Dante Salituro Silences the Thunder in Americans 4-0 Victory
The Allen Americans looked to earn their first victory of the season on Saturday night, and do so on the home ice of their archrivals, the Wichita Wingnuts. Thanks to a goal and two assists by Dante Salituro and 34 saves by C.J. Motte, the Americans earned the victory, blanking the Thunder, 4-0. That moved both teams to 1-1-0 this season.
Allen dominated the action early, as the Americans controlled much of the play through the first 10 minutes of the game. At 5:43 of the first period the Allen Americans would jump out in front. Just after killing off a penalty, Dante Salituro entered the zone on a two on one. He passed the puck across to Spenser Auschak as they approached the goal, who beat Dylan Wells for his first goal of the year. That made it 1-0 Allen.
Less than two minutes later, Allen looked like they would extend their lead to two. With the puck loose in front of the Thunder net, Wells made two amazing saves on point blank shots, one while falling backward but still getting his glove out to block the shot.
At the 10:35 mark, Colin Larkin nearly tied the score, bursting through two defenders and then putting a shot on goal that was narrowly deflected wide. Larkin followed up the shot after regaining control, but he could not get the puck through.
It stayed 1-0 heading into the second and remained that way through much of the frame but, with 5:03 left, the Americans moved their lead to two. Salituro gained control of the puck behind the Thunder net. He passed in front to Braylon Shmyr, who made a nice move to his backhand, then to his forehand, sliding the puck between the side bar and Wells for his first goal of the season.
With 1:29 left in the second, the Americans had a great opportunity to get back on the board. A loose puck bounced right onto the stick of Pavel Jenys in front of the goal. His initial shot was saved by Wells, but it came right back to him. He moved it a little to his left and then looked to go up top, but the Thunder goalie made a great blocker save to keep it a two goal game.
The Thunder power-play had been ineffective all night as the Americans shutdown all four opportunities Wichita had through the first two periods with the man-advantage. A minute into the third, Wichita was on the power-play again, but it would be the Allen Americans who would capitalize. Asuchak knocked the puck ahead to Zach Pochiro along the boards near center ice. He then picked up a head of steam, moving in on Wells and beating him up high for the short-handed goal.
A couple of minutes later, Wichita had a golden opportunity to finally get on the board. Colin Larkin fired a shot that was saved by C. J. Motte. The puck bounced right to John McFarland streaking down the slot, but his point blank shot was kicked away by the Americans goalie.
With a little less than 10 minutes left, the Americans extended their lead to four. Alex Breton fired a shot from the point that Salituro tipped through the legs of Wells as he was skating by the net. That was his first goal of the year.
Four different American players scored their first goal of the season. Salituro finished with three points. Motte made 35 saves, including 14 in the third.
These two teams will meet again on Friday, October 19 at INTRUST Arena. The puck drops at 7:05.
By Robert Pannier