It has been a disappointing season for Allen Americans goaltender Kyle Hayton, who entered Tuesday night’s game 2-7-0 this season with a 3.87 goals against average. However, he was in complete command of this contest, stopping all 33 shots the Wichita Thunder took in the 2-0 victory. That was the fourth straight victory for Allen against Wichita.
The first period was a great back-and-forth affair that saw the Wichita Thunder outshot the Allen Americans 12-11. Thunder goalie Ty Rimmer and Americans netminder Kyle Hayton each made a couple of great saves, keeping it a scoreless tie into the first break.
In the second, the defensive struggle continued, but the Thunder gained a golden opportunity when Alexander Ranger earned his second penalty of the game at the 6:30 mark of the period. The Wichita power-play did not look very good on their first opportunity and the second would do no better.
In the Allen end, a bad giveaway gave Joel Chouinard the puck. He dumped the puck ahead into the neutral zone, making it a footrace between Riley Bourbonnais and the Thunder defender. Rimmer looked a little unsure if he should come out to play the puck, opting to stay in net.
Bourbonnais would reach the puck first, gaining control about 12 feet from the net. He took about two strides before pushing the puck high and over the shoulder of Rimmer for his 13th goal of the year. The short-handed goal was the fifth that the Thunder have allowed this season.
At the midway point of the second, the Americans would find themselves with a two-man advantage for about 80 seconds. They were able to move the puck around well, but were not able to generate a good scoring chance through the first 65 seconds. However, with about 15 seconds left in the first penalty, the pass came across the crease to Alex Breton who blasted a one-timer that Rimmer made a great glove save on.
The Thunder nearly tied the score with about 3:30 left in the second. Wichita entered the Allen zone on a 2-on-1 break. The pass came across the crease to Travis Brown who fired the one timer, but Hayton quickly slid across, making a great pad save.
The Allen Americans would extend the lead to two about seven minutes into the third. The Thunder turned the puck over in their own end as Spencer Asuchuk came in front looking to get off a point blank shot, but the puck was knocked off his stick, going behind the net. There Curt Gogol gained control of the puck, making a quick pass out to Alex Breton coming down the slot. Breton redirected the puck low to the far corner for his ninth goal of the year.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Thunder looked like they would finally break through. The puck was loose in front of the net, and a mad scramble ensued, but Hayton was eventually able to pull it under his body. Wichita did draw a penalty on the play but, for the third time in the game, the Americans penalty killing units yielded no real chances.
Despite taking the loss, Ty Rimmer was excellent in net, stopping 25 of 27 shots.
The Wichita Thunder will head to the road, playing a pair of games against the Rapid City Rush starting on Friday. The puck drops at 7:05.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier