The boxscore shows the Allen Americans defeated the South Carolina Stingrays last night by a score of 3-2 on a goal by Vincent Arseneau at the 8:49 mark of the second overtime in front of a huge crowd of 7058 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
In what was a must win game for the Americans it looked like Allen might have an easy time when they scored twice in just 29 seconds early in the first period on goals by Dyson Stevenson (3) and Greger Hanson (11). Allen’s 2-0 lead was short lived however, as South Carolina got on the board when they had a full two minute five on three power play. The Americans actually killed off the penalty but the Stingrays scored just two seconds after the penalty expired on a rebound goal by outstanding rookie Derek DeBlois (11). South Carolina tied the score 2-2 at 11:49 of the second period on a goal by another rookie, Caleb Herbert (3).
Almost a full game (56:56) elapsed from that point in the second period when the Stingrays tied the score until Vincent Arseneau scored his fourth goal of the playoffs for the game winner at 8:49 of the second overtime.
The series is now tied 2-2 with game five on Tuesday at 7:05 (EDT).
In the game preview yesterday three keys to victory were discussed and Allen delivered on all three. Number one was to slow down the top line. The ECHL top two playoff scorers (Wayne Simpson & Andrew Rowe) had no points and just one shot on goal. The second key was to get off to a fast start and get the first goal of the game. The Americans not only got the first goal but scored the first two goals and had a 2-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old. During the playoffs Allen is now 9-1 when scoring first. The third key was to continue their great special teams play. Allen did not score on the power play (0-3) but held South Carolina scoreless on six power play attempts.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
– After losing two of three games in Allen it was important to play well in this game. Obviously, it is a pretty big win to get this first one on the road.
– I thought both goalies were really good tonight and came up with big saves when their team needed them.
– The shots on goal (46-37) are a bit deceiving because South Carolina had double the power play opportunities that we did. The box score shows three for us but we really only had two as one was very short.
– We are back in the series but still haven’t played our best hockey yet. There are several things we can do to improve.
– We were stopped on several point blank chances during the game and we need to do as better job finishing when we get those chances.
– Jamie Schaafsma mentioned when he was live tweeting on the ECHL Twitter account Saturday evening what a big accomplishment it is for both South Carolina and Allen to make it to the Kelly Cup Finals. When you have a 28 team league and must win three best of seven series just to make the finals it is quite a feat for both teams. Jamie certainly knows what he is talking about having reached the championship finals seven years in a row. This year will be the most playoff games he has ever played in a season.
– With the series tied 2-2 you would expect Allen and South Carolina to be close statistically. Check out these four game totals:
Goals: Allen 12 – South Carolina 12
Shots on Goal: Allen 122 – South Carolina 121
Penalty Minutes: Allen 50 – South Carolina 56
Penalty Infractions: Allen 21 – South Carolina 20
– It is an oversimplification to boil down wins and losses to merely holding the Stingrays top line (Simpson, Rowe, DeBlois) in check but the numbers are certainly interesting. Here are their combined point totals by game with the result:
Game 1 – 3 goals, 2 assists (South Carolina wins 4-3)
Game 2 – 0 goals, 1 assists (South Carolina loses 5-2)
Game 3 – 3 goals, 4 assists (South Carolina wins 4-1)
Game 4 – 1 goal, 0 assists (South Carolina loses 3-2)
– The three star selections always seem subjective and there are usually plenty of candidates to choose from but last night the great goalie play for both teams was mentioned by fans, coaches, players and broadcasters. Riley Gill saved 44 of 46 (.957 save percentage) shots on the night, made many spectacular saves and kept Allen in the game, especially in the first overtime when the Stingrays out shot the Americans 10-4. Riley should have been the #1 star of the game but to not even be one of the three stars is perplexing. C’MON MAN!
– Home ice is supposed to be an advantage but it sure hasn’t worked out that way thus far in the playoffs for the Stingrays. They have the best playoff record on the road at 10-3 but have struggled at home where their record is now 4-7. Four of the seven home losses have come in overtime.
– Greger Hanson certainly wasn’t bothered by wearing a cage last night after losing a couple of teeth in game three. Greger had a goal and was named the #2 star of the game. Remided me of the 2012-2013 season when Brian McMillin had a similar type of injury and wore a cage for most of the playoffs and went on a scoring spree that earned him the playoff MVP award. Could happen again.
– Have read many comments about the incident that caused the injury to Greger Hanson. From what I understand the referees acknowledged that it should have been a double minor but neither referee saw what happened. The back referee was behind the play but didn’t have an angle to see the incident. You could argue that they should have put two and two together and what was troubling is they didn’t even confer to ascertain what happened. Everyone (both teams) agreed there was no intent to injure on the play.
DID YOU KNOW: As if they don’t have enough to think about in the midst of the Kelly Cup Finals, coaches Steve Martinson and Spencer Carbery must submit their season-ending rosters by 3:00 pm EDT a week from today (6/15). Season-ending rosters may include up to 20 players and cannot include any player who did not sign an ECHL contract in 2014-2015. However, because AHL contracted players are excluded this exercise should not be a difficult one for either of these teams.