The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff Coverage is presented by Kalwei Law Firm

The Allen Americans accomplished last night what everyone expected they would accomplish after they dominated the ECHL Central Division by winning the regular season by 25 points. The box score reads a 4-2 Allen victory over the Rapid City Rush to take a 4-2 series win before a Tuesday night crowd of 3240 at the Allen Event Center.

The game was typical of most of the games in this hard fought series. Rapid City won the first period 2-1. Allen did manage to score the first goal of the game for only the second time in the series but two power play goals by the Rush erased the good start. Allen won the second period out shooting Rapid City 16-3 and scoring the only goal to make the score 2-2 heading into the third period. When the score was tied after two periods the Allen faithful knew the Americans would finish it off in the third. They have owned the Rush in the third period of the series out scoring them 17-5 in the six games. So it was not a surprise when Allen won the third period 2-0 and the game 4-2.

Goal scorers for Allen were Jamie Schaafsma (3,4), Greger Hanson (7), and Chris Crane (4). The three stars of the game were #1 Crane, #2 Schaafsma and #3 Riley Gill.
After winning the Central Division title Allen now moves on to the the Western Conference Final where they will face the Ontario Reign. Allen will be playing not only for themselves but the entire Central Division in this series. The upstart Central Division has received little respect from many around the  ECHL and the only way Allen, as representatives on the Central Division, can prove the naysayers wrong is by winning this series.
Aaron Gens shakes hands with Rush defenseman Riley Weselowski. Photo Courtesy: SceneByKimberly


– It was an interesting first period as we scored first and we were all over them and it looked like we were going to have a good period and then the five on three power play goal let them back in the game and a second power play goal gave then a 2-1 lead after the first period.

– Other than the two power play goals I thought we were good defensively tonight. We were much better than we have been. We talked about it a lot in preparation for the game tonight. It isn’t a game of just trying to score goals to win which has been kind of our mentality as a team. We spend all of our effort in trying to score and we sometimes forget all of the the other little things that go into winning. Our goalies’ save percentages aren’t very good because we have not played very well in front of them defensively. Today we stressed going out and playing one on one hockey and not forcing things offensively.

– That was a great job from the team tonight defensively and I am excited about getting the series with Rapid City over, getting a little bit of rest tomorrow with a day off and getting ready for Ontario starting on Thursday. Ontario has a good team with a lot of depth and they are more physical than what we saw from Rapid City. It will be a hard fought series and I look forward to starting it at home with our home ice advantage.

– I will now start watching video on Ontario as they have a different team than when we played them in February and of course we have a different team well.

– On the injuries, Vincent Arseneau will be ready for the games this weekend. We are not sure yet on Rylan Schwartz until we get the results of an MRI. He may be back in a couple of weeks or he may not be back the rest of the playoffs. It depends on the result of the MRI.

– Each round of the playoffs gets tougher and the next round will certainly be a challenge. Just like our team, Ontario has a lot players that have played in the AHL this year or are former AHL players. As long as were are good defensively and learn from tonight how we have to play to be successful we will be okay. If we start off the next series the way we finished the series tonight we will be fine.

– We have really taken it to Rapid City in the third period the entire series. We had more scoring chances in the loss on Sunday than we had in any game in the series. There goalie was incredible.

– Jamie Schaafsma is a streaky scorer as we have seen in the past and he picked a good night to get going with two goals. Hopefully this is the start to one of his streaks.

– With the team we have now we are a physical and can also score as evidenced by the fact that we lead the league in playoff scoring. We have guys that are hard to play against but they can all score which is what makes us different. The key for us going forward is being solid defensively and make Ontario have to work and earn their scoring chances.

– Konrad Abeltshauser made a sweet play on the game winning goal by Crane. We had been talking about when the goalie comes out a lot. He wasn’t real good when he comes out and the puck is behind him. Konrad made a slick play by faking that shot and getting it to Crane who was driving the net. It is hard to defend when you have guys going hard to the net.

– An indication of how well the team executed tonight is Rapid City did not score a goal even strength. They had the five on three power play goal and on the other goal Gill had lost his stick,  the defensman was trying to get Gill his stick, the forward was covering and we ended up with nobody in the slot. Other than those two plays we were pretty stingy defensively.

– There are always penalty calls in a game you do not agree with and all you can ask for is the referee to be consistent. Tonight it was difficult for the players to know what was going to be called and what wasn’t. The good thing is the team adapted and just said we are not sure what is going to be called so let’s tighten things up and don’t give the referee a reason to call a penalty on us.

OTHER COMMENTS:– Allen scored the first goal last night for just the fourth time in eleven playoff games. The Americans are a perfect 4-0 when scoring first.

– The leading scorers for Allen in the Rapid City series were Greger Hanson with twelve points (5 goals 7 assists), Ian Schultz nine points (4 goals 5 assists) and Chad Costello nine points (2 goals 7 assists.

– The plus/minus leaders in the Rapid City series were Chris Crane (+6), Greger Hanson (+5), and Kevin Young (+5).

– Riley Gill won all four games in the Rapid series going 4-0.

– It was great to see Daniel Tetrault not only in the line up last night but scoring a goal for Rapid City in what could be the last game of his illustrious career. There were lots of hugs between Tetrault and his teammates from last year as he went through the line shaking hands. If it is the end of the line for the soon to be 36 year old it is good to know Allen was able to bring him his lone professional championship in a storied career.

Former teammates Jamie Schaafsma and Daniel Tetrault share a hug after a hard fought series. Photo Courtesy: SceneByKimberly

– Kale Kerbashian was also wishing his former teammates well with lots of hugs. Kale assisted on both Rapid City goals last night and was a one man wrecking crew against Allen ever since being traded to Rapid City by Evansville the end of January. Kale scored on the first shot of his first shift against Allen and never let up. Between the regular season and playoffs Kale played nine games against Allen and had fifteen points (4 goals 11 assists).


Here is the complete schedule for the series with Ontario. All times are local times so add two hours to the start times in Ontario if you want the start time in Allen.
Game 1 – Sun May 17 4:05 PM Ontario at Allen
Game 2 – Mon May 18 7:05 PM Ontario at Allen
Game 3 – Thu May 21 7:00 PM Allen at Ontario
Game 4 – Sat May 23 6:00 PM Allen at Ontario
Game 5 – Sun May 24 6:00 PM * Allen at Ontario
Game 6 – Tue May 26 7:05 PM * Ontario at Allen
Game 7 – Wed May 27 7:05 PM * Ontario at Allen
*if necessary

– Allen will enter the conference finals with the fewest games played (11) and the best winning percentage (.727) of the final four teams.

– There is just one team left to be decided for the conference finals. Toledo plays Fort Wayne tonight in game seven of the North Division finals. The game is in Toledo and the home team has won the first six games. Here is the playoff bracket as it currently stands:

Current ECHL bracket

– Heard from super fan John Below about a group of San Jose Sharks fans who have been supporting the Allen Americans. They are called the “Teal City Crew” and you can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Heard from John some of the “Crew” will be in Ontario to cheer on the Americans. With San Jose and Worcester both out of the playoffs, it is only Allen of the three affiliates still playing. Thanks to the Teal City Crew for their support.

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans are 8-0 in playoff series in the three years Steve Martinson has been the coach and last night was the first time a series had gone six games. In the seven prior playoff series they had all gone either seven games (three times) or five games (four times.)

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