Gary Steffes and Chad Costello shake hands with Tulsa players at the conclusion of their 1st round series. Photo courtesy: SceneByKimberly
Gary Steffes and Chad Costello shake hands with Tulsa players at the conclusion of their 1st round series. Photo courtesy: SceneByKimberly

The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff coverage is brought to you by Kalwei Law Firm

The Allen Americans won the game 3-2 and won the series 3-1 last night over the Tulsa Oilers before another enthusiastic Tuesday night crowd of 3648 at the Allen Event Center (AEC).

In a script seen many times this season the Americans used a big second period to secure the victory. After a scoreless first period Tulsa took a 1-0 lead early in the second period on a power play goal by Drew Fisher who ended up with five goals in the series. As they have done so often Allen struck quickly midway through the period with three goals in just 3:38. The goal scorers were Dyson Stevenson (1), Ian Schultz (1), and Chad Costello (2). Stevenson scored off a great pass by Patrik Valcak when he bounced the puck off the glove arm of Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr. Ian Schultz who just returned from the Iowa Wild (AHL) and was playing in his first game for Allen since February 16 deflected a shot from Justin Baker past the goalie to give the Americans a 2-1 lead. Chad Costello got the game winner on a power play goal to give Allen a 3-1 lead which they never relinquished. Tulsa cut the score to 3-2 with just over two minutes left in the game but could not get the equalizer.

Allen now awaits the winner of the Rapid City vs Quad City series which is currently tied 1-1. The Americans will be waiting for ten days. The first two games in the second round will be played at the AEC on May 1st and 2nd. Finally, Allen will get some prime weekend dates for the playoffs.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

– It was a great win tonight to end the series. We certainly didn’t want to travel back to Tulsa for another game. We knew we were going to get some scoring chances in the third period as they had to press for goals. I thought we should have pressured them a little bit more in their zone. Tulsa is a good team and has some good players and they certainly didn’t give up when they got down by two goals. It was tough giving up that second goal at the end of the game. I will have to take a look at that to see what happened.

– It is good to have this first round behind us. We came out of the series with no serious injuries so that is always a plus.

– Stevenson made a great play on his goal and had another great opportunity when he took the puck away with a check on the side boards and went to the net and made a great move. It looked like he got tackled on that play. It is good to see some of the new guys contributing.

– It is nice to have Schultz back and he got one of his typical goals tonight where he went right to the front of the net and made a nice tip on the shot by Baker. I am sure he feels good about coming back and scoring right away. It will be good for Ian to be able to practice and get some ice time over the next ten days.

– Tanner Eberle is also back but has a little bit of an injury. I think he will be okay but we are having it checked out to make sure.

– Gary Steffes had a close call when a Tulsa player spun around during the celebration of a goal and  his skate blade hit Gary across the calf. It cut through his sock and took the skin off and scraped him but didn’t cut any deeper. We got real lucky on that play as it could have been very serious.

Forward Gary Steffes was cut by a skate after a goal celebration. Photo Courtesy: SceneByKimberly
Forward Gary Steffes was cut by a skate after a goal celebration. Photo Courtesy: SceneByKimberly

– We have some time off now before the start of the second round and we have a few things to work on during practice. We are not where we want to be yet but I liked the way we played defense the last two games. We still need some work on the power play. Tonight the only time we shot the puck from the point we scored and then we didn’t do it again.

– It is a bit of a concern having ten days off between games. It is important to keep things competitive and not let guys get stale. The good part of the time off is it allows some guys like Eberle and Tyler Ludwig to heal and others to get over the minor injuries all players have this time of year. It will also allow us to have some lines practice together for the upcoming series. We are going to use the time off as a positive.

– I learned a long time ago to not worry about things out of my control and who we face in the next round is out of my control. There are pros and cons to both teams and it will be a tough series no matter who we meet. Having the time off will give me more time to watch the Rapid City vs Quad City series and that is certainly helpful.

– The recent changes in the coaching staff in San Jose should not impact our relationship with the organization. The general manager is the same. They have invited me to go to their NHL camp and their rookie camp next year and they like what we are doing in Allen. It is a great place to put some of their prospects like Joel Rumpel.

– It will be nice to finally have some good dates for our first two home games in the next round. Friday, May 1st & Saturday, May 2nd are as good as you can get. Let’s hope we get some good crowds for those games.

– A two goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. You don’t want to give the other team anything easy so we did talk after the second period that we don’t want to get caught. It wasn’t by design that we became so defensive in the third period.

PLAYER COMMENTS:

– Aaron Gens, Jamie Schaafsma and Ian Schultz stopped by the post game press conference to share their thoughts on the game and answer a few questions:

“Thanks to everyone that came out tonight. We have had great fans support this series. It was amazing to see all of the fans that came to Tulsa to support us”….Jamie Schaafsma

“The Friday night loss in Tulsa wasn’t our best game but we had plenty of scoring chances early that we missed and they seemed to score on all of their chances. But we believe in ourselves and in this group so we knew if we played our game we would be successful and that is what happened in Tulsa on Saturday.”….Jamie Schaafsma

“We know what it takes to win and we know how we have to play to be successful and we got away from that a little bit in that first game in Tulsa but we refocused and got back to the way need to play in the last two games of the series. We will need to continue to improve as we go into the next round.”….Jamie Schaafsma

“Playoff  hockey is tough so having this time off is a positive as far as I am concerned to let the body heal up. Jamie had a couple of nice blocked shots tonight and he is soft and bruises like a peach so he can use the time to heal. All players have bumps and bruises this time of year.”….Ian Schultz

“Marty is a great coach and I am sure he will change some things up to keep us competitive and also give us some days off. But for the most part you need to stay dedicated to the rink and come ready to go when we practice.”….Ian Schultz

“Players will for the most part not watch the Rapid City vs Quad City games. We know the systems they play and the coaches will but together video for us to watch to remind us how they are playing. For the most part in the next ten days we will concentrate more on what we are going do and taking care of business no matter who we face.”….Aaron Gens

“You have seen over this season we have had success against every team in our division. The playoffs is more about what we bring to the table and not about what our opponent is going to do. It is in our hands and we will do whatever it takes to win.”….Ian Schultz

“Drew Fisher had a great series for Tulsa and has been a good leader for them. I thought he was their best player this series.”….Jamie Schaafsma

“I grew up playing with Fisher as he is from International Falls, MN  which is about an hour away from where I grew up in Baudette. He is a prime example of a guy stepping up this year when Jon Booras got hurt and Tom Mele got called up to the AHL. He was there for them the entire year and he works very hard and is a good puck possession guy. I played almost every shift against him and while we are friends off the ice when we go into the corner we will light each other up.”….Aaron Gens

“Where I come from you shave whatever facial hair you have the day before playoffs start and you earn during the playoffs a little more each round. But some guys like Jamie have a little more trouble growing a beard (and chest hair) so they need a head start while some of us earn our beard during the playoffs.”…. Aaron Gens

“I definitely cheat as I grow the beard all year long and I am growing out my shoulder hair as well. They like to call me hairy arms Rob Lowe in the locker room.”….Jamie Schaafsma

“When we came back to win game two after being down 4-0 it gave our team a lot of confidence that the score doesn’t really matter and we need to just keep playing hard and believe in ourselves. It has always been the character of Allen teams that they don’t get down when they are behind and have this abilty to keep working and comeback.”….Jamie Schaafsma

– I have never been on a team that is so dominate in the second period. Just like tonight, after the first period Chad Costello said in the locker room, “we are a second period team so watch this” and sure enough we went out and got three goals. It is a rare thing and we do catch some teams by surprise the way we score in the second period. It is a unique attribute to have.”….Ian Schultz

OTHER COMMENTS:

– It was great to see all of the well wishes from both teams at the end of the night. This was a hard fought series but there was a lot of respect given to the players and fans on both sides. It was a nice way to see everyone react.

– Allen’s record in closeout games at home under Steve Martinson is now 6-1.

– With the series tied 1-1 the next three games between Rapid City and Quad City will take place in Quad City tonight (Wednesday), Friday and Saturday.

– The stars of the game were #1 Ian Schultz. #2 Dyson Stevenson, and #3 Joel Rumpel.

DID YOU KNOW: Between the regular season and playoffs the Allen Americans have played 77 games. They have scored 76 goals in the first period, 131 in the second period and 96 in the third period. The 131 goals scored in the second period is 31 more goals than any other team in the ECHL.

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