ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans are one win away from the Central Hockey League championship after a four-goal second period propelled them to a 5-1 win over the Wichita Thunder in front of 5,801 fans at the Allen Event Center on Tuesday night.
The loss pushes the Thunder to the brink of elimination as the Americans now hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals.
Despite scoring the first goal for the third game in a row, Wichita dropped their second-consecutive game in the series. It is the first time that the Thunder have lost consecutive games in the postseason, after dropping a tough 2-1 decision at home last Sunday. Wichita outshot Allen 27-22, even though they only scored once.
Andrew Martens opened the game on a positive note for Wichita, scoring on the power play 10:57 into the opening frame. With Allen’s Kale Kerbashian in the penalty box serving a five minute major for boarding, Martens took a pass from Kevin Young then skated to the top of the right circle where he released a wrist shot that went past goalie Aaron Dell and into the net to make it 1-0.
The Thunder had several scoring chances while tightening up on the defensive end as they held a 7-3 shot advantage through the first 20-minutes of play.
Allen roared back and took control in the second period, with goals by Todd Robinson, Jim McKenzie, Tyler Ludwig and Jamie Schaafsma. Allen outshot Wichita 12-7 in the second as their offense simply took over and dominated.
Robinson’s goal came just 49-seconds into the period after he jumped on a loose puck and beat Thunder netminder Torrie Jung to tie it 1-1. Roughly two and a half minutes later McKenzie put the puck under Jung’s arm while on a three-on-one rush as the Americans claimed their first lead of the night.
Ludwig added the first of his two goals three minutes later, bouncing the puck off of a Thunder player and past Jung. With Les Reaney serving a five minute penalty for boarding, Schaafsma redirected a Robinson shot into the net with 18-seconds remaining to make it 4-1 as the two teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission. Thunder Head Coach Kevin McClelland later pulled Jung, replacing him with Kevin Regan in the third period.
Ludwig added his second power play marker of the night two minutes into the third period, while Reaney served the remainder of his major penalty, equaling the final score.
The Thunder will now regroup and look to use the home crowd to their advantage as the series returns to Intrust Bank Arena for game six on Friday night. A Wichita win would force a deciding game seven on Saturday night in Allen.
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