ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans won another game seven last night as they beat the Idaho Steelheads 3-2 in overtime to advance to the second round of the ECHL playoffs. It was a game in which Allen never led until Tristan King scored the game winner at the 3:28 mark of overtime.
– It certainly wasn’t a surprise the Americans won a game seven at home as they have never lost a game seven at home (now 6-0) in the Steve Martinson era. In fact, Martinson has not lost a game seven at home in his entire 20 year coaching career.
– What was a surprise is the way Allen had to win the game. The Americans dominated play in the first period, out shooting Idaho 16-8, but could not get the puck past Steelheads’ goalie Philippe Desrosiers. When Idaho scored the first goal of the game at 5:45 of the second period it made you wonder if it was going to be one of those nights. However, as they did in game six, the Americans got the equalizer in quick order after Idaho took the lead. In game six it took Allen 75 seconds, last night Chad Costello scored to tie the game at 1 just 29 seconds after the Steelheads took the lead.
Idaho retook the lead two minutes after Allen had tied the score and went into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead. This despite the Americans dominating puck possession and out shooting Idaho 26-15 over the first two periods.
A tripping penalty in the third period put Allen on the power play and the league’s best power play unit (32%) made Idaho pay as David Makowski scored on a blast from the point to tie the score 2-2.
When neither team could get the go ahead goal in regulation time and the game went to overtime, Allen fans had a good feeling based on the many game sevens in the past. The crowd went wild when King got the game winner at 3:28 of overtime.
Allen now takes on the Missouri Mavericks who happen to be the top seed in the ECHL. Missouri is well rested having not played a game since last Friday. Meanwhile, after their game seven win last night the Americans will get on “Big Red” early this afternoon for the 473 mile bus ride to Missouri. They have games against the Mavericks tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday.
Here is the complete series schedule (Home team in BOLD CAPS):
Game 1 – Fri Apr 29 7:05 PM Allen at MISSOURI
Game 2 – Sat Apr 30 7:05 PM Allen at MISSOURI
Game 3 – Wed May 4 7:05 PM Missouri at ALLEN
Game 4 – Fri May 6 7:05 PM Missouri at Allen
Game 5 – Sun May 8 4:05 PM * Missouri at Allen
Game 6 – Tue May 10 7:05 PM * Allen at MISSOURI
Game 7 – Wed May 11 7:05 PM * Allen at MISSOURI
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– We had a great comeback tonight. We had a slow start early in the period and turned over the puck but we really out played them in the first period.
– I thought their goalie was unbelievable. The shots that beat him hit posts. We had some great scoring chances but he came up big.
– We talked before the overtime about the little things that make the play. Don’t go out thinking about being the hero. If you try to do too much or gamble that doesn’t work. We just wanted to stick to our game plan which was to outplay them.
– Our game plan was to get the puck to the point when they were collapsing and they did that a lot. We have a lot of skill at the point. Our defensemen chipped in with three goals in games six and seven. We were not getting a lot of scoring from our three lines so we needed the defense to chip in and they did.
– We will get Vincent Arseneau back on Friday night and he will be well rested so that will help.
– I thought we played our best defensive game of the series tonight of the forwards coming back to play defense. It reminded me of the first year against Wichita when we were out playing them and we stuck with it and stuck with it. We didn’t give up scoring chances by gambling and giving up odd man rushes. I thought we played our best defensive game in that respect.
– Riley Gill is playing his best right now. He is in great shape after missing time with an injury. He told his teammates he would be there for them and now it is like last year. We are climbing on his back and saying let’s go.
– Now it is off to Missouri. We will leave around noon tomorrow. The Mavericks have a good team, they are a hard working team and they back pressure. They do things right and a key will be to avoid giving them easy scoring chances like we did in that stretch in the middle of the season.
– Aaron Gens is skating but is not ready to play. He will go on the trip to Missouri and help on the bench as the defense coach. He has been doing that for two years anyway.
– It was great to see Jamie Schaafsma get both goals in Fort Wayne’s game seven win tonight. He has been a stud for Fort Wayne the second half of the season just like he was here in Allen.
– Chad Costello‘s 25 game assist streak came to an end last night but he had a goal so his point streak continues and stands at 26 games. I am sure Chad is more than happy to trade not having an assist for a goal.
– Fort Wayne finished their comeback last night by beating Cincinnati in game seven by a score of 2-0. Schaafsma was the hero for the Komets, scoring both goals in the first period.
– Allen and Fort Wayne both avoided upsets by coming from behind to win games six and seven at home after trailing 3-2 in their series. In the Western Conference the teams seeded #1 (Missouri), #2 (Fort Wayne), #4 (Allen) and #6 (Utah) made it to the second round. There were plenty of upsets in the Eastern Conference as the teams seeded #2 (South Carolina), #5 (Wheeling), #6 (Adirondack) and #8 (Reading) advanced to the second round.
– The semi-finals in the west has Allen vs Missouri and Fort Wayne vs Utah. In the East it will be Reading vs Wheeling and South Carolina vs Adirondack.
– So often you see when a player plays against their former team they excel. Tristan King played parts of three season with Idaho from 2010-2013 and came up big against his old team in this series. He had the overtime game winning goal last night, a goal and an assist in the game six win, and led the Americans in goals in the series with three (tied with Hanson).
– It is possible both Missouri and Allen will get players assigned if and when their AHL affiliates are eliminated from the AHL playoffs. Missouri’s affiliate is Bridgeport and they play game three of their best of five series tonight. Bridgeport lost the first two games of the series at home and must beat Toronto tonight to avoid elimination. Allen’s affiliate is San Jose who is tied with Ontario 1-1. They play the final three games in Ontario tonight, Friday and Sunday.
– You can view Kimberly Sauer’s photo gallery of the game, here: https://thesinbin.net/photos-allen-americans-vs-idaho-steelheads-042716/
DID YOU KNOW: There are five former Allen Americans players still alive in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Bryce Aneloski, Scott Howes and Trevor Ludwig in Missouri, Jamie Schaafsma in Fort Wayne and Kevin Young in Reading.