ALLEN, Texas – Todd Griffith scored twice and Torrie Jung stopped 15-of-16 shots, improving to a perfect 9-0 in the post-season as the Wichita Thunder cruised to a 4-1 win in front of 4,647 fans at the Allen Event Center in the opening game of the Central Hockey eague Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals.
Wichita out-shot the Allen Americans 30-16, as they claimed their ninth-straight playoff win marking a new CHL record. The win also marks Wichita’s eleventh-straight, dating back to the regular season. Their last loss came at the hands of the Allen Americans on March 22.
Things developed slowly in the beginning as the two teams got a feel for each other. Finally, Griffith struck for the Thunder at the 16:47 mark of the opening period, giving Wichita a 1-0 lead. Les Reaney sent a feed from behind the net to the crease, where Griffith managed to pick up the puck and beat Allen goaltender Aaron Dell during a scrum in front of the net.
Griffith added his second goal five minutes later, shortly after an Allen goal was disallowed for being kicked into the Wichita net. Griffith received a pass from Travis Wight then came into the zone on the left wing before snapping a shot above Dell’s shoulder to put the Thunder up by two goals.
Allen managed to hold a slight shot advantage over Wichita 9-7 in the period, but could not beat Jung as the score would hold at 2-0 as the teams went into the second intermission.
Trevor Ludwig finally got the home team on the board four minutes into the final period, putting the puck past Jung after taking a centering pass from Todd Robinson on the power play.
Wichita, however, would answer quickly on an unassisted goal by R.G. Flath just 23-seconds later. Flath picked up a turnover off of Trevor Hendrikx’s stick then skated just inside the blue line before unleashing a laser that went top shelf past Dell, making it 3-1.
Chad Painchaud added an insurance goal eight minutes later to increase the Thunder lead to three goals. Painchaud picked up the puck off a draw in the Wichita defensive zone, then skated the length of the ice before releasing a wrist-shot from the left face-off dot that found the back of the net.
With the win the Thunder take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with game two scheduled for Thursday night at the Allen Event Center. The series then shifts to the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita for games three and four on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
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