ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans came away with a 5-4 come from behind overtime victory over the Orlando Solar Bears on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 6747 at the Amway Center. Victories have not come easy for the Americans recently and that was certainly the case yesterday. Allen surrendered two goals in the first 3:53 of the game but came back with two goals of their own in the first period tying the score 2-2 with 51 seconds left in the period. Just 28 seconds later the Americans gave up another goal to make the score 3-2 going into the first intermission.
– Coach Steve Martinson switched goalies at the start of the second period as Peter Di Salvo replaced Jamie Murray. Orlando scored the only goal of the second period. Allen headed into the third period trailing 4-2 and were certainly battling the odds as the Solar Bears had a perfect 13-0 record when leading after the second period.
– The third period showed what the Americans are capable of as they dominated play outshooting Orlando 21-4 and sending the game to overtime on goals by Josh Brittain and David Makowski.
– Allen overcame a penalty during the overtime and scored the game-winner with 35 seconds remaining. Eric Roy was the hero as he scored from the point on a play where Bryan Moore did a great job screening the goalie. In summary the goal scorers for Allen were Moore (18), Stevenson (7), Brittain (4), Makowski (5) and Roy (10). You can see all of the goals in the highlights package above.
– The dominance Allen showed in the third period is an occurrence that is all too familiar to Allen fans. Allen has been out shot by their opponents in the first period this season 562-482 and outscored 49-46. The total for the third period is a shot advantage for the Americans of 496-454 and goal advantage of 66-39.
– Going into the game yesterday Orlando had the worst home penalty kill percentage in the ECHL by a good margin. They were killing penalties at 68.6%. Allen could do nothing on the power play going 0-5 though one Allen goal was scored just as a penalty expired.
– The team stayed overnight in Orlando and will fly home today arriving this afternoon. The team will practice tomorrow as they will start preparing for three games in three days against Tulsa.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
– I really liked how we outplayed them in the third period. The rest we got with two days off between games was good for us.
– We scored some nice goals today including the game-winner in overtime. Bryan Moore won a battle for the puck off the faceoff, got the puck back to the point and went right to the front of the net. Moore was in position to screen the goalie on the Roy game winner.
– It was a good win for Peter Di Salvo the way he shut down Orlando after coming in at the start of the second period.
– It was ironic the two best players on the ice yesterday were two players traded for each other back in November. Sometimes trades work out for both teams and that seems to be the case in the Chris Crane for Bryan Moore trade. Crane had two goals and an assist and was the #2 star of the game. Moore had a goal and three assists and was the #3 star of the game. When the trade first happened many fans questioned why Allen would trade Crane for a guy that had played in just six games for Orlando and had zero points. I remember coach Martinson telling me Moore was playing as the 10th forward and was playing behind a lot of contracted players, had a great record as a scorer in the past and also brought some toughness to the table. It took Bryan awhile to get comfortable in Allen as he scored in just one of his first 11 games but since that time he has scored a goal in 12 of 16 games and earned a stint in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda. Chris Crane was a very popular player with fans and in the locker room so it was difficult to see him great traded but Bryan Moore brought a different style of player to the Americans that has really boosted the team. Another example of a player struggling in one system that thrives in the Martinson system. For the record here is how the stats compare for Crane and Moore since the trade.
Moore – Bryan has 30 points (18 goals 12 assists) in 27 games, is a +21 and has 65 penalty minutes
Crane- Chris has 12 points (8 goals 4 assists) in 18 games, is a -6 and has 16 penalty minutes.
– The Mountain Division as a group is playing some great hockey. Five of the seven teams are on winning streaks led by Utah who has won four in a row followed by Colorado, Alaska and Missouri who have won three straight. Allen is on a streak of 2-0-0-1. Only Idaho (0-2-1-0) and Rapid City (0-3-0-0) are on losing streaks. If you add all the streaks together it totals 15-5-1-1.
– The overseas deadline of February 15 is fast approaching so you might see a few players heading back to North America especially if it appears their team will not make the playoffs. Many overseas players are free agents and could sign with any ECHL team. Allen has the rights to Alex Lavoie and Rylan Schwartz which they acquired as part of trades that brought Bryan Moore and Randy Cure to the Americans. They also have the rights to Ian Schultz who they qualified from last season.
I would rate the chances of Lavoie coming back at 0% as he is the second leading scorer in the league (Sweden) and his team is in second place in the 14-team league. The chance of Schwartz returning to Allen isn’t much higher than Lavoie. Rylan is the leading scorer on his team (Germany) but he is on one of the worst teams in the league. The most likely of the three to return to Allen would be Ian Schultz who is playing in Scotland. He is fourth on the team in scoring and his team is dead last in the standings. The likely outcome is none of the three return but it is something to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.