The Allen Americans beat the Missouri Mavericks last night 2-1 at the Allen Event Center before a crowd of 3617 in the type of game you would expect from the top two teams in the Central division, the top two teams in the Western Conference and the second and third ranked teams in the ECHL.

It was the first of 11 meetings (6 home, 5 away) between these team this year and if last night was any indication, it will be quite the series with some excellent hockey. The game went according to form with great goaltending by both goalies, great defensive play by both teams, and some excellent scoring chances by both teams.

After a scoreless first period Jonathan Parker gave Allen the lead with his second goal of the season assisted by Dyson Stevenson and Greger Hanson. It was the only goal in the second period. Allen took a 2-0 lead at the 6:12 mark of the third period on a pretty play as Greger Hanson made a perfectly timed cross ice pass to Chad Costello who put the puck in the net before Missouri goalie Parker Milner could react. The drama wasn’t over as the Mavericks closed the gap to 2-1 with just 75 seconds left in the game after pulling their goalie. Allen survived the final flurry to secure the win and improve their record to 5-2. The team is now off until Tuesday when they travel to Tulsa to take on the Oilers.

You can view Kimberly Sauer’s photo gallery of the game here: http://thesinbin.net/photos-allen-americans-vs-missouri-mavericks-103115

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

– I thought it was a good win tonight. It was tough giving up that goal at the end of the game as Rumpel deserved a shutout. Our forward lost his check coming from the wall and the guy slipped in behind him. But other than that we played well. I really liked our team tonight.

– Both goalies were good tonight. We had plenty of good scoring chances where their goalie came up big.

– Our defense did a great job. Missouri is a fast team, they work hard and skate well and playing with five defensemen puts a big load on a couple of our young guys. We will be stronger when Makowski and Pinkston get back in the lineup which I hope will happen by next weekend.

– We didn’t score on the power play but we had some chances and a couple of times the Mavericks had their sticks in the wrong lane but we didn’t make the play.

– Riley Gill missed a lot of time because he was sick and didn’t go on the last road trip. Rumpel has been playing well so I decided to play Rumpel tonight and I told Gill he would play Tuesday in Tulsa and that would give him two more days of taking shots in practice.

– It is great to have two goalies that can do the job. We knew last year Rumpel was a good goalie but once Gill got in the net during the playoffs he just wasn’t giving it up and we rode him to the championship. It is a nice feeling to be comfortable with either goalie you put in the game. I  haven’t always had that situation.

– All of our forwards played well and we threw out some different combinations. I like what I see from the team right now. There is still a piece of the puzzle that I would like to have but it has to be the right fit so I will see if I can find it.

– Ian Schultz just got cleared to practice and is probably three weeks away from being ready to play but we will have to see how it goes.

– Luke Chilcott has started working with some of the guys before and after practice. He is an unbelievable skater and power skating coach that I think will help our players.

OTHER COMMENTS:

– Special teams played a key role in the game for Allen. The power play continued to struggle going 0-3 in the game and is now 4-34 for the season and is ranked #23 in the ECHL at 11.8%. The penalty kill was perfect again going 0-4 which included killing over a minute of five on three in the third period that was critical. The penalty kill is now 2-27 on the season and at 92.6% is tops in the ECHL.

– Once again the team that scored the first goal (Allen) won the game. Allen and Missouri are now a combined 8-0 when scoring first.

– Even with losses the last two nights, Missouri still leads the Central Division and Western Conference with 11 points. Allen is second with 10 points and has a chance to move into first place with a win in Tulsa on Tuesday.

– It is still early but the Central division is starting to look like it will be very competitive with all four teams holding their own. Missouri and Allen are the two top teams in the Western Conference. Tulsa, who is in last place in the Central division, has the most points of any of the teams in last place.

Here are the points earned by the last place team in each division along with games played:

6 points – Tulsa, Central Division (six games played)
5 points – South Carolina, South Division (seven games played)
4 points – Norfolk, East Division, (six games played)
3 points – Colorado, West Division, (eight games played)
2 points – Evansville, Midwest Division, (three games played)
1 point – Brampton, North Division, (six games played)

– Remember, the new playoff format this year has eight teams making the playoffs from each conference. The three division winners in each conference plus the next five teams with the most points regardless of division make the playoffs so teams need to fight for every point. It is possible three teams from one division can make the playoffs.

– Bad enough the Mavericks lost the game last night to Allen, they then had to get on the bus with all of the Allen Americans’ logos for the return trip back home. The Missouri bus broke down as the Mavericks arrived in Allen so they ended up taking the Allen Americans bus back home to Independence.

– After the Halloween action around the ECHL yesterday there is just one undefeated team left (Adirondack) and one team that has yet to win a game (Brampton).

– After dominating the ECHL leader board last year (points, goals, assists) the Americans do not have anyone in the top 20 in any of these categories this season. Depth and balanced scoring has been the key to success so far this season.

DID YOU KNOW: With their win last night the Allen Americans are now 3-1 in franchise history when playing on Halloween night.

The Americans only Halloween loss came in 2009 when they lost to the Texas Brahmas 3-2 in a shootout at NYTEX Center in a game they should have won. They out shot Texas 40-23, took a 2-1 lead with three minutes left in the game and then gave up an extra attacker goal with just 36 seconds remaining to send it to overtime. The Americans then missed eight straight shootout attempts by some really talented players (in order Jordie Benn, Justin Bowers, Bruce Graham, Nino Musitelli, Nathan O’Nabigon, Mike Berge, Tobias Whelan and Erik Adams) before Texas scored to win the game.

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