The easiest thing to say about the Allen Americans game last night against Wichita is Allen came out on top by a score of 6-4 before a very disappointed crowd of 6418 at Intrust Bank Arena. Other than that it was one of the more bizarre games you will ever witness. To begin with the referee was the same one that was the referee Saturday night in Allen. Jake Brenk is well known to Allen fans from the days in the CHL. A former professional hockey player turned referee, he was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2001 NHL draft and was a teammate of Kevin Young when they both played in Holland. There have been many unusual games over the years when Brenk has been the referee and not all of them were issues against Allen. If you recall, last year he threw Quad City Mallard coach Terry Ruskowski out of a game in Allen in the second period. An indication of the frustration on the part of both coaches on how the game was handled is the only comment from coach Martinson after the game had to with the officiating and Martinson’s team won the game. Will spare you all of the details but this quote from Martinson sums it up, “I can only think of one thing more frustrating than that game and it would be going through that and losing the game.” You can only imagine the frustration of Wichita coach Kevin McClelland after losing the game. Not positive about this but I remember hearing somewhere that McClelland once cut Brenk from his team.
In talking to coach Martinson he would like to get an explanation for some of the calls in the last two games which happened to be officiated by Brenk. The players are frustrated when blatant penalties are not called and then soft penalties are called. Non calls like two handed slashes which cause a player to lose portions of his teeth or a cross check to the face that results in only a two minute penalty. The ECHL is interested in protecting players as they did when Garrett Clarke recently got an eight game suspension but Martinson is baffled why other head shots seem to be minimized. Would guess after the game last night both coaches will be sending video tape to the league office looking for answers.
Enough about the officiating, here are a few of the things that made the game last night unique.
– Allen scored the first three goals of the game but then gave up two power play goals in 52 seconds to let Wichita back in the game.
– Six of the ten goals were scored on the power.
– The game included a goal scored after the goalie was pulled and an empty net goal.
– Wichita scored three power play goals (3-11) which is the most they have scored all year
– Wichita was awarded a penalty shot on a breakaway as Kirill Tulupov got the puck as he was leaving the penalty box. He bounced the shot off the post.
– Josef Fojtik appeared to be hooked from behind on a breakaway but no penalty shot was awarded.
– Allen took a 5-2 lead into the third period but almost blew the lead as Wichita scored twice including a goal with one minute left to play after they pulled the goalie.
– Wichita appeared to tie the game with 35 seconds remaining but the referee disallowed the goal saying the play was dead before the puck crossed the goal line.
– Gary Steffes scored an empty net goal with 19 seconds remaining to make the final score 6-4.
– A mini line brawl broke out at the end of the game (less than one second remaining) which ended with eight fighting majors being called. Haven’t seen the video but would assume this was started by a frustrated Wichita team. The players involved from Allen (Baker, Descoteaux, Hanson & Steffes) are not the brawl starting types. It was the first fighting major of the year for Baker and Descoteaux and the second for Hanson. With the way Wichita and Allen play each other it is hard to believe they are owned by the same people.
– Two Gordie Howe hat tricks for Allen in the same game may be a record as Gary Steffes (2 goals 1 assist) and Greger Hanson (1 goal 1 assist) both accomplished the feat.
– Goal scorers for the Allen Americans were Schaafsma (13), Steffes (36 & 37), Gens (8), Costello (29) & Hanson (19).
– A balanced scoring night for Allen as nine different players had points and six different players had at least two points (Gens, Steffes, Costello, Hanson, Schaafsma & Valcak).
– After having some low scoring games earlier in the year Allen and Wichita have had six straight high scoring games. Here are the scores of the last six games.
Allen 6 at Wichita 4 (March 1)
Wichita 6 at Allen 5 (February 18)
Allen 6 at Wichita 5 (February 16)
Wichita 5 at Allen 4 (February 14)
Wichita 4 at Allen 6 (January 17)
Wichita 2 at Allen 8 (January 16)
– Check back later today as I will post video highlights if/when they become available. Might be some good ones.
– Coach Martinson has said on several occasions that Wichita chirps more than any team in the league. His quote from last night was, “Wichita talks so much it has become more than just a game with them. Makes the wins that much better.” He has also said in the past Wichita always wants to fight when Allen has a short bench or the tough guys are out of the line up but when Allen has a full line up Wichita is all talk and no action. With five more games remaining against Wichita (two at home and three away) this rivalry will only get better.
– The points keep coming for Chad Costello as last night he had a multi point game for the eighth time in the last ten games. He now has 92 points and a 30 point lead in the ECHL scoring race. Not much of a race anymore as Costello is lapping the field.
– Aaron Gens is having a break out career year and with two more points last night (1 goal 1 assist) he now has forty points to lead all ECHL defensemen. He already has more goals (8), assists (32), points (40) and penalty minutes (170) than any season as a collegian or professional. He is also +25 in plus/minus to lead all Allen defensemen and is third among all ECHL defensemen.
– The next Allen Americans all time single season record to fall will be the record for power play goals which is held by Bruce Graham who had 16 in 2010-2011. Gary Steffes is currently second on the all time list with fifteen power play goals.
DID YOU KNOW: In the strange stat category Gary Steffes had two goals against Wichita last night and leads the ECHL in goals scored with 37. In second place is his teammate Chad Costello with 29 goals. The strange stat is Gary has not scored just one goal in a game for over a month. The last time he had just one goal was January 29. In fourteen straight games Steffes has had either no goals or two goals.