ALLEN, TX – It was an all too familiar pattern as the Allen Americans defeated the Tulsa Oilers 5-1 last night before an announced crowd of 3564 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The pattern that has developed is Allen being out shot and outplayed in the first period. In their last 10 games the Americans have been out shot in the first period nine times and in most of the games the shot totals weren’t even close. Last night it was 14-6 and that has been typical recently. Other recent first period shot totals include 15-4, 16-7, 16-4, 23-14, 15-5 & 19-10. If you add it all up Allen has been out shot in the first period 152-82 over the last 10 games.

– Luckily, shots don’t always equal to goals and that was the case last night as Riley Gill returned to action for the first time since December 28 and was spectacular in goal. Gill stopped numerous quality scoring chances in the first period to keep the Americans in the game. By games end, he had stopped 38 of 39 shots to earn the victory and claim the first star of the game. In the process, Riley lowered his league leading GAA to 2.07 and raised his league leading save percentage to .940.

– The lack of shots didn’t mean there was a lack of offense as the team generated many opportunities that didn’t end up with a shot on goal. The Americans made their chances count scoring three goals on just 15 shots over the first two periods.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Gary Steffes (10), Chad Costello (24), Greger Hanson (23), David Makowski (6) and Josh Brittain (5). Check out the highlight package above.

– Game two of the three in three against Tulsa takes place tonight (7:05 pm). Will have to wait and see what lineup changes, if any, will be made by coach Martinson.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrea Barone (#15) and linesmen Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Russ Coll (#40). It is the exact same crew that handled the game last night.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS

– It was nice going up 3-1 when we were just playing okay but then we had a real good third period. I don’t think it was great of our guys to expect Gill to be our best player after he missed a month. He practices two days and we say we need you to be our top guy.

– Early in the game, Tulsa had some point blank shots. I will have to review the tape tomorrow to see what broke down on some of those plays.

– It was good to see things gear up in the third period and that should be a good sign for tomorrow. To have good plays that don’t result in shots is frustrating. That happened in Florida at least a half a dozen times where we made good plays but they didn’t result with a shot on goal.

– We finally got an empty net goal at the end after lots of passes. It is a good sign to see so many guys trying to give a teammate the empty net goals rather than take it themselves.

– Gary Steffes got a nasty cut from a skate. The guy got tripped in front and his skate whipped up and got Gary on the chin. When you have kids that play hockey it is nice to know they have full cages. I didn’t say it to Gary but I usually say, “It could have been worse (pause), it could have been me.” Maybe I will get Gary with that one tomorrow.

– We have some guys that need to do a better job. We are getting most of our offense from five or six players. The other guys have to get with the program.

– Josh Brittain has played his way up my ladder. He works hard and plays hard and battles and he hits. He wins battles and he goes to the front of the net. He chips in a bit with the physical play. Right now he is playing better than some guys that have been here in the past.

– I plan on getting Cure and Kerbashian back in the line up in one of the next two games. I will see how things are in the morning before I make a decision. I put Zach Hall on injured reserve so he won’t play this week or next week.

OTHER COMMENTS

– It was a good sign when Tulsa tied the score 1-1 with 47 seconds remaining in the first period. It is a strange stat but the Americans have a better record when being tied after the first period than when they have the lead. Allen is a perfect 10-0 when tied after the first period.

– Scoring first as they did last night is a huge indicator of success for Allen. The Americans record when scoring first is now 20-2-1-1. When they don’t score first Allen’s record is 8-13-1-1.

– With the win over Tulsa last night the Americans have once again taken over sole possession of first place in the Mountain Division. Here are the current standings with games played in parentheses:

60 points – Allen (47 games)
58 points – Colorado (45 games)
54 points – Idaho (45 games)
53 points – Alaska (42 games)
46 points – Utah (44 games)
43 points – Missouri (44 games)
37 points – Rapid City (43 games)

– Chad Costello continues to extend his lead in the ECHL scoring race. With a goal and two assists last night, Chad now has 82 points (24 goals, 58 assists) which leads the league by 23 points. If he continues to score at that pace (1.74 points per game) that equates to his 2014-15 season when he finished with 125 points.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen’s lack of shot production is not just limited to the first period. In the last 10 games the Americans have been out shot in the first period nine times. They have also been out shot in the second period in nine of the last 10 games. They have done better in the third period but have still been out shot in six of the last 10 games. When you add it all together Allen has been out shot in 24 of the last 30 periods. Just one time in the last 10 games has Allen totaled more shots than their opponent and it took at 21-4 third period advantage to make the final shots on goal 42-35 in favor of the Americans.