ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans put themselves in the most precarious position in playoff hockey by losing to the Colorado Eagles 4-2 last night before an enthusiastic crowd of 4534 at the Budweiser Events Center. The Americans are now down 3-0 in the series and must hold on to the slim hope they can become part of the one percent club. To be precise it is the 1.49% club which represents, based on historical data across all major league sports, the odds of Allen winning this series.

There are some pretty startling facts that put Allen in the position of needing a win tonight or go home. Here are some examples:

– The loss last night was the fifth straight against Colorado (2 regular, 3 playoffs) this season.

– For the third straight game, Allen had early opportunities to score but did not capitalize. Last night the Americans had a power play 20 seconds into the game and again two minutes into the game.

– After squandering early scoring chances Allen gave up the first goal for the third straight game which has been proven decisive in every game in this series. I am sure you are tired of seeing this stat but Colorado and Allen have a combined record of 82-4-2-2 this season when scoring first and in the playoff are now 9-0 when scoring first.

– Allen has not had an answer for Colorado forward Alex Belzile who has eight points (5 goals 3 assists) in the three games in this series. Belzile had two goals last night but could have had five with the great scoring chances he created. Even though he has played two or three fewer games than any other player in the top ten in the ECHL playoff scoring race Belzile leads the league in goals (10) and points (17).

– Allen has struggled to score goals in this series with a grand total of five for a per game average of 1.67 while allowing 13 goals for a per game average of 4.33.

– Allen’s only goals last night came on the power play which is good news since they were 1-10 going into the game. The Americans are now 3-16 (18.8%) on the power play. However, Allen was held scoreless even strength for the second time in the series. The Americans have just two even-strength goals in the three games.

– Allen has never had a lead in this series. Last night was the first time they have been tied and they came back twice to tie the game but could never grab the lead.

When you string all those facts together you can see why Allen lost last night and is holding on by a thread in this series. It will be a gut check for the team tonight to try and avoid elimination. The same historical data that shows little chance of winning the series says the odds of Allen winning tonight is around 40%.

– The goal scorers for Allen last night were David Makowski who scored his second of the playoffs and Chad Costello who scored his first. You can check out all of the goals in the video highlights posted above.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS

– I think we can turn the tables but not the way we are playing. Hockey is a game of mistakes but we keep repeating the same mistakes.

– In each game of this series, we have had full possession of the puck and made unforced turnovers near our net which have resulted in goals.

– We have negative plus/minus players because they are not defending hard enough most notably on odd man rushes.

– On Colorado’s second goal our defenseman jumps in on a low probability play and all three forwards come in while the Eagles have full possession of the puck. Our third forward skates right by his man into the offensive zone. Colorado makes one simple pass for a two on one which becomes a four on three with their best player getting the puck. If that started out as a two on two you can kill the play before they get help.

– Our penalty kill handed them a great scoring chance which they buried.

– It is pretty simple. If we want to beat them we have to play harder than we have.

GAME PREVIEW

– It is down to win or go home for the Allen Americans tonight. One thing you learn about a team that has won four straight championships is they don’t quit just because the odds are stacked against them. Expect a great effort tonight.

– It is imperative Allen gets off to a good start tonight. They must capitalize early by scoring the first goal of the game.

– The Americans were 2-6 on the power play last night. They will need a repeat performance of that success tonight in order to win. They will also have to score even strength if they expect to win. Colorado has scored four or more goals in their last six playoff games. If the Americans can’t hold the Eagles down defensively they need to score a lot more goals tonight. Based on past performance the winning team will have four or five goals.

– Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referees Andy Howard (#2) and Andrew Wilk (#24) and linesmen Erik Contino (#89) and Chris Wilson (#88). Howard and Wilk were the referees last night.

OTHER COMMENTS

– It looks like a Colorado vs Toledo matchup for the Western Conference championship unless something really unusual happens. Both teams are up 3-0 with the odds of a comeback by Allen or Fort Wayne highly unlikely based on past history. Not impossible but somewhere between slim and none.

– In the Eastern Conference, Brampton won in Manchester last night 2-1 to avoid elimination. Brampton trails in the series 3-2 but will have the final two games at home. In the South Division, #1 seed Florida lost in South Carolina 4-2 last night. Florida trails in the series 3-1 with game five tonight in South Carolina. The Everblades came from behind in round one of the playoffs after being down to Orlando 3-1. Can they do it again?

– The odds are very long that Allen or Fort Wayne can comeback from a 3-0 deficit but they are not impossible. The historical record across all major league sports when a team has a 3-0 lead is 335-5. The breakdown by sport is 35-1 in MLB, 121-0 in the NBA and 179-4 in the NHL. Here are the five teams that beat the odds.

1942 Stanley Cup Final – Toronto came back to beat Detroit
1975 NHL Quarterfinals – New York Islanders came back to beat Pittsburgh
2004 Major League Baseball (ALCS) – Boston came back to beat the Yankees
2010 NHL Conference Semifinals – Philadelphia came back to beat Boston
2014 NHL Conference Quarterfinals – Los Angeles Kings came back to beat San Jose

– The road trip diary team is missing in action so no report today. Don’t blame them if they went out drinking after the loss last night rather than filing a report. Maybe we will hear from them tomorrow about their experiences in Colorado.

DID YOU KNOW: The last time the Allen Americans lost a playoff series was April 10, 2012. It was a different coach (Dwight Mullins), different team (not one player remains from that team) and a different league (Central Hockey League). Allen lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Texas Brahmas 4-2. Allen won game one of the series 5-0 and then proceeded to lose four of the next five games.

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