PRINCETON, N.J. – The Allen Americans defeated the Fort Wayne Komets 6-4 on Sunday at the Allen Event Center in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Allen wins the series 4 games to 1 and advances to the Kelly Cup Finals to defend its title.
After falling behind 2-0 midway through the first period, the Americans reeled off four straight goals on first-period tallies from Casey Pierro-Zabotel and David Makowski and second-period goals from Spencer Asuchak and Vincent Arseneau.
Former American Jamie Schaafsma pulled Fort Wayne within 4-3 at 1:21 of the third period but a power-play goal from Eric Roy restored the two-goal lead just over two minutes later at 3:39. The Komets closed within one with 3:19 remaining on a Garrett Meurs tally but an empty-net goal from Greger Hanson set the final.
Allen advances to the Kelly Cup Finals to meet the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. South Carolina leads Wheeling in that series 3 games to 2 with Game 6 set for Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Americans, who defeated South Carolina 4 games to 3 in the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals, are the first defending champion to return to the Finals since Toledo did so in the 1994 Riley Cup Finals. The Storm successfully defended their title with a 4 games to 1 win over Raleigh. Allen becomes the fifth defending champion in the ECHL’s 28-year history to return to the Finals. Carolina, which defeated Johnstown in 1988, lost to Greensboro in 1989. Greensboro, which defeated Winston-Salem in 1989, lost to Hampton Roads in 1991. Hampton Roads, which defeated Greensboro in 1991, defeated Louisville in 1992. Allen joins the Florida Everblades, who lost in both the 2004 and 2005 Kelly Cup Finals, as the only two teams to reach back-to-back Finals since the Kelly Cup was established in 1997.
For winning the Western Conference title, the Americans receive the Bruce Taylor Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of Bruce Taylor, who was the founding father of the West Coast Hockey League. In the early 1990s, Taylor purchased teams in Fresno, Reno and Bakersfield and in 1995 joined them with teams in Anchorage, Fairbanks and San Diego to form the West Coast Hockey League. The Taylor Cup was presented to the playoff champion in the WCHL from the league’s inaugural season in 1995-96 until the league ceased operations following the 2002-03 season. Taylor’s ownership in hockey began in 1983 with the purchase of the Burnaby Bluehawks of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and continued with the purchase of the Richmond Sockeyes in the BCJHL and the New Westminster Royals in the BCJHL.
Taylor Trophy Champions
|2012||Las Vegas Wranglers|
|2008||Las Vegas Wranglers|
|2001||South Carolina Stingrays|
|1999||Mississippi Sea Wolves|
|1998||Pensacola Ice Pilots|