Laredo, Texas – The Allen Americans made the long trek to Laredo on Friday night to face the Laredo Bucks for the final time in the regular season following a thrilling 3-2 Americans victory the night before against the Quad City Mallards, 3-2. The Americans have gone 5-5-2 against Laredo this season and were looking to cap off their south Texas trips with a final and important victory.
Laredo got things going first when A.J. Hau netted his 10th goal of the season off assists by Ryan Sparling and David Inman at the 6:31 mark of the first period. The Americans bounced right back, answering with the tying goal just 90 seconds later when Brett Clouthier grabbed his 3rd goal of the season in a timely manner to even the score for his club. Colton Yellow Horn and Dylan King were credited with the assists on the Clouthier marker. Allen took the 2-1 lead at 11:33 off a Brian McMillin goal assisted by Jeff Martens and Tyler Ludwig and held onto it as time expired in the opening frame. Allen outshot Laredo through the period 16-9.
In the second period, the Americans extended the lead to 3-1 with their third unanswered goal at 5:03 when Brett Clouthier recorded his second and the game winning goal, off feeds from Colton Yellow Horn and Nick Layton.
A late penalty on the Americans led to a frenzy of activity in front of the Allen net as the Bucks pressed hard to cut into the Americans lead but their efforts were bettered by some of the best penalty killing efforts of the season for Allen. Americans goaltender Marco Cousineau repeatedly frustrated Laredo, looking very sharp in the net throughout the night and during the penalty kill but he had some big help from his team mates along the way. A very close call for the Americans was averted on a heads up play by defenseman Tyler Ludwig when he batted away a puck that made its way past Cousineau and threatened to cross the goal line as it fluttered through the crease trickling towards the goal line. Laredo recovered up the loose puck and sent it back to the point but it was knocked into the neutral zone by a diving Nick Layton allowing the Americans to regroup and break the building Laredo momentum. Despite their best efforts and outshooting the Americans 14-11 in the second period, the Bucks couldn’t light the lamp and the two period shots on goal total was 27-23 in Allen’s favor.
The Bucks were finally able to cut into the lead near the midway point of the third period when Matt Boyd put the puck past Marco Cousineau who was prone and pinned to the ice, out of position by a Bucks player. Assists on the Boyd goal went to A.J. Hau and David Inman at 7:30 of the third period. Allen cemented the victory when Joshua Hepditch potted the open netter in the closing seconds of regulation to give the Americans the 4-2 victory. Allen outshot the Bucks in the third period 11-9 and overall with a three period total of 38-32.
The Americans now head back home to begin to take on the Missouri Mavericks in their only visit to the Allen Event Center, Saturday night. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:05PM.