshot by Allen 16-4 for a two period total of 22-16 with Wichita holding the 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard.
Allen kept the foot in the throttle in the third period, outshooting Wichita 12-6 with two of them finding the back of the net to force overtime. First it was Jarret Lukin knocking in a Drew Daniels Rebound, with the second helper going to Jamie Schaafsma at 7:13.
The Americans had cut the Wichita lead in half, but the relentless ticking of the clock was not on Allen’s side. For over ten minutes, the Wichita Thunder held onto their precious one goal lead but that grip became more and more tenuous with each Americans rush, as the tempo and momentum solidly shifted in Allen’s favor.
Ten and a half minutes later, Trevor Hendrikx snapped a shot from the point that lit the lamp to knot the score, assisted by Kale Kerbashian and the Allen Event Center erupted. The tension broke, momentarily, as the players and fans knew they’d pulled back from the precipice one more time.
The tension now changed to momentum on the Allen bench, as they recorded three more shots to Wichita’s one in the remaining 2:19 of regulation.
The seventeen minute break between the third period and the first overtime did nothing to douse the fire that was started by Trevor Hendrikx’s tying goal, Allen held nothing back and went on the attack right away, limiting Wichita to only one shot on goal while they put three on net in less than three minutes of overtime to complete their impossible comeback victory.
Americans defenseman Mike Montgomery picked up the puck the Americans zone and wheeled behind the net before he sent a tape to tape stretch pass to Todd Robinson at the Thunder blue line. Robinson quickly skated into the offensive zone and rocketed a shot from the right circle, beating Torrie Jung at 2:47 to bring a dramatic close to one of the greatest finals series in Central Hockey League history.
The 6,125 hockey fans in attendance, were treated to hockey drama at its finest, a game seven contest between the top two teams in the Central Hockey League that went down to the wire but still needed an extra three minutes to settle the issue.
As expected by everyone associated with the Americans playoff run, Brian McMillin was recognized by the league after the game with the Playoff MVP Award. McMillin’s league best 12 goals in the post season were a critical element to the Americans Cup victory, three of those being game winners for the Americans.
There can be no denying the Allen Americans player’s commitment with this victory; once again persevering through adversity to reach the summit. Down 2-0, in the latter stages of the game, they did the impossible with three unanswered goals, and that makes them mighty.
Contact the writer at email@example.com
Contact the photographer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter: @prohockeynews