ALLEN, TX – One of the traits of a good hockey team is winning games when you don’t play your best. That was the case last night, as the Allen Americans defeated the Missouri Mavericks 4-3 in overtime.

Here was the situation going into the game. The Americans were 9-0-0-1 in the last 10 games while Missouri was 3-6-0-1. The Mavericks played hockey until almost 11:00 pm Saturday night, lost the game and then had to travel 365 miles overnight to Allen, arriving at 5:30 am Sunday morning for a 4:05 pm game. Meanwhile, Allen had the day off on Saturday, had more sleep and fresher legs. Despite the disadvantages Missouri managed to out shoot Allen in all three periods by a total of 46-30, they scored the first two goals of the game and game back from a 3-2 deficit to send the game to overtime. Allen was able to leverage some great goaltending by Jamie Murray and two goals including the overtime winner from captain Chad Costello to come away with a victory.

– Allen accomplished two things last night when they got behind. They responded quickly as Joel Chouinard scored just 15 seconds after Missouri had taken a 2-0 lead. The Americans also showed they can score in bunches and last night all three regulation goals were scored in less than seven minutes in the last half of the second period.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Chouinard (5), Mathers (4) and Costello (21 & 22).

– The game today (1:05 pm puck drop) will be the seventh of 13 games between Allen and Missouri this season. The Americans have a 5-1 record in the first six games and have outscored Missouri 22-11. With their big shot advantage, last night the Mavericks have now outshot the Americans 210-207. Head to head Allen is 5-26 (19.2%) on the power play while Missouri is 2-32 (6.3%).

– Jamie Murray will be in goal again today.

– The referee scheduled today is Lucas Martin (#29) and the linesmen are Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Chase Wilkinson (#68).

COACH’S CORNER

– Had a chance to spend a few minutes with coach Steve Martinson after the game who was in a hurry to meet up with his family and some friends who had a suite for the night as it was his wife’s (Michelle) birthday. Martinson agreed the team hadn’t played their best but found a way to win. He talked about the great play of Jamie Murray who has now won six straight games. He mentioned the game-winning goal by Costello and how hard it is to control the puck and score when the puck is on edge as it was on that play. He thought Kale Kerbashian created a couple of good scoring chances and played well in his first game back. Finally, which is typical with coach Martinson, as he was headed out of his office to join the birthday celebration he was already throwing out ideas of what he will change for the game this afternoon.

OTHER COMMENTS

– It took until January 15th but the Allen Americans are all alone at the top of the Mountain Division standings in both points (50) and winning percentage (.641). It took an 11-0-0-1 streak to get there after a poor start but the Americans have reached the top of the Mountain. Job well done! It took a lot of hard work and a few roster moves to make it to the top and it will take more of the same to remain at the top.

– The official announced attendance last night was 3580 but there were nowhere near that many fans in the stands. A lot of season ticket holders stayed home to watch the Cowboys lose to the Packers. After 19 homes dates, the Allen attendance is down 9.2% (423 per game) from last season.

– The Allen Americans will be getting a new assistant/associate coach this week. Denny Lambert, who played with Martinson in San Diego and has 487 NHL games to his credit will arrive in Allen on Wednesday. Lambert has many years of coaching experience in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie at the junior level in the Ontario Hockey League but this will be his first coaching experience at the professional level.

From my perspective, this move will give Lambert the opportunity to learn from the best and it will provide Steve Martinson with some much need help. Will do a complete story when Lambert arrives,  but this article from his hometown paper will give you some of his background and why he is coming to Allen. https://www.saultstar.com/2017/01/11/lambert-accepts-coaching-job

DID YOU KNOW: At the end of November, Allen had a losing record and were ranked 20th in the ECHL in points. Oh how far they have come. Since that time they have a record of 16-2-1-1, have a current streak of 11-0-0-1 and are 9-0-0-1 in their last 10 games.

Check out how the Americans rank today among the 27 ECHL teams:

Points – #3 (50)
Wins – #3 (24)
Win % – #4 (.641)
Goals For – #2 (148)
Goals Against – #6 (107)

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