The Allen Americans beat the Utah Grizzlies 6-5 in overtime last night before a crowd of 5,029 at the Maverik Center that saw their team come back from 4-1 and 5-3 deficits only to lose in overtime. For the Americans it was a great ending to a tough three game trip to Colorado and Utah. Coming back to Allen with six points has to be very satisfying for the team.
The game last night turned into an offensive affair which made for some exciting times for the Grizzlies fans. Allen hadn’t allowed more than two goals in their first five games of the season. The combined total of goals in any of the first five games was never more than six so the outburst of 11 combined goals last night was unique.
Allen got on the scoreboard first at 3:05 of the opening period with a Greger Hanson (3) goal and that was a good omen as the Americans have not lost when scoring the first goal of a game (3-0). But what was an indication of how this game would play out Utah got the equalizer just 32 seconds later.
Allen then scored two power play goals by Eric Roy (1) and Gary Steffes (3) along with an even strength goal by Aaron Gens (1) to take what seemed like a commanding lead of 4-1 midway through the second period. Utah came roaring back with two goals in 37 seconds late in the period to make the score 4-3 after the second period.
Aaron Gens (2) scored his second goal of the game 57 seconds into the third period to give Allen what would normally be a safe 5-3 lead but not in this game. The Americans seemed to sit back and try to protect the lead rather than being aggressive and the Grizzlies kept on the attack. Utah out shot Allen 14-6 in the third period, rang several shots off the post and cross bar and ended up getting two goals including an empty net, extra attacker goal with just 26 seconds left in the game that tied the score 5-5.
The Americans got their first taste of three on three overtime and it took just 32 seconds to get their first overtime victory. Casey Pierro-Zabotel won the faceoff after Utah went offside, took a great pass from Chad Costello and went in alone on Utah goalie Eric Levine, who was with Allen for five games in 2013-14, to win the game.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– Picking up all six points on this three game road trip is a big positive for the team.
– Our scoring has certainly picked up with six goals tonight and 13 for the three games against Colorado and Utah. We have a lot of offensive ability on this team.
– We had some ill timed turnovers tonight that allowed Utah the opportunity to stay in the game and mount a comeback.
– We played only five defensemen in the two games in Utah and the guys were getting a little tired at the end.
– There are many ways to approach the three on three overtime and coach Martinson had given a lot of thought during training camp to what is the best plan of attack. Last night he chose his best faceoff guy (Casey Pierro-Zabotel), best passer (Chad Costello) and most defensive defenseman (Danny Federico). It proved to be a winning combination as Pierro-Zabotel won the key faceoff, Costello made a perfect pass to Casey to send him in on a breakaway and he scored on the first shot of the overtime.
– Eric Roy will always remember his 21st birthday which was yesterday. He scored his first professional goal in the first period when he knocked in a rebound on the power play, got to celebrate with his teammates, and then got on the bus for the 1238 mile trip back to Allen which will take around 20 hours. The team should arrive home this evening.
– The Utah Grizzlies do what many ECHL teams do and awarded all three stars of the game to their players even though they lost the game.
Here are my selections for the three Allen stars of the game:
#1 Star – Has to go to Pierro-Zabotel for the his game winning goal in overtime. Casey also had a great assist on the first goal of the game on a no look pass from the corner to Greger Hanson.
#2 Star – Maybe should call it a tie for #1 Star as Aaron Gens exploded for four points on two goals and two assists. The offensive outburst vaulted Aaron into second place in the ECHL in scoring for defensemen. His five points trail only former Allen defensman Drew Daniels who has six points.
#3 Star – If it is your 21st birthday and you score your first professional goal you deserve a star of the game. #3 Star goes to Eric Roy.
– Asked the voice of the Allen Americans, Tommy Daniels, to share his thoughts about the game and this is what he had to say, “The offense came together tonight. You could see signs of it in Colorado and in Utah on Friday night. We have three lines that can get it done which makes it almost impossible for teams to defend us.”
– With the win last night Allen continues in a tie with three other teams with the most points (8) in the ECHL. Here are the four teams at the top of the league standings with eight points along with their records. Allen has played more games than the other three teams.
Fort Wayne: 4-0
– There are four teams in the ECHL that have yet to win a game; Brampton, Colorado, Evansville and Kalamazoo.
– Have had numerous questions about various players over the past few days so here is my attempt to answer your questions:
Tanner Eberle – Why were his rights traded to Quad City? When Tanner signed with Allen he knew he was going to rookie camp/training camp with the Minnesota/Iowa Wild. Eberle had an agreement with coach Martinson that if he was signed to an AHL contract by the Wild his rights would be traded to Quad City. It was not a case of Martinson doing a favor for Quad City, it was coach Martinson just living up to his agreement with Tanner Eberle.
Riley Gill – What is the status of Riley Gill? Riley did not accompany the team to Colorado and Utah because of a minor sickness/health issue. He is fine now and will be ready to go for practice this week and will be available for the next game on October 31st.
Garrett Clarke & Kyle Follmer – Why were they released? Coach Martinson is always looking at what he thinks is best for the team and sometimes it calls for some tough decisions. He has to consider the role he sees for players and the role the players see for themselves and sometimes these don’t match. Martinson made the decision to release both Kyle and Garrett and they were then eligible for waiver claims. Neither was claimed on waivers and as of yesterday neither had signed elsewhere. On a personal note they have both been very kind to me and I sure hope they catch on with another team ASAP.
DID YOU KNOW: Found this information courtesy of Elite Prospects which was interesting. It is the percentage of Canadian players in various hockey leagues:
49.3% – NHL
52.8% – AHL
51.7% – ECHL
29.2% – NCAA Division 1
7.7% – USHL