Saturday, March 31, 2012

Brian McMillin tips the puck towards the five-hole of Mark Guggenberger
Brahmas drop Game One to Amercks, 5-0

Beauchemin stops all 22 shots faced in playoff opener

The Allen Americans outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the Texas Brahmas at the Allen Event Center on Friday evening, taking a 5-0 victory and a 1-0 series lead in the opening round of the Berry Conference playoffs. The question now is, can the purple and black survive Sunday's game at "the library" or will they go down 2-0 on the road to the fabled Palookaville?

Former Dallas Cowboys Tony Hill and Drew Pearson were in-house and in Americans sweaters for the ceremonial puck drop between opposing defensemen Andrew Lackner and Nick Layton.

And then it started.

Jim McKenzie got the Americans on the board at the 8:50 mark thanks to a beautiful set up by Jarret Lukin and Bruce Graham. Lukin and McKenzie came in on a two-on-one and Lukin managed a bullet of a cross-ice pass which McKenzie put past Brahmas netminder Mark Guggenberger to make it a 1-0 contest.

Sy Nutkevitch had a from out-of-knowhere breakaway chance outside the blue line shortly thereafter, but unfortunately his shot hit the pipe.

Despite the score, Guggenberger was on his game in the opening frame, stopping numerous shots that had the potential to run up the score early.

Chad Woollard took an unexpected shot by Bruce Graham late in the period but seemed OK after he got his wind back.

The Americans outshot the Brahmas 10-6 in the opening frame and as well, had the best scoring chances, capitalizing just once.

The Americans took a 2-0 lead when Guggenberger, who had left the crease, was caught off guard by Brian McMillin, who managed to deflect a Mike Berube shot from the right side to make the score 2-0 Allen.

14 minutes later, the Americans added to their lead when Bruce Graham picked up the first of two on the night. Jarret Lukin, flying in on the left wing, dropped one back to Graham, who buried a one-timer with four seconds left  on the power-play to make the score 3-0 Americans.

Texas outshot Allen 10-7 in the middle frame but was unable to solve Rejean Beauchemin, who was outstanding in net.

Bruce Graham and Keith Johnson scored for the Americans in the third, as Allen built a 5-0 lead. Ryan Hand dropped the gloves with Brett Clouthier and Tyler Barr went toe-to-toe with Dylan King during the period.

'Nuff said.

Shots were even at six apiece in the third period and the Americans had the narrow 23-22 shot advantage in the game.

Allen was 1-1 on the power-play on the night, while Texas went 0-5.

Mark Guggenberger made 18 saves on 23 shots faced and takes the loss.
The Brahmas were assessed 16 minutes on 5 infractions and went for 0 for 5 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: John Grandt
Linesman 2: Bill McGoldrick

1st Star: Bruce Graham (ALN)
2nd Star: Rejean Beauchemin (ALN)
3rd Star: Jim McKenzie (ALN)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view Chip Crail's photos from the game here
The Brahmas will meet up with the Americans for Game Two on Sunday with a 5:05 pm CST face-off at the Allen Event Center. 

Photo Credit: Chip Crail/Pro Hockey News

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