ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans finished up the last of five straight road games dating back to February 24 when they defeated the Indy Fuel 5-3 Sunday afternoon. It should have been cause for celebration as with the win in Indy, the Americans won all five road games and come home to finish the season with eight of the 11 remaining games at the Allen Event Center.
– Allen won the game against last place Indy but it is hard to believe anyone was happy with the team’s performance. Allen out shot the Fuel 16-7 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. They scored two goals early in the second period to take a 3-0 lead. It seemed like from that point forward the attitude was we are up 3-0 and I want to get some points. Turnovers dominated the second period for Allen, Indy out shot the Americans 20-8 but managed just one goal thanks to stellar play by Riley Gill. Allen scored at the 8:07 mark of the third period to make the score 4-1. Disaster then struck twice for Allen as they gave up shorthanded goals on two successive power plays to let Indy back in the game. With the score 4-3 the Fuel pulled their goalie but Greger Hanson scored an empty netter to seal a 5-3 win for Allen.
– A game that started out so good ended up being one of those games where many players started to think scoring was more important than winning. And it is not like Indy has this great penalty kill unit that scores a lot of shorthanded goals. As a matter of fact in the 59 games prior to the game yesterday the Fuel were dead last in the ECHL with only two shorthanded goals. They doubled their total to four shorties in one game against Allen. The Americans have given up more shorthanded goals (12) this season than any team in the league.
– The player you have to feel bad for is goalie Riley Gill who has played his heart out for this team. To give up two shorthanded goals on two successive power plays six minutes apart to a team that had two power play goals in their first 59 games is inexcusable and demonstrates a lack of commitment to defense. Greger Hanson had this to say in the Allen press release recapping the game,
“This was a disappointing effort by us. We left Riley out to dry with some bad decisions that led to two shorthanded goals. I don’t blame him for being upset. He played great and we didn’t do our part.”
– Steve Martinson was also unhappy with the team’s effort. Here are his post game comments:
“I liked the way we played in the first period. Things changed once we got the 3-0 lead early in the second period. We had way too many turnovers from guys trying to make plays that weren’t there.
The shorthanded goals were painful to watch. We couldn’t stop the first one because we had some forwards hoping we were going to get the puck back so they could get an odd man rush the other way. Instead Indy had a shorthanded empty net to shoot at.
The second shorthanded goal was caused by the kind of drop pass at the blue line they teach you as a young kid not to do.
After I watched the effort by some of the forwards on the first shorthanded goal I should have never put them out on the next power play to give up the second shorthanded goal.”
One stat that should be important to everyone on the team is Riley Gill leading the ECHL in GAA and save percentage.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Greger Hanson (31 & 32), David Makowski (15), Bryan Moore (21) and Wade MacLeod (1).
– The Americans got an early start on the 850-mile trip back to Allen as the game ended at 4:30 pm (CDT). If all went as planned and Big Red cooperated the hope was to arrive back at the Allen Event Center around 9:00 am this morning.
– You may have heard about a playoff game in Norway yesterday that went to eight overtimes, took over eight hours to complete and ended at 2:32 am. There were 189 shots on goal (96-93) and the final score was 2-1. Here are some more details: https://www.nhl.com/news/incredible-hockey-game-in-norway-goes-8-overtimes/c-287656214
– The Allen Americans got some good publicity as Aaron Dell led San Jose to a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars last night. Allen was mentioned on TV and in the game recap in the Dallas Morning News (DMN) today. Some really nice things to say about Aaron and well deserved. Here is a link to the DMN story. https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2017/03/12/stars-iest-way-possible-loss-san-jose-showed-stars-mess?f=r
In other Mountain Division action yesterday Utah, Missouri, and Colorado all won. Colorado beat Alaska in overtime so the Aces also gained a point. Here are the Mountain Division standings with games remaining in parentheses:
87 points – Colorado (11 games remaining)
83 points – Allen (11 games)
75 points – Idaho (12 games)
69 points – Alaska (12 games)
65 points – Utah (11 games)
63 points – Missouri (13 games)
52 points – Rapid City (12 games)
DID YOU KNOW: Allen’s record when scoring the first goal of the game is 30-2-2-1. That is the second best record in the ECHL and equates to getting 90% of the available points when they score first. An even more amazing record is when Allen is tied after the first period they haven’t lost all season. They are a perfect 13-0 when tied after one period. Every other team in the league has at least four losses when tied after the first period.