The scoring got underway at the 4:44 mark of the first period when Tristan King fired a puck by Brian Foster on the power play to give Allen a 1-0 lead. The Nailers’ Riley Brace was serving a roughing penalty at the time of the goal.
Roughly five minutes later, the red-hot Greger Hansen scored his 15th goal of the postseason, again on the power-play, potting a beautiful feed from Chad Costello to give Allen a 2-0 lead.
From there, the Wheeling Nailers began to assert themselves. In the middle of a 16-shot barrage, the Nailers got on the scoreboard at the 9:32 mark of the second period. John McCarron poked a puck by Riley Gill to narrow the lead to 2-1.
Wheeling continued their push into the third period, but a Brett Stern slashing minor gave the Americans’ power play their fourth opportunity of the night. It would be one they would again capitalize on. Eric Roy fired a puck at the top of the slot that beat Brian Foster and gave Allen a 3-1 lead.
With Gill out of the net, Cody Wydo scored into the open net to narrow the Americans lead to 3-2 with 7:06 to go in regulation.
Gill was called on to make several big saves down the stretch, including an open-net chance from Ty Loney with 3-and-a-half minutes left.
Gary Steffes salted the game away with an empty net goal with half-a-minute left.
For Allen, this is their fourth straight championship, second consecutive in the ECHL. The Americans are now the third ECHL team to win back-to-back Kelly Cup, and the first since 1993 and 1994 Toledo Storm.
Steve Martinson now improves to 8-0 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with the Americans, and has won the last 14 playoff series he has coached in.
For Gill, this is his third Kelly Cup championship, the most among ECHL goaltenders. Gill joins Jared Bednar as the only other ECHL player or coach with three Kelly Cup championships.
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