ALLEN, TX – On one level, it was just a midweek game on a Wednesday night before a small crowd of 3856 at the Allen Event Center. On another, it was a very important game for Allen against the best team in the ECHL, the Missouri Mavericks. There has always been a rivalry between Allen and Missouri dating back to their Central Hockey League (CHL) days. Allen was the winner on the ice but Missouri was the perennial winner of the “best franchise” award. Things only intensified when Richard Matvichuk, who helped win two championships in Allen, was hired by Missouri as their head coach last year. The Americans owned the Mavericks last season with a record of 8-0-1-0 on their way to the Kelly Cup championship.
This season, Missouri is the class of the ECHL and on a record setting pace for points. Allen is arguably the second best team in the Western Conference but has struggled against the Mavericks with a 1-4 record going into the game last night. For all of these reasons and more the Americans 4-2 win last night was a big win. It was the start of six games against Missouri in 20 days. It was just one win, it was only two points and in the grand scheme of things not a big deal. But it is a good start to showing that Allen can compete with Missouri down the stretch and in the playoffs.
It was a costly victory for Allen as Aaron Gens was injured in the first period and did not return. C.J. Ludwig was given a five minute major and game misconduct penalty on the play for clipping Gens. It was the second clipping call against Ludwig in the game. Gens suffered a lower body injury that will keep him out of the lineup for several weeks.
Missouri also suffered an injury that could have a huge impact going forward. The Mavericks leading scorer and third leading scorer in the ECHL, Jesse Root, suffered a cut on the back of his foot on a tripping call on Allen. Hopefully it isn’t anything serious but it didn’t look good as Root left the ice.
Allen overcame several trends that were working against them from the five previous games with Missouri. The team that scored the first goal won the first five games. Last night Missouri scored the first goal but Allen won the game. In the first five games Allen had not scored more than two goals, last night they got four. Allen had only scored a total of one goal in the third period in the first five games, last night they had two goals in the third period.
Goal scorers for Allen were Casey Pierro-Zabotel (13), Mike Gunn (3), Spencer Asuchak (2) and Chad Costello (22).
It was great to see Spencer Asuchak get a goal and the game winner at that. Vincent Arseneau also deserves mention as he could have had an empty net goal but instead passed the puck to Chad Costello who put it in the net. A very unselfish play by Arseneau who has been on a goal streak of his own lately.
Allen and Missouri play again next Wednesday at the Allen Event Center.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– It was a good win for us tonight but it was frustrating with some of the calls.
– Aaron Gens has a lower body injury and will be out at least a couple of weeks. Reggie Traccitto has a broken nose but I would expect he will be back for the weekend. Justin Courtnall has a lower body injury so we are resting that.
– I have been working on a deal for another defenseman for the last two days. I am trying different strategies and it is difficult to get something done but I am trying. I have a player coming from Brampton as part of the trade we made earlier that had future considerations. You have to remember to get a good defenseman you have to give up a good player.
– We will be getting a goalie assigned from San Jose on Friday.
– At this point in the season I want guys that are serious. We need guys that are in shape, work hard, are team guys who follow the system and finish their checks. At a certain point if you don’t fit into that mold you become expendable.
– We shot a lot of pucks right into the goalie tonight and missed the net as well. I thought we missed some opportunities when we could have gone to the point and didn’t. But overall, we had good puck possession in their zone.
– Our power play has not been very good the last few games even though we were 1-2 tonight. We got the one goal at the end of the five minute major.
– Utica picked up two or three forwards through AHL trades in the last week so that is a sign they are going to go with their players and we might get Greger Hanson back.
– San Jose is committed to help us and are actively looking for players.
THE GAME IN PICTURES:
– Today is the trade deadline (3:00 pm EST) so look for lots of activity around the ECHL. Team Sin Bin is the one stop shop for all of the trades. They have a “Trade Tracker” that will have all the trades in one place as they happen. Check it out at thesinbin.net.
– Chad Costello had a goal and an assist last night and now has 81 points on the season. He has stretched his point lead in the scoring race to 20 points.
– Coach Martinson mentioned at the press conference last night that he has agreed with Brampton on the player to be sent to Allen as the future considerations in the Jonathan Parker trade. The player is a defensive forward.
– Former Allen player Jonathan Lessard was traded to Rapid City yesterday by Norfolk for Danick Gauthier. Rapid City had acquired Gauthier in January from Wichita in exchange for another former Allen player, Kale Kerbashian.
– With the win last night Allen now has 73 points which is the second highest point total in the Western Conference (tied with Idaho). Missouri leads with 95 points.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Had this question several times after the game so thanks to all who asked.
Q: C.J. Ludwig was called twice for clipping and was given a game misconduct for the second one. What exactly is clipping?
A: Here is the information on clipping right from the ECHL Rule Book.
Rule 44 – Clipping – Clipping is the act of throwing the body, from any direction, across or below the knees of the opponent. A player may not deliver a check in a “clipping” manner, nor lower his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent’s knees. An illegal “low hit” is a check delivered by a player who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees. A player may not lower his body position to deliver a check to an opponent’s knees.
A player who commits these fouls will be assessed a minor penalty for “clipping.” If an injury occurs as a result of this “clipping” check, the player must be assessed a major penalty.
A game misconduct penalty must be assessed anytime a major penalty is applied for injuring an opponent by clipping.
There are no specified fines or suspensions for clipping, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello now has a 20 point lead in the ECHL scoring race. Did you know in the history of the ECHL the scoring champion has won the scoring title by more than 20 points only four times and Chad set the all time record when he won the scoring title by 45 points last year. Here are the four years where the ECHL scoring champion had at least twenty more points than the runner up along with where Chad currently fits in with 13 games remaining.
45 points – 2014-2015 (Chad Costello)
43 points – 1992-1993 (Trevor Jobe)
35 points – 1989-1990 (Bill McDougall)
24 points – 1995-1996 (Hugo Belanger)
20 points – 2015-2016 (Chad Costello)