Photo: Ed Bailey
Wichita, Kansas – The Allen Americans, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and AHL’s Belleville Senators, beat the Wichita Thunder on Friday night in snowy Kansas by a 4-1 score at Intrust Bank Arena.
After a scoreless opening period, the Americans scored twice in the second frame. Easton Brodzinski took a pass from Nolan Orzeck and fired a shot from the right circle into the Wichita net for his 12th goal of the season. Two minutes later the Americans scored again as Eric Williams found the back of the net for his second goal of the year and a 2-0 Allen lead. Wichita finally got on the board with eight minutes left to go in the second period as Peter Bates followed up a rebound in front of the Allen net and put one past Leevi Merilainen for his 18th of the season. The Americans took a 2-1 lead to the locker room.
The Americans put the game away in the third period. First, Hank Crone scored on a breakaway for his 11th goal of the season to extend his point streak to a season-high 12-games. Gavin Gould sealed the deal with his third of the season and second goal in the last three games. He finished with four shots on net and a plus two.
“The guys were great in front of me,” said netminder Leevi Merilainen, who was named the number one star of the game. “We battled hard tonight. Healthwise, we were not 100 %, but we scored some big goals to keep the pressure on them.”
With the victory the Americans improved to 14-17-1-0. Allen is just one point behind fourth place Rapid City, and two points behind third place Tulsa.
Game two of the three-game series is Saturday night at 7:05 PM at Intrust Bank Arena. The Americans return home next Wednesday night to open a three-game series against the Utah Grizzlies.
1. ALN - L. Merilainen
2. ALN - H. Crone
3. ALN - G. Gould