By Ron Knabenbauer and Ryan Simmons
The Denver Cutthroats' bid to win a championship in their second season of existence came to an end this past weekend, but they were close.
The Colorado Avalanche's Central Hockey League minor-league affiliate's playoff run closed on Saturday as the Cutthroats lost 5-2 to the Allen Americans in Game 5 of the Ray Miron Presidents' Cup at the Allen Event Center. For the Americans, it's their second consecutive CHL title.
Denver held a 1-0 lead after the first period, but a big middle frame by Allen was the difference in the fifth game of the series. The Americans scored four goals in a matter of eight minutes to take a 4-1 lead and stand just 20 minutes away from another championship.
Lee Moffie was able to cut the score in half for the Cutthroats with a minute left in the third period and with an extra attacker on the ice, but Allen soon scored into an empty net to lock up the series, 4-1.
Avs goaltending prospect Kent Patterson made 23 saves on 27 shots in the Game 5 loss for Denver.
The championship series was tied at 1-1 entering the three games in Texas after the Cutthroats split their games on home ice. The Fish won 4-3 in Game 1 but lost 5-4 in double overtime in Game 2.
Denver fell by a 3-1 score in Game 3 last Wednesday after the contest was tied at one going into the third period. Greger Hanson scored the go-ahead goal with 5:42 left in the period, and Allen added an empty-net tally minutes later to secure the win.
The Fish again lost in sudden-death overtime in Friday's Game 4. The teams traded goals throughout the game, which included Denver holding leads of 1-0 and 3-2 before Allen responded with tallies of its own. Jonathan Lessard scored the overtime-winner at 3:53 to give a 4-3 victory to the Americans.
Patterson stopped 34 shots in Game 3 and made 44 saves in Game 4. He finished the playoffs with an 8-7 record, two shutouts, 2.71 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
The Cutthroats had the second-best record in the CHL during the regular season, sporting a 38-17-11 mark. Patterson played most of the second half of the season after winning the starting job midway through the 2013-14 campaign. He had a 23-10-7 record, 2.71 goals-against average and .922 save percentage during his second professional season.
CORBETT, OIL KINGS IN GAME 7
Cody Corbett and the Edmonton Oil Kings had a chance to wrap up the WHL championship with a victory over Portland in Game 6 on Sunday. They were heartbreakingly close.
With the Oil Kings up by three goals in the third period, Portland rallied to force overtime and silence the Edmonton crowd. Edmonton couldn’t find the back of the net in overtime as the Winterhawks scored to win 6-5 and force a seventh game in the series.
The Oil Kings were in position to clinch the series and a berth in the Memorial Cup after winning three straight games. They battled back after falling behind 2-0 in the series last week. In Game 3 this past Tuesday, the Oil Kings picked up a 3-2 win after coming out with the sense of urgency that their coach, Derek Laxdal, was looking for after Game 2
The Oil Kings' good defensive play continued in Wednesday's Game 4 with a 2-0 shutout victory. Edmonton won 3-2 in Game 5 on Friday in a high-intensity game that saw the teams combine for 69 shot.
Game 7 is on Monday night with the WHL championship on the line.
Corbett appeared in 65 regular-season games for the Oil Kings this season, totaling 61 points (17 goals and 44 assists). The defenseman has played in all 20 playoff games for Edmonton and has 12 points (six goals and six assists) and a plus-11 rating.
MILLAN WITH WHEELING
The Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL are currently trailing 3-2 in their second-round matchup with Greenville. They were able to even the series at 2-2 with a 3-2 overtime win last Tuesday and a 3-2 victory on Thursday. The Nailers were unable to get a win on Friday in Game 5, losing by a score of 4-1. Avs goalie prospect Kieran Millan has not made an appearance in the postseason. He appeared in five games this season for Wheeling and was 2-2-0 with one shutout and a 1.75 goals-against average.