Sunday, October 11, 2009

Congratulations let's move on to the regular season

Allen defeats the Brahmas 3-1

It's easy to think of the Americans as just an expansion team. Just a group of guys who have only skated together for a week. But they're also a talented group of individuals; some secure in their position on the team, some fighting for a spot on the roster. Last night, the boys from Allen proved just that with a sound win over the Texas Brahmas.

It was the first win for the Allen Americans in the short history of their club. In many ways, it was a pretty even game. For the Brahmas, nobody likes a loss, but as a pre-season match, this game was more about player evaluation than who comes away with a victory.

"We were just looking for the guys that were paying attention to details, the smaller things," Dan Wildfong told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Those that were driving the net, getting pucks deep. We are trying to get separation from the guys that are able to do it and those who are not."

Still, the Brahmas head coach was looking for a little more than he saw on the ice.

"Everyone can make passes and everyone can shoot," Wildfong said. "We weren’t happy with tonight."

Several of the Brahmas key players sat out the game including Craig Minard, Jordan Cameron, Justin Kinnunen, Grant Jacobsen, Kevin McLeod and Anders Strome.

"When you are missing Minard, Cameron, Kinnunen, Jacobsen, those are some key guys that play a lot of minutes," Wildfong said. "So I look at this as more of an evaluation than a win or a loss."

That evaluation will assist coaches Wildfong and Vogel in making their decisions on the final 2009-10 roster due by 2:00 pm CST on Friday.

The crowd at NYTEX was loud, although sparse; the announced attendance of 2,202 was a bit overstated with many ticket-holders opting not to attend. Still, it was a good-size crowd and the contingent in Section C did their best to welcome the expansion club on their first visit.

The game opened with both teams lacking intensity as line mates searched for a rhythm.

For the second game in a row, the Americans struck first. At the 9:29 mark of the first period, Allen forward Britt Dougherty took a pass from Liam Huculak and beat Brett Jaeger to the back of the net to take the 1-0 lead. That lead didn't hold for long; 71 seconds to be exact. Mark Rooneem picked up a deflection from a shot by Pete Rouleau and fired the puck past Charlie Effinger to make it 1-1 at the 10:40 mark.

The Brahmas appeared to take the lead midway through the second period when Mike Willemsen slapped the puck past American net minder Charlie Effinger, but it was called back, earning the on-ice officials an earful from the crowd at NYTEX. Instead, it was Allen that took the lead with an unassisted goal from center Tobias Whelan at the 18:47 mark.

The play got more physical in the third with the Americans taking four penalties and the Brahmas taking three, but neither team was able to take advantage of their power play opportunities. At the 8:50 mark, Allen sealed the win with a goal from Justin Bowers with the assist from Nathan O'Nabigon.

The final shot count was 29-28, advantage Brahmas. Both teams ended the night with 12 minutes of penalties on six infractions.

Allen goalie Charlie Effinger made key saves and earned the win with a total of 28. Brett Jaeger saved 25 of 28 in his first loss.

Allen's Britt Dougherty and Tobias Whelan earned the first and second star of the game while the Brahmas' Mark Rooneem earned the third star.

You can view the box score here

You can view photos from the game here

With split wins during the pre-season, the cross town rivalry is hereby initiated. The Brahmas and the Americans will meet nine times during the regular season. Five games will take place at the NYTEX Sports Centre on 10/31, 12/09, 01/08, 02/13 and 3/10. Four games will take place at the Allen Events Center on 11/11, 11/28, 12/26 and 2/15.

The Brahmas will open the regular season on the road next Friday as they take on the Colorado Eagles for a CHL Finals rematch of last season. Allen travels to Arizona to open the season with a two-game series against the Sundogs.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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