In what was mostly a playoff style hockey game which included 3,748 screaming Rapid City Rush fans, low shot totals, a low scoring game, low penalty minutes and a margin of victory of one goal the Allen Americans lost last night to the Rapid City Rush 3-2.

Allen was the winner on Tuesday (2-1) and game two of the three game series was another hard hitting affair. As they did on Tuesday Allen scored the first goal of the game but last night it was early in the first period (2:18) when Kyle Follmer took a pass from Garrett Clarke and scored his ninth goal of the season. Rapid City did not let Allen get any momentum from scoring the first goal as on the very next shift, just 14 seconds later, Winston Day Chief tied the score 1-1.

Allen would take a 2-1 lead before the first period was over when Greger Hanson scored goal number 21 on the power play. Rapid City got the only goal of the second period to make the score 2-2 and it appeared the game was headed to overtime when an Allen turnover at the Rush blue line led to the game winning goal, scored by Winston Day Chief, with just 22 seconds left in the game.

You hear it all the time but it is true that the best thing about a disappointing loss like the one last night is less than 24 hours later the Americans have the chance to do something about it and redeem themselves. Puck drop for the rubber match tonight is 8:05 p.m. CDT.STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

– Obviously it was a frustrating loss tonight. Sometimes this team just tries to do too much and that is what cost us this game.

– On the Rapid City power play goal which tied the score 2-2 early in the second period we were not in the right positions but that can be attributed to the fact we have some different guys killing penalties now.

– You just hate to give up easy scoring chances and that is what we did on the first Rapid City goal. That goal could have been much better defended. On that goal we looked like a bunch of offensive minded rookies having to defend but struggling on how to do it right.

– On the Rapid City winning goal at the end of the game we just went brain dead. We went for broke when we did not need to gamble. We did a power play breakout on the regroup with both defensemen jumping up like we were down a goal. To make matters worse we had a soft turnover at the Rush blue line by players that need to be smarter and harder to play against. There are no excuses.

– The theme for the third period was “don’t gamble” as winning in overtime is two points. It didn’t matter how we got the two points. It is hard to believe the way we lost the game tonight.

OTHER COMMENTS:

–  With the loss Allen is now tied with Idaho for the most points in the ECHL with 85. Allen has three games in hand over the Steelheads. With a win tonight, the Americans will become the first ECHL team to clinch a berth in the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

– Greger Hanson kept his road scoring streak alive with his power play goal. Hanson has now scored a point in eleven straight road games.

– Chad Costello’s road goal scoring streaked ended last night but he assisted on the Hanson goal. Chad has at least one point in his last ten games. Chad is the master of scoring streaks given his 97 points leads the ECHL by 29 points. Here is a list of the longest streaks in the ECHL this season that are owned by Chad:
Assists – 16 games
Points – 17 games
Home assists – 13 games
Home points – 21 games
Road goals – 7 games

–  The Allen penalty kill is still one of the best in the ECHL ranked #3 at 87.2%. However in the last ten games the penalty kill has given up twelve power play goals and is killing penalties at just 80% which would put them close to the bottom of the ECHL penalty kill stats.

– The referee for the first two Rapid City games, Stephen Reneau, has pretty much let the teams play and not called a lot of penalties. The combined average for Allen and Rapid City is 40 minutes per game. On Tuesday each team had just eight penalty minutes and last night Rapid City had six penalty minutes and Allen eight penalty minutes during the game. Garrett Clarke got a 10 minute penalty after the game was over. Even if you include Clarke’s ten minute penalty the total for the two games was just 40 minutes. Incidentally, Stephen Reneau is the scheduled referee for the game tonight.

– South Carolina beat Gwinnett on the road last night by a score of 4-0. With the victory South Carolina tied the all time ECHL record with their 17th consecutive win and set a new league record with their 11th straight road win. To give you some idea of how far back South Carolina was when they started the seventeen game win streak they are still in third place in the East Division (four points out of second and seven out of first place).

– Jack Combs had a goal last night for Stockton as they lost again. Stockton is 1-7 since Jack joined the team. Jack has five goals and four assists in the eight games. For those that keep asking about the possibility of Jack returning to Allen, yes it is still possible. Stay tuned next week.

– Saw on social media several comments about how the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center erupted last night after Winston Day Chief scored the winning goal with 22 seconds remaining in the game. One fan commented it was the loudest they had heard the arena since another last minute Allen defeat when the Rush won the Presidents’ Cup in double overtime back in 2010. Rapid City has been playing great hockey for a long time as they have come from last place in the standings to a realistic chance at finishing in second place in the division. It would nice to see fans come out to support the team. Rapid City has had by far the biggest decrease in attendance this year of any team in the Central Division. The Rush are averaging over 650 fewer fans per game than last year.- The ECHL Week video has been posted all over the place but wanted to include it in the blog today just in case you have not seen it. It is a 30 minute video that covers several topics but if you don’t have the time or interest to watch it all, make sure to fast forward to the 26:00 minute mark to see the story about the Allen Americans which includes interviews with Costello, Schaafsma and Tyler Ludwig.

DID YOU KNOW: Talk about being consistent Chad Costello has the longest home scoring streak in the ECHL this year. He scored at least one point in 21 straight home games. He had 43 points in those 21 games. Chad had a point in every home game from November 16 to February 14. Costello has at least one point in twenty five of the Americans twenty eight home games.

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