Sean Flynn Photography/Quad City Mallards
Bruce Graham had a goal and an assist, Jamie Schaafsma scored what proved to be the game winner in the third period and Bryan Pitton made 33 saves as the Allen Americans defeated the host Quad City Mallards 4-2 Wednesday night to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven Central Hockey League semi-finals.
The Americans survived a Mallard third period comeback bid that started when Jordan Mayer pounced on a loose puck in the goalmouth to cut what had been a 2-0 Allen lead in half at 8:40 of the third. Schaafsma responded with the goal that would stand up as the difference by burying the rebound at 14:12 after Mallard goaltender Ty Rimmer (32 shots) foiled Graham’s breakaway bid. The Mallards closed the gap to a single goal a second time when Matt Boyd scored in a goalmouth scramble with two minutes and thirty-nine seconds remaining only for Greger Hansen’s empty net goal to clinch victory for Allen with just 17.5 seconds left.
The Mallards never quite recovered after surrendering a pair of special teams goals late in the first period. The Americans were on the power play when Bruce Graham swept the opening goal home from the slot at 15:38 of the first. Jonathan Lessard’s shorthanded breakaway goal doubled the Allen lead at 18:35.
The Mallards host game four Friday evening and game five Saturday night. Each of those contests will face off at 7:05 p.m. Should a sixth game be required, the series would move back to Allen on Tuesday night, April 29. If the series goes the distance, the Americans would host the seventh and deciding game on Wednesday evening, April 30.
Friday evening brings not only game four between the Mallards and Americans but also the return of the Mallards’ popular $1 Dog/$1 Dollar Beer Night presented by 97X. iWireless Center doors will open at 6:00 p.m. Friday and $1 beers will be available at arena concession stands from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. $1 hot dogs will be available throughout the game.
Tickets for Mallards home playoff games can be purchased in person at the iWireless Center box office, online at ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.