ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans lost to the Alaska Aces last night in a shootout by a score of 2-1 before a disappointed crowd of 5304 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). Allen has been the best team in the league at winning games when they score first but for the second straight game scoring first has led to defeat.

Allen got on the scoreboard first at the 6:27 mark of the first period when Vincent Arseneau delivered a check in the corner and then headed for the net. Chad Costello fed him a perfect pass and Arseneau pocketed his 10th goal of the season. Alaska would even the score 1-1 two minutes later and that was the end of the scoring for the rest of the game until the Aces won in the fourth round of the shootout.

Allen was outplayed in the first period despite the even score. The Aces had a 14-7 edge in shots. The second period was scoreless but Alaska again had the better of the play and ended up out shooting the Americans 14-6 for a two period total of 28-13. Allen came on strong in the third period out shooting Alaska 14-10 but could not get the go ahead goal.

Allen dominated the overtime period out shooting the Aces 8-3 and had many excellent scoring opportunities including what appeared to be the game winner as time expired. The officials ruled the puck had not crossed the goal line before time expired and it was off to a shootout for the fifth time this season.

For being the second best team in the Western conference (by points) Allen has not fared well when games go beyond regulation time. The Americans are 3-3 in overtimes and 2-3 in shootouts. Last night in the shootout Allen missed all four of their attempts (Steffes, King, Costello & Pierro-Zabotel) before Alaska’s Ben Lake was able to get the puck past Jamie Murray for the game winner.

It was a tough loss for Murray who has been outstanding in his three appearances since joining the  Americans. His GAA is 1.26 and save percentage is .968. Look for Murray to be in goal again today in Tulsa and then he heads back to school (Babson College) to finish his education.

The team will leave at 1 this afternoon for Tulsa to take on the Oilers, who beat the Missouri Mavericks last night by a score of 3-2. The game was played in Tulsa.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

– We didn’t look very good in the shootout. I thought their goalie was really good in the third period. We had the better scoring chances in the third period and great chances in the overtime. We didn’t do much in the first two periods.

– Chris Crane had season ending surgery today so that is a kicker for us.

– I have said this many times at this time of year. How you play now is how I assume you will play in the playoffs. I don’t believe in the the theory of we will pick it up come playoff time. I make my playoff decisions based on how players are doing now.

– With all of the guys out of the lineup it provides an opportunity for other players to show what they can do and prove they belong on the playoff roster.

– The plans are to have Murray play in Tulsa on Saturday and then fly back to school on Sunday. He has school on Monday morning and there is snow in the forecast. We might be getting Rumpel back by Sunday.

– A couple of guys got dinged up (Roy & Traccitto) but they should be okay for tomorrow.

GAME PHOTOS:

Reid Halabi and Patrick Wellar square off. Photo Courtesy: Lauren Lyssy
Reid Halabi and Patrick Wellar square off. Photo Courtesy: Lauren Lyssy
Allen mounts a charge at Aces goaltender Jacob DeSerres. Photo: Kimberly Sauer/The Sin Bin
Allen mounts a charge at Aces goaltender Jacob DeSerres. Photo: Kimberly Sauer/The Sin Bin
Alaska scores the shootout-winning goal. Photo: Kimberly Sauer/The Sin Bin
Alaska scores the shootout-winning goal. Photo: Kimberly Sauer/The Sin Bin

OTHER COMMENTS:

– Allen was 0-4 in the shootout last night. In their five shootout games this season they are now 5-25 (20.0%). They rank #26 in the ECHL in shootout percentage.

– Chad Costello assisted on the only Allen goal last night to extend his streak to 10 games going back to February 26. On the season, Chad now has 88 points (22 goals 66 assists) and leads the ECHL in scoring by 21 points.

– The battle for the fourth seed in the Western Conference tightened a bit last night with Allen getting one point and Cincinnati getting two points.

Here is the latest:
#4 Allen:          78 points with nine games remaining
#5 Cincinnati:  73 points with 10 games remaining
#6 Utah:          71 points with nine games remaining
#7 Colorado:    69 points with 10 games remaining
#8 Quad City:  66 points with 11 games remaining

ALLEN VS TULSA GAME PREVIEW:

– Allen takes on Tulsa tonight (7:05 pm) in Tulsa and tomorrow afternoon at the AEC (4:05 pm) in the last of 15 games these team will play each other this season. Thus far Allen is 5-6-1-1 against the Oilers. The last six times these teams have played each other the home team has won the game.

Here is a comparison between Allen and Tulsa:

ALLEN TULSA
Team Record 36-21-3-3(78 points) 29-25-3-2 (63 points)
Division Ranking 2nd – Central 3rd – Central
Conference Ranking 4th – Western 9th – Western
Last 10 Games 7-2-0-1 3-7-0-0
Goals For/Against 194/180 153/156
Power Play 21.2% (51/241) 12.6% (25/199)
Penalty Kill 87.3% (32/251) 84.1% (36/227)
Leading Scorer Costello  (22-66-88) DeSalvo (16-35-51)

Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 4th (16.65) – Tulsa 9th (15.10)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 10th (3.08) – Tulsa 24th (2.59)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.86) – Tulsa 7th (2.64)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (28.17) – Tulsa 27th (27.46)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 16th (30.54) – Tulsa 5th (27.63)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.2%) – Tulsa 26th (12.6%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 1st (87.3%) – Tulsa 15th (84.1%)

Special teams will most certainly play a role in the game tonight. If you look at the ECHL stats, Allen has a big advantage with a much better overall power play percentage than Tulsa (21.2% to 12.6%).  If you look at Allen’s road power play percentage (23.3%) versus Tulsa’s home power play percentage (20.0%) the advantage is not as big. If you look at the 13 head to head games between these teams, they have both had the exact same number of power plays. Allen is 6-44 (13.6%) and Tulsa is 5-44 (11.4%)

Both of these teams have trouble getting shots on goal with Allen ranked #26 in the league and Tulsa #27.

Tulsa is desperately fighting for a playoff spot. They are currently on the outside looking in. They are ninth in the Western Conference standings but trail eighth place Quad City by just three points with two games in hand. They had lost seven games in a row before the big win at home last night against Missouri.

Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tyler Puddifant (#28) and linesmen Erik Contino (#92) and Chip Excell (#42). Puddifant was the referee last night in Allen.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Ben for today’s question.

Q: How did the tradition of honoring the “three stars” at the end of a hockey game begin?

A: Three stars were first awarded in the 1936–37 NHL season as a means for Imperial Oil (Hockey Night in Canada’s then new principal sponsor) to advertise its “Three Star” brand of gasoline. In addition, it was seen as a way to promote the game’s best stars of the time. After the sponsorship ended in 1976, the tradition remained on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship hockey show. The usage of three stars has since expanded greatly. All professional hockey teams (or radio/television broadcasts of those teams) in North America award three stars at the end of each game, and many amateur and collegiate leagues (or broadcasts of their games) do as well.

DID YOU KNOW:  In the last two months the Americans have played 27 games with a record of 15-7-2-3. However, if you eliminate the games against Wichita, the Americans record over the last two months is 6-7-2-3.

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