ALLEN, TX – Last night was a typical game for the Allen Americans against division rival Wichita. The Americans prevailed but it was a hard fought game that wasn’t decided until Allen scored an empty net goal with 49 seconds left in the game. The final score was 5-3 before a great crowd of 5671 at the Allen Event Center (AEC) on Star Wars Night. Allen improved their record to 8-0 against Wichita this season and they still have six more games to play (four home, two away).
– Goal scorers for Allen were Gary Steffes (15), Jonathan Parker (10), Greger Hanson (11), Mike Gunn (1) and Chris Crane (13). Here is a quick recap of each goal:
Steffes – J.P. Lafontaine made a great no look backhand pass to a wide open Steffes at the side of the net. Gary made no mistake going top shelf.
Parker – Aaron Gens made a great pass to LaFontaine in the slot who took a shot that Thunder goalie Grant Rollheiser stopped but Jonathan Parker was all alone at the goal mouth. Parker had time to shoot, get the rebound, shoot again and put the puck in the net.
Hanson – Hanson and Chris Crane executed a great give and go play with Crane banking a pass off the boards to a streaking Hanson. Greger made no mistake beating the goalie short side.
Gunn – Mike Gunn was headed to the bench for a change when he saw a pass from Chad Costello headed to the point. Gunn changed directions and fired a wrist shot that found its way in the net. It was Gunn’s first goal as a member of the Allen Americans. If you look closely on the replay you can see David Makowski already over the boards when Gunn reverses course to meet the puck at the point.
Crane – One of the few times you will see a player get credit for a goal without the puck going in the net. Crane was unabated to the empty net when he was hacked down by Wichita defenseman Landon Oslanski. Rather than awarding a penalty shot the rule calls for the awarding of a goal in that situation.
– Kale Kerbashian seems to have big scoring nights every time he returns to the AEC and last night was no exception. He got Wichita back in the game after they were trailing 2-0 early in the second period. Kale muscled his way through two Allen players and skated right to the net. Joel Rumpel stopped the first shot but Kerbashian stuffed in the rebound. Kale assisted on the other two goals Wichita scored in the game. For his effort (1 goal, 2 assists) Kerbashian was selected the #2 star of the game.
– Jonathan Parker was selected the games #1 star and Mike Gunn was the #3 star.
– My team Sin Bin colleague Kimberly Sauer has a great photo gallery of last night’s game, give it a look, here: https://thesinbin.net/photos-allen-americans-vs-wichita-thunder-020616/
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– Tonight was a hard fought, well earned win. There is a lot of history between Allen and Wichita and they always play us tough. The game tonight was no exception.
– Grant Rollheiser has had some great games against us over the years. He made two or three saves tonight that looked like sure goals. The save he made on Stevenson was unbelievable.
– On the disallowed goal the referee said our player could have avoided interfering with the goalie even though he was pushed.
– We leave Monday for Alaska and three games with the Aces on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. We have been on a pretty good run recently getting points in 11 of our last 13 games. We need to keep improving as we move toward the playoffs.
– Allen is now 8-0 against Wichita and has out scored the Thunder 32-18 in those eight victories but Wichita has the edge in shots on goal 255-251.
– Referee Andrew Wilk called just three penalties in the game, all in the first period. It was definitely a “let the boys play” type of game. Wilk called off an Allen goal saying a player interfered with the goalie but replay clearly shows the player (Casey Pierro-Zabotel) was checked into the goalie by a Wichita player.
– The Star Wars specialty jerseys were auctioned after the game. One of the best received specialty jerseys of all time. The jersey that went for the most money was that of captain Chad Costello which went for $1300.
– With the win last night Allen now has 59 points. Only three teams have more points than the Americans; Missouri (73), Florida (63) and Manchester (63).
– In other Central Division action last night Missouri beat Colorado 2-1 and Tulsa beat Utah 3-1. Here are the current standings with games played in parentheses:
73 points – Missouri (43 games)
59 points – Allen (47 games)
48 points – Tulsa (43 games)
28 points – Wichita (47 games)
– Finally, I want to thank Maurice Fitzgerald for his play by play call on the Wichita broadcast last night. Doing play by play is always difficult but to do it with little experience, in new surroundings, with technical difficulties out of your control and be as calm, cool and collected as Maurice was in the booth last night was above and beyond the call of duty. It was a pleasure to share the booth with him for the night. Thanks to all of the Wichita fans for their patience as I know you missed having Jason Mals call the game. Jason made the right life choice in taking his seven-year old daughter to their first father-daughter dance. As for the “Mo and Barry Show,” I think we are one and done. By the way, the best compliment of the night was from a Wichita fan who said, “You guys sounded excited when Wichita scored, appreciate that.”
DID YOU KNOW: With the large crowd last night the Allen Americans are now averaging 4641 per game which ranks them #10 in the ECHL. Allen is averaging 545 more per game than last year. Only Toledo (615) has a bigger year over year increase than the Americans.