Ak-Sar-Ben Knights win playoff opener
Omaha, NE – Adam Pardy snapped a tie midway through the third period to propel the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, the Calgary Flames top affiliate in the American Hockey League, to a 4-2 win over the Iowa Stars in game one of their West Division semifinal series. It was the Knights’ first ever playoff game.
The Knights would open the scoring while on a two-man power play. Dustin Boyd spotted Justin Taylor alone in the slot. He smacked a shot past Stars’ netminder Dan Ellis 12:25 into the first period.
The Stars would reply with a power play goal of their own at the 16:56 mark of the first period. Matt DeMarchi centered a pass to Dan Hacker who deflected the puck past Curtis McElhinney to even the score.
Iowa took the lead with another power play goal 12:39 into the second period. Junior Lessard took a shot from the point. McElhinney made the save but before he could cover the puck, Paul Szczechura pounced and slid the puck into the net.
The Knights wasted little time tying the game with their second power play goal of the game. Brandon Prust won the face off back to Chris Lee who sent a wrist shot to the top corner of the Iowa net. It came just five seconds into the man advantage.
Pardy restored the Omaha lead at 9:21 of the third period. With both teams skating four-on-four, Pardy wristed a shot from the point that Ellis did not see until it was in the back of the net.
The Knights extended the lead to 4-2 with 5:38 remaining in the third period. Warren Peters stormed down the right wing and put a shot toward the goal. An Iowa defender got a piece of it, deflecting it past Ellis.
The two teams combined for just 39 shots on goal. The Knights finished the night two-for-nine on the powerplay while the Stars had two powerplay goals on four chances.
Three Stars: 1. Adam Pardy (OMA) – Game-winning goal; 2. David Van der Gulik (OMA); 2 assists 3. Warren Peters (OMA) – 1 goal.
Click here for game sheet.
The Knights continue their best of seven series with the Stars on Saturday night at the Civic Auditorium. Game time is 7:00 p.m.