The Allen Americans have been a nemesis to the Wichita Thunder for years, and that continued on Saturday night when they used early goals in the first and second periods to back the stellar goaltending of Stephon Williams on their way to a 3-2 victory. The Thunder scored two power-play goals, but that was not enough for Wichita to earn the win.
Just 2:40 into the game Allen would take the lead. A shot from the point was deflected to Vincent Arseneau. The former Thunder forward blasted a one-timer over the shoulder of Shane Starrett for the goal to make it 1-0.
At the 6:20 mark it looked like Wichita would get that goal right back. Istvan Sofron got the puck behind the Americans net and passed it in front to Mark MacMillan who was cruising down the slot. MacMillan fired the one timer, but Stephon Williams just got a piece of it before deflecting it away.
At the 8:54 mark Allen would extend their lead to two. With the faceoff in the Wichita end, Zach Hall won the draw back to the point. Miles Liberat took a hard slapshot that found the far side of the net and it was 2-0.
After controlling much of the play inside the Americans end, the Thunder finally got on the board a the 16:20 mark. While on the power-play, Etienne Boutet gained control of the puck along boards and passed to Dyson Stevenson. Stevenson fired a bad angle shot that beat Williams over the shoulder to make it 2-1.
In the second, the Americans would jump on the board just 1:06 into the frame. Peter MacArthur gained control of the puck right in front of Starrett, but could not get a shot off as he moved across the crease. As he reached the other side he turned and passed to Mathieu Aubin who was standing alone on the other side of the net. Aubin buried it in the back of the net for his third goal of the season to extend the lead back to two.
The lead would hold for the nearly 13 minutes when the Wichita Thunder would take advantage of another power-play opportunity. With the puck in the Allen end, Matt DeBlouw fired a shot that was saved. The puck came out to the point where Jeremy Beaudry gained control. Beaudry skated in about five feet then blasted a shot into the Americans net for his fourth goal of the year.
Both teams had their chances in the third period, but the defenses tightened as well. Allen had 26 shots through the first two periods, but mustered just eight shots in the final frame. Wichita put 24 shots on net through two, but were held to just seven to close out the game. The Thunder pulled their goalie with about 1:10 left in the game, but could not generate any real scoring chances, and Wichita fell 3-2.
Stephon Williams saved 29 shots to lead Allen to victory. No player on either team had more than one point in the game. The loss was the second straight for Wichita.
These two teams will square off tomorrow. The puck drops at 4:05.
By Robert Pannier