I am not sure where the blog post is headed this morning because there are so many thoughts and emotions going through my head. Maybe more opinion than facts than normal but I am an expert at my own opinion. Let’s get started.

– Allen lost game seven last night in Boise by a score of 4-1. Only 3,060 were in attendance to watch the conclusion of a historic comeback by the Idaho Steelheads. It was the second smallest crowd of the entire season for Idaho.

– The game last night was much closer than the final score. Idaho scored the only goal of the first period and second period. Allen scored their only goal of the game early in the third period (6:20) to cut the score to 2-1 but could not get the equalizer. The Steelheads scored two empty net goals in the last 32 seconds of play to make the final score 4-1.

– If you exclude the two empty net goals last night, three of the four Allen losses to Idaho in this series was by the score of 2-1. You can’t expect to win scoring one goal per game.

– Several Allen fans, who love the Americans, sent me messages after the game that had the sentiment of epic fail, huge collapse, and unbelievable poor finish. There is little doubt that losing a seven game series after taking a 3-0 lead is historic. It has happened only one other time in the 30 year history of the ECHL (2010 Cincinnati Cyclones). Across all major league sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) it is even a more rare occurrence. The historical combined series record for teams that take a 3-0 lead across these major league sports is 346-5. Just a week ago when Allen was up 3-0 and about to play game four at home the odds of the Americans winning the series (based on historical major league data) was 98.6% and if you just looked at historical NHL data it was 97.9%. Idaho turned a 2% chance of winning into a series victory. I would say that qualifies as an epic win for the Steelheads and epic failure for the Americans.

– How would everyone feel if this series had gone seven games and had the same outcome but Allen had won games two, four and five instead of one, two and three? My guess is there would be a very different feeling today.

– I am reminded this morning of something Steve Martinson has said to me many times over the years. The best team doesn’t always win five game series but the best team does win seven game series. Rather than focusing on the four losses just maybe Allen did a great job winning the first three games.

– Before this series started I compared these teams based on the regular season stats and it was pretty clear Utah was a much better team statistically. Here is the data which shows Idaho better than Allen in 11 of the 13 stats. I have added a number in parentheses which is the average for the seven games in the playoffs.

Idaho Allen
Goals Scored
(Average Per Game)
3.39
(3.29)
3.26
(2.71)
Goals Allowed
(Goals Scored Minus Goals Allowed)
2.61
(2.71)
3.22
(3.29)
Goal Differential
(Goals Scored Minus Goals Allowed)
+56
(+4)
+3
(-4)
Shots For
(Average Per Game)
36.11
(35.86)
30.74
(31.57)
Shots Against
(Average Per Game)
28.36
(31.57)
36.25
(35.86)
Shooting Percentage
(Goals as a Percent of Total Shots)
10.5%
(8.6%)
9.1%
(9.2%)
Power Play Percentage 17.5%
(18.8%)
17.1%
(8.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage 84.2%
(91.7%)
81.6%
(81.3%)
Power Play Goals Scored 57
(6)
51
(2)
Plus/Minus +229
(-1)
+38
(-1)
Goals Against Average (GAA) 2.53 (2.71) 3.16 (3.29)
Save Percentage .909 (.914) .912 (9.08)
Record Last 10 Games 9-0-1-0
(4-3 in Last Seven Games)
4-4-2-0
(3-4 in Last Seven Games)

– If you look at all of these stats my conclusion is Idaho was the better team in the regular season and that carried over to the playoffs. The one category that stands out is special teams where Idaho overperformed their regular season numbers in the playoffs and Allen underperformed. It is hard to overcome an 8.3% power play percentage which is what Allen had in the playoffs. The Americans had just two power play goals and one of them was five-on-three.

– If you are interested in the details of the game last night which I skipped over above here is a game recap and the video highlights courtesy of the Idaho Steelheads. Have to admit it is painful to watch:

Game recap: http://www.idahosteelheads.com/events/allen-americans-vs-idaho-steelheads-13/#gametab-2

– It is ironic that Allen played Idaho 17 times this season (10 regular season and 7 playoffs) and outshot the Steelheads just two times, The first game of the season (November 10) and the final game of the season last night. Over the 17 games, Allen was outshot 641-471.

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– I know every team has a coulda, woulda, shoulda sob story but what a difference it would have made had Allen had Riley Gill, Olivier Archambault, Vincent Arseneau, Colby McAuley and Jonathan Lessard coming down the stretch and into the playoffs. To me, the most frustrating loss for the playoffs was Vincent Arseneau who is on loan to Utica (AHL) but has sat in the stands the last two games as a healthy scratch. Coach Martinson is always willing to loan players to AHL teams to help their careers but usually has an understanding they will be returned to Allen if they are not playing. Would assume Martinson is not very happy with Utica.

– My opinion going into the playoffs was the #1 seed Colorado and #2 seed Idaho were clearly the best two teams in the Mountain Division and would meet in the Division finals. The statistical matrix I use to assess the playoff teams actually rated Idaho ahead of Colorado but it was very close. Idaho is going into the series against Colorado with a lot of momentum. The division final should be a hard fought series that could very easily go seven games. With no dog in the fight, it will be an enjoyable series to watch. The division Allen has been in has won the last three Kelly Cups and that is one streak I want to see continued.

– I have had the pleasure of working with fellow Team Sin Bin writer C.C. Hawkley, aka @SinBinSteelheads, during this series and want to thank him for all of his work to make this series enjoyable for fans in Boise and Allen. He is a class act and a lot of fun to collaborate with. I wish C.C. and the Steelheads the best and look forward to his coverage as the playoffs resume in Colorado this weekend.

– It is never easy to lose in the playoffs and it is even more disappointing this season losing in the first round the way the Americans lost. There is no doubt Allen fans, as well as the coach and players, have high expectations. I see so many teams congratulating themselves for making the playoffs and losing in the first round. Not the case in Allen as everyone sees this season as a failure. The goal in Allen is never to just make it to the playoffs. With that said the body of work by the Allen Americans since Steve Martinson arrived six years ago is unprecedented. Four championships, a second round loss and a first round loss and a playoff series record of 15-2.

– The season ended abruptly and with great disappointment after Allen went up on Idaho 3-0. I will have my usual thank you post tomorrow but this will be the last daily post of the season. It has been 225 straight days of blogs posts so a break will be nice. I will still keep everyone up to date on an as needed basis but it will be much more sporadic until September rolls around. I will say this again tomorrow but thanks for all of the support and encouragement as it keeps me going throughout the season.

– Sometime in the next week or so I will interview coach Martinson and go in depth with him about the season, the playoffs and his plans for next season. I did ask him to give me a quote for today now that the season is over. Here is what he said, “It is a painful ending. Idaho added some AHL players from their affiliate which gave them a strong push and we didn’t have the ability to close out the series. We struggled the second half of the season and some guys didn’t have much left when we needed it.”

DID YOU KNOW: Since starting the Allen Americans Blog on October 8, 2012, there have been 1,505 blog posts and the total number of unique page views just passed the 1,310,000 mark.

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