The Allen Americans (39-22-5) begin their quest to defend their Ray Miron President’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Allen Event Center, in a first round matchup against the expansion Brampton Beast (33-26-7). Allen, the third seed, will have home ice in the series against the sixth-seeded Beast.
The two clubs met six times during the regular season with each winning three times. Home ice advantage was a factor in the series, with each team winning twice on their own ice and once on the road. The last time the two squads met was in late December and since that time Brampton has added several new players while Allen has stayed fairly steady with the most notable addition recently of backup goaltender Willie Yanakeff.
There have, however, been several key losses for the Americans due to injury. Allen will be without Trevor Ludwig, Phil Fox and perennial fixture, Jarret Lukin who has been out of the lineup for several months. The good news for Allen is the expected return of Jonathon Zion, Trevor Hendrikx and Kale Kerbashian during the playoffs, along with Alex Lavoie who is back in Allen red after his stint in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons.
The Beast finished strong with three wins over the Rapid City Rush to place them in sole possession of sixth place. Brampton is led offensively by Jason Pitton, Matt Caruana, Andrew Fournier and Scott Howes. Pitton tallied 55 points during the regular season, while Caruana led all forwards with 34 assists and Fournier led the team in goals with 29. Howes was a force for the Beast, scoring 45 points in 36 games after joining the team in mid-December.
A storyline to follow in this series will be the battle of brothers Jason Pitton of Brampton and Bryan Pitton of Allen. Bryan has been the go-to goalie for the Americans, posting 27 wins in 43 outings. He has a 3-1-0 record against Brampton along with a .913 save percentage and 2.25 goals against average. Jason has scored just once on ten shot attempts through four games against his brother.
Expect to see a good battle between the Beast, who want to prove themselves in their first postseason appearance, and the Americans, who are determined to defend their title.
Series Schedule (All times local):
Game 1: Brampton at Allen, Wednesday, April 2 at 7:05pm
Game 2: Brampton at Allen, Thursday, April 3 at 6:05pm
Game 3: Allen at Brampton, Thursday, April 10 at 7:00pm
Game 4: Allen at Brampton, Friday, April 11 at 7:30pm
Game 5: Allen at Brampton, Sunday, April 13 at 4:00pm (If necessary)
Game 6: Brampton at Allen, Wednesday, April 16 at 7:05pm (If necessary)
Game 7: Brampton at Allen, Thursday, April 17 at 7:05pm (If necessary)
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