ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans beat the Utah Grizzlies 4-2 last night to take a 2-1 series lead and reclaim home ice advantage. Allen tallied the only goal of the first period, relinquished the lead allowing two Utah goals in the second period and won the game with three unanswered goals in the third period.
– It was a penalty filled game with a total of 15 power play opportunities. Utah’s Tim Daly was given a game misconduct for spearing and in a separate incident, Allen’s Bryan Moore was given a match penalty for high sticking. Neither of these penalties come with automatic suspensions but both come with the ominous phrase, “supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion” so it remains to be seen if additional discipline will be forthcoming.
– Allen won the special teams battle as they went 2-7 on the power play while holding the Grizzlies to 1-8. The Americans also scored an empty net shorthanded goal with six seconds remaining in the game.
– Allen delivered on two keys to the game. They scored first and that has been magic this season as the Americans have won over 90% of the games when they score first. In this series, the team that has scored first has won all three games. The other key to the game was winning the special teams battle which Allen accomplished. Just like scoring first, the team with the most power play goals has won each of the first three games.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Bryan Moore (2), Zach Hall (1), Greger Hanson (1) and Spencer Asuchak (1). You can see all of the goals, many great saves by both goalies, some big checks and a couple of the penalties including the high sticking match penalty on Bryan Moore. You can watch the highlights above.
– I had a chance to touch base with coach Steve Martinson after the game and get his take on the win. Here is what he had to say:
“It was a tough night for special teams. We need to do a better job to zero in on our scoring chances. I can’t remember a team that flails and falls as much as Utah. While they are falling they still manage to look at the referee to see if he is buying their dives. It is not playoff hockey. Playoff hockey is supposed to be a battle of physicality, skill, and will.”
– The teams have the day off today before the series resumes tomorrow (Friday) with a 8:05 pm puck drop Allen time. Game five is also in Utah on Saturday night.
– In other playoff action last night Kalamazoo beat Toledo 8-5 to tie the series 1-1, Fort Wayne beat Quad City 4-3 in overtime to take a commanding 3-0 series lead and Colorado won in Idaho 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in that series.
– There are three ECHL playoff games tonight. Manchester is at AAdirondack(Manchester leads the series 2-1), Florida is at Orlando (Orlando leads the series 2-0) and Reading is at Brampton (Brampton leads the series 2-1).
– Steve Martinson talks frequently about the affiliation he has with the San Jose Sharks and Barracuda and says it is the best affiliation he has ever had. Affiliations can be good or bad and it is clear Allen’s is one that benefits all three teams. It means you look after the interest of each other, not just yourself. It is easier to say than to do. Here is a story about the affiliation titled, “Sharks Organization Finding Success at All Levels” that describes what the relationship means up and down the line. http://www.sjbarracuda.com/news/detail/sharks-organization-finding-success-at-all-levels
DID YOU KNOW: Past isn’t prologue but game four has been critical to Allen in their four straight championships. Playing almost all game fours on the road over the last four years Allen has a record of 10-4.