The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff Coverage is presented by Kalwei Law Firm
For the second game in a row the Allen Americans scored four goals in the third period to beat the Rapid City Rush. A hearty crowd of 3345 braved a spring snow storm last night to witness a 7-4 loss by Rapid City to put the Rush at the brink of elimination in the series. Allen has a 3-1 series lead and a chance to wrap up the series in game five tonight. Puck drop at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is 6:05 p.m. (CDT). The snow is still falling with six inches on the ground and another 4-6 inches predicted before game time.
The game last night followed a familiar pattern with Allen starting slow and giving up the first goal of the game. The Americans have given up the first goal of the game in six of the nine playoff games they have played this year. Allen has been able to overcome the slow starts and last night was no exception as the Americans scored three goals in the second period and four goals in the third period to win the game going away. The goal scorers for Allen were Chris Crane (2), Ian Schultz (5), Greger Hanson (5,6), Gary Steffes (6), Rylan Schwartz (1) and Spencer Asuchak (7).
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– It was great to get the win tonight and take a 3-1 series lead with a chance to win the series tomorrow (Sunday).
– Despite the 7-4 win we can and need to play better defensively tomorrow even though a wide open game like tonight favors us.
– Our power play has struggled here in Rapid City (0-6) but we haven’t had a lot of opportunities. It was a bit frustrating when we didn’t score when we had a long 5 on 3 opportunity in the first period.
– It was also frustrating when we gave up two goals on turnovers after we took a 3-2 lead but then are offense took over.
– With so many skill players we have lots of ways to score. Steffes went top shelf, Schwartz scored on a rebound, Hanson had a tip in, and then Asuchak’s shorthanded highlight reel goal. Schultz’s goal came after some slick passing. Our depth helps us when we play on the road as all three lines are scoring threats.
– Riley Gill played well. On one of their goals we had an unforced turnover which gave them a two on one and the rebound went off a skate and in. Gill was screened on the last two Rapid City goals.
Allen has dominated this series in all four games (despite losing game one in Allen) with the best offense in the league. Allen is ranked #1 in goals scored per game at 4.33 while Rapid City is last (#16) in the playoffs averaging just 2.09 goals per game.
Here are the totals for the four games in the series with the Rush.
Goals: Allen (21) – Rapid City (10)
Shots: Allen (162) – Rapid City (91)
Power Play: Allen (6-19 or 31.6%) – Rapid City (2-17 or 11.8%)
Allen is known as a second period team based on the fact that in the regular season they had 23 more goals in the second period than any other team in the league. The Americans outscored their opponents by 123-68 in the second period. In the series with Rapid City, however, Allen has become a third period team.
Here are goals scored by period in the series with Rapid City.
1st Period: Allen (3) – Rapid City (3)
2nd Period: Allen (6) – Rapid City (4)
3rd Period: Allen (12) – Rapid City (3)
Spencer Asuchak had a shorthanded goal and an assist last night and is now tied for the ECHL playoff scoring lead with fifteen points (7 goals 8 assists). He was the #2 star of the game and has a point in eight of nine playoff games and a goal in all four games against Rapid City. Spencer is a dangerous penalty killer as he has eight shorthanded goals since joining the Allen Americans last season.
Greger Hanson had four points (2 goals 2 assists) last night and was named the #1 star of the game. Greger is the leading scorer in the Rapid City series with nine points (4 goals 5 assists) in four games.
Kale Kerbashian was back in the line up for the Rush for the first time since sustaining an injury in the Quad City series. Kale made his presence felt assisting on the first three Rapid City goals.
With Allen going 0-3 on the power play last night the odd stat continues. The Americans have the best power play percentage in the playoffs at home (32.3%) and the worst power play percentage in the playoffs on the road (0.0%). The Americans are 10-31 at home and 0-13 on the road.
The referee scheduled for tonight is Pierre Lambert (#20) who also was the referee in the first game in Rapid City on Thursday. He called just five penalties (two on Allen, three on Rapid City) in that game so you can expect him to let the guys play unless things get out of hand. The linesmen have been the same for all three games (Erik Contino & Tyler Landman).
– The Ontario Reign beat Utah last night 4-0 and won the Pacific Division title taking the series 4-1. They now advance to the Western Conference Final and await the winner of the Allen vs Rapid City series.
– In the North Division, Toledo beat Fort Wayne last night 3-2 at home and now lead the series 3-2. This is the series where the home team has won every game. They play game six tonight in Fort Wayne.
– The East Division is idle today with South Carolina leading Florida 3-2. They will play Monday and Tuesday (if necessary) in Florida.
DID YOU KNOW: Another good luck day for the Allen Americans as it was one year ago today (May 10, 2014) when Allen beat Denver 5-2 to win the Presidents’ Cup for the second straight year.