The Allen Americans played the Colorado Eagles last night and for the first 45 minutes of the game it had an all to familiar ring with good goaltending from Joel Rumpel (allowed just one goal in first two periods), very little offense (no goals and just 11 shots in the first two periods), and a struggling power play (0-4). But everything changed at the 5:20 mark of the third period when Casey Pierro-Zabotel stole the puck and scored his first goal as an Allen American, a short handed goal that swung the momentum toward Allen. Tristan King scored just 2:35 later to give Allen the 2-1 lead and Danny Federico assured the win with an empty net goal at 19:20 that went the length of the ice.
– It was an important win for the Americans who had lost two of their first three games. Now sitting at .500, they headed to Salt Lake City (469 miles) overnight where they will play the Utah Grizzlies on Friday & Saturday. Friday night will be the home opener for the Grizzlies as they started the season on the road. They are 2-0 having beaten the Colorado Eagles twice last weekend.
– Touched base with coach Steve Martinson after the game who had this to say, “We got greasier in the third period. In the first two periods we didn’t have enough net drive or net presence. In the third period we started to skate and drive the net and that was the difference in the game.”
– Chad Costello was held scoreless again last night which was the third time in the first four games. Chad mentioned in a pregame interview with Tommy Daniels that he has been a slow starter in the past but he has to pick it up. Last season Chad only had four scoreless games on February 9th, 43 games into the season.
– Dyson Stevenson took issue with a hit Darryl Bootland put on Justin Baker that sent him sprawling into the net in the first period. Dyson held his own against the veteran pugilist with close to 250 fighting majors despite giving up a couple of inches and 15 pounds to Bootland.
– The power play woes continued for Allen in Colorado as the Americans were 0-4 to bring the season total to 1-18 (5.6%). Of the teams with at least 10 power play opportunities only Tulsa (0-11) has a lower percentage than Allen. The good news is the penalty kill has been good giving up only one goal (17 chances) and leads the ECHL of all the teams with at least 10 penalty kill chances. The Americans penalty kill percentage is at 94.1%.
– Allen is a team known for big offensive production as they led the ECHL in average goals scored (4.06) and was fifth in average shots per game (32.83) last season. It is obviously still early in the season but thus far they are 18th in goals scored (2.25) and 20th in average shots taken (27.25).
– The attendance last night in Colorado was 4037 which is significant because the Eagles have played in front of sold out crowds for years. The regular season sellout streak ended on Saturday when the Eagles drew 4462. The capacity of the arena is 5289. According to a Colorado fan (thanks Roger) who shared the info with me the streak was about 400 games long.
DID YOU KNOW: Everyone talks about Darryl Bootland playing his old team (Allen) where he won two championships. However, there is not a single player left on the team from the 2012-2013 championship team and Greger Hanson is the only player remaining from the 2013-2014 championship team.