ALLEN, TX – Playing shorthanded with just nine forwards the Allen Americans beat the Rapid City Rush 5-3 last night before a crowd of 4218 at the Allen Event Center.
A key to the game was getting off to a good start and the Americans certainly accomplished that goal. Allen scored first and is now 9-0 when scoring the first goal of the game. The Americans had a 1-0 lead after the first period which was a good sign since neither Allen or Rapid City have won a game this season when trailing after the first period. The great start continued in the second period as Allen built a 3-0 lead but the Rush kept working and cut the Americans lead to one goal at 3-2 and again at 4-3. The Rush pulled their goalie after Allen took a penalty late in the game and the 6-on-4 power play created some excellent chances to tie the score. The game wasn’t decided until Bryan Moore picked up the puck as he was coming out of the penalty box, powered by the defender, skated right to the goal mouth and tapped in an empty net goal.
– The balanced scoring for Allen continued with five different players scoring goals. The goal scorers were Eric Roy (5), Daniel Leavens (3), Casey Pierro-Zabotel (5), Colby McAuley (2), and Bryan Moore (5). McAuley also had an assist and two fights for his first professional Gordie Howe hat trick. Leavens didn’t have a goal in his first nine starts with Allen after being acquired in a trade with Wheeling but now has three goals in the last four games.
Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson
– Steve Martinson was prophetic in his pregame interview with game host Kayla McLain. When Kayla asked Martinson who needed to step up with Allen’s leading goal scorers (Pochiro & Arseneau) out of the lineup the coach said some of the go-to guys like Moore & Pierro Zabotel needed to be on their top game. Here is the complete interview:
Here are some additional post-game comments:
– It was good to get the win tonight playing shorthanded with only nine forwards. The ice was a little bit slow because of what the crew had to do to remove the paint after Disney on Ice last week. Normally it is good but the ice slow tonight which was a little frustrating.
– We didn’t do a good job tonight on the penalty kill as we were letting them pass the puck back and forth and then we didn’t collapse when the puck went to the net. We tried to correct it after the second period but had the same problem on their power play goal in the third period. Bottom line is we did not have a good penalty kill tonight.
– Asuchak always does a good job screening the goalie on the power play and that is what happened on Roy’s goal. Sometimes we get too wide at the point when taking shots and the goalie can see the puck.
– Jeremy Brodeur will be in goal tomorrow (Saturday) night.
– I thought we turned the puck over a lot after we had a lead. Sometimes you need to get the puck out rather than trying to make a play.
– We had some good opportunities to score including a 2-on-0 where we shot the puck right into the goalie.
Allen/Rapid Rematch Preview
– Allen hasn’t had any trouble scoring against Rapid City having 18 goals in the three wins against the Rush this season. Despite the three wins Allen has struggled on special teams when playing Rapid City. The power play is 1-12 (8.3%) and the penalty kill has allowed the Rush three power-play goals in 14 opportunities for a penalty kill percentage of 78.6%.
– Allen has dominated Rapid City when the teams are at even strength outscoring the Rush 15-6 over the three games they have played this season.
– There are several paths to victory in the game tonight. Allen can win the special teams battle or they can stay out of the penalty box and play even strength hockey which gives them a big advantage or the Americans can use the old standby of scoring the first goal which makes them almost unbeatable.
– Jeremy Brodeur will be in goal for Allen and has played well in his limited opportunities. His record is 3-1-1-1 and he has the best save percentage on the team at .924 which ranks him #8 in the league in save percentage.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Alex Normandin (#26) and linesmen Brian Bull (#95) and Cameron Dykstra (#0). Normandin was the referee last night.
– All indications are a huge crowd tonight with so many activities it should be quite an event. To start with it is Nickelodeon Night and the SpongeBob specialty jerseys the team will be wearing are a sight to see. From the fans that I have talked to the jerseys are in competition for the worst looking of all time but it will be fun for the children in attendance. SpongeBob will be on the concourse before the game. It is also Teddy Bear Toss Night which is always fun and for a good cause.
– In other Mountain Division action, last night Colorado beat Utah 7-3 and Tulsa beat Idaho 4-1. These teams play again tonight. Allen is now in third place in the division (25 points) one point ahead of Idaho and three points behind Colorado.
DID YOU KNOW: Eric Roy‘s power play goal last night was his second goal in as many games. Eric now has five goals which leads all Allen defensemen. Only Zach Pochiro (7 goals) and Vincent Arseneau (6 goals) have more goals than Eric this season. Eric’s five goals rank him 6th in the ECHL in goals scored by a defenseman just two goals behind the league lead.