ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans got off to a good start in the first of three games against Idaho beating the Steelheads 3-1 last night before a crowd of 4320 at CenturyLink Arena. The Americans kept their streak alive, score first, win the game, which now stands at 7-0.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Bryan Moore (3) who put in a rebound after great plays by Mathieu Aubin to keep the puck in the zone and Spencer Asuchak to take the puck to the net, Vincent Arseneau (6) who has a goal in his last five games and Daniel Leavens (1) who got his first goal of the season on a great individual effort where he intercepted a pass, went in one-on-two, took a shot that missed the net and put in his own rebound off the end boards. Here are the video highlights:

– Allen coach Steve Martinson sent me five quick comments after the game, “Good start to the series, Vince had the game winner and has five goals in his last five game, it was great to see Daniel Leavens score, we played a solid defensive game and Brodeur was real good in goal.” I think Martinson was pleased with the team effort as they were playing short a forward and are pretty banged up right now.

– Vincent Arseneau has scored six goals this season and they have all come in his last seven games. Three of his six goals have been game-winners including last night. His three game-winning goals ties him for #3 in the league just one behind the league leaders.

Tommy Daniels was a stats encyclopedia on his broadcast last night. Here is a sample of a few I remember Tommy sharing:

“Steve Martinson is coaching his 1500th game tonight”
“That is Mathieu Aubin’s 300th  professional assist”
“Vincent Arseneau now has a goal in his last five games”
Casey Pierro-Zabotel has an assist in his last five games”
“Arseneau’s five game goal streak is the longest in the league right now”

Other Comments:

– For the many Tanner Eberle fans, you might want to check out the ECHL Showcase game tomorrow (Friday) night as Tanner’s Jacksonville Icemen will be hosting the Atlanta Gladiators. The game can be seen on Facebook Live and there is no cost. Just go to the ECHL Facebook page to watch the game. Puck drop is 6:30 CST and watch for Tanner wearing #29.

– Allen was able to gain some ground on several of their Mountain Division rivals last night. Wichita, Tulsa, Utah and of course Idaho all lost last night. Allen is now in third place in the division three points behind Wichita and one point behind Colorado.

Thanksgiving:

– I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving but especially those that will spend the day away from their families. Those like my daughter, Erin, who is a labor and delivery registered nurse at Parkland Hospital and will put in a 12-hour shift today, first responders, those serving in the military and so many others, including the Allen Americans, who are away from their families.

The Americans have never spent a Thanksgiving at home in the nine years as a franchise. This is because of scheduling conflicts at the Allen Event Center (Disney on Ice) but Martinson has vowed to try and make sure the team is at home next Thanksgiving even if they have to play on the road before and after the holiday. Scheduling road games with Tulsa and/or Wichita would allow the Americans to be home for Thanksgiving.

– While the Americans won’t be with their friends and families today, the team will have a Thanksgiving feast thanks to some very special Allen fans. Mark Fisher started the tradition of providing a Thanksgiving meal for the team three years ago. This year Ed and Sheri Bohnemann are joining forces with Mark and Elizabeth Fisher to provide the Thanksgiving meal.

I asked Mark to share the details and this is what he said, “This year the team will be having a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at the hotel consisting of green salad, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fresh vegetables, and dessert. Ed & Sheri Bohnemann and Elizabeth and myself decided to provide this meal for the team as it is tough enough to be away from home during the holidays without having to worry about how much per diem you have.” Fisher continued: “I started this tradition three years ago to directly improve the player experience in Allen when the team was under different ownership. Jack Gulati, the new team owner, is doing a great job of supporting and providing for the players and the organization but we wanted to continue to provide the meal for the team ourselves. I hope the players and staff know that even though only a few fans could make it to Boise, those of us that are back in North Texas are thinking of them and wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving.”

DID YOU KNOW: It is tough for the Allen Americans to be in Idaho for Thanksgiving and I am sure when the franchise started in 2009 it wasn’t envisioned they would be on the road on Thanksgiving for nine straight years.

That first season was quite a challenge.

The day before Thanksgiving the Americans played the Mississippi RiverKings in Memphis which is 450 miles from Allen. They lost that game 3-1 even though they scored the first goal early in the first period. The RiverKings scored three unanswered goals in the last 10 minutes of the game for the victory. The Americans had to leave Memphis Wednesday night and drive 800 miles to Odessa where they played on Friday. They beat Odessa 5-4 in that game on a Justin Bowers power-play goal with four seconds remaining in the second period. The Americans then traveled back to Allen (350 miles) and played the Texas Brahmas on Saturday and won 4-3 in a shootout. Defenseman Ryan Fairbarn got the game-winning shootout goal. The total was three games in four days and 1600 miles on the bus with Thanksgiving squeezed in on the off day. Idaho doesn’t sound so bad after that first Thanksgiving road trip.

I had a chance to talk to Tommy Daniels this morning about that first Thanksgiving road trip and he shared with me the team left Memphis after the game Wednesday night and spent most of Thanksgiving Day getting to Odessa. They stopped at a Cracker Barrel just west of Weatherford for brunch and didn’t arrive in Odessa until after 3:00 pm. They had their Thanksgiving meal that evening at the hotel. Tommy remembers assistant coach, Bill McDonald saying at dinner that night, “I sure hope we don’t have to travel on Thanksgiving next season.”

It has now been nine years and the team has still not been home for Thanksgiving.

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