ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans scored first and had the lead at the first intermission but another bad second period, when they were outscored 3-0, led to their doom last night as the Tulsa Oilers beat the Americans 5-3. Allen never got closer than two goals after the second period and the Oilers sent a big crowd of 9360 home happy.
– The second period has been the Achilles heel for the Americans many times this season. Their goal differential in the first period is +14 and in the third period is +4 but the goal differential in the second period is -6.
– In the game preview yesterday the question was who would win between a real bad Tulsa power play at home against Allen’s real bad road power play. Here is what the game preview said. If you look at the special team’s stats Tulsa struggles at home with a power play percentage of only 9.4% which is ranked #26 in the league. But they will be going up against the worst road power play in the league in Allen’s 75.7%. The answer to the question of which team would prevail turned out to be Tulsa. The Oilers were 2-5 on the power play and in one game improved their home power play percentage to 12.1% and are now ranked #23. Allen on the other hand, giving up two power play goals, tightened their grip on the worst road penalty kill in the league which is now at 74.7%.
Goal scorers for Allen were Marcus Basara (3), Gary Steffes (1) and Eric Roy (9). Here are the video highlights with most of the goals and a penalty shot save by Jeremy Brodeur. Lots of examples of turnovers leading directly to goals.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans which includes an acknowledgment of Mathieu Aubin‘s 500th career point as a professional. According to the website, eliteprospects.com Aubin has 485 ECHL points to his credit along with 27 AHL points for a career total of 512. Whatever the number it says a lot about Aubin’s long and productive pro career. https://allenamericans.com/tulsas-big-second-period-leads-5-3-win-americans
– David Makowski was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for interference toward the end of the second period. The rule (56.4) states, “The referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence, to a player guilty of interfering with an opponent.” By rule (56.5) if a major penalty is given and the player is injured a game misconduct is also given. When I contacted coach Martinson after the game I asked about this penalty and whether he thought further discipline would be forthcoming for Makowski. His response was, “I thought it was a two minute penalty and the Tulsa player never missed a shift.”
– When I asked coach Martinson about the team’s performance he said, “We had way too many turnovers, we didn’t have an effective backcheck and we were soft on the penalty kill. It is pretty hard to win that way unless your goalie stands on his head and saves the day.”
ALLEN VS TULSA REMATCH PREVIEW
– The easiest way for Allen to come away with a win tonight is to correct the issues mentioned by coach Martinson in his post game comments. Fewer turnovers, a better backcheck and an improved penalty kill will do the trick.
– I guess I need to quit talking about how important it is to score the first goal of the game even though from the start of last season until the series at the end of December against Wichita the Americans record when scoring first was 52-2-3-1. Allen has now lost three of their last four games (all in regulation time) when they scored first. When scoring first Allen has lost more games in regulation in the last four games than they did in the previous 58 games. With that said scoring first tonight is important.
– Special teams will be key in the game tonight. Wichita has only scored seven power play goals at home all season but four of them have come in the last two games. Three of the four power play goals including both last night were scored by Tulsa’s ECHL All-Star, Conner Bleackley, who recently returned from a month in the AHL. The Tulsa power play is a lot better than the stats suggest with Bleackley in the lineup.
– Allen had two power play goals last night and also had two the last time they played Tulsa (December 23). The total is 4-13 or 30.8%. If they can equal that performance tonight they will have a good chance of coming away with a split in Tulsa.
– Allen gave up 41 shots last night but they had 37 of their own. If they can keep the shots close tonight it is a big advantage to the Americans because Allen has one of the better shooting percentages in the league (10.6%) while Tulsa has one of the worst (7.6%).
– Allen and Tulsa have now played nine times this season with Tulsa winning five of the nine games. In the nine games, the teams have combined for seven goals five times and eight goals twice. Based on history the winning team tonight will have to score four or five goals.
– There will be an entirely new officiating crew working the game tonight. The referee scheduled is Jeff Parker (#5) and the linesmen are Trent Williams and Jake Jackson.
– In AHL action last night Vincent Areseneau was in the lineup for Utica as they lost to Syracuse 3-1. Arseneau had no points, two penalty minutes and was -1. The San Jose Barracuda lost at home to Rockford 4-2. Neither Spencer Asuchak (injured) or Colby McAuley was in the lineup. With the loss, San Jose slipped to seventh place in the eight team Pacific Division. Four teams make the playoffs.
– In ECHL Mountain Division action last night Colorado won while Wichita and Idaho lost so the Americans didn’t lose any ground to the teams vying for second place. Finishing in the top two in the division is important because the top two teams have home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. With their win, last night Colorado has opened up an 11 point lead over Wichita and Idaho who are tied for second with 47 points followed by Allen in fourth place with 43 points.
– A reminder I have four FREE loge tickets (second level) for the MLK game on Monday (January 15) at 1:05 pm against Tulsa. I will have a drawing for the tickets tonight, notify the winner and leave the tickets at will call. If you are interested let me know by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). All I need is your name and whether you are interested in two or four tickets. The tickets are at the end of the rink where the Zamboni enters the ice. Good luck!
– Have to admit there doesn’t seem to be much excitement about the ECHL All-Star game. Some of the lack of excitement stems from the fact Allen and Tulsa will be playing at the same time as the All-Star game. I think many Allen and Tulsa fans are more concerned about playing the game on Monday without two of their best players who will be in Indy for the All-Star game, David Makowski for Allen and Connor Bleackley for Tulsa.
DID YOU KNOW: Gary Steffes had a goal last night and now has three points (1 goal 2 assists) in four games since coming out of retirement and still has two games to play before heading back to Minnesota and his job with FCA. With his two assists, Gary has cracked the top 10 on the Allen all time list for assists. Here are the categories Gary ranks in the top 10 all-time for the Americans for the regular season and playoffs:
4th – Goals (88)
6th – Games Played (204)
6th – Plus/Minus (+42)
7th – Points (168)
9th – Assists (80)
2nd – Goals (29)
6th – Points (42)
6th – Games Played (58)
8th – Plus/Minus (+14)