ALLEN, TX – For the record, the Allen Americans lost to the Missouri Mavericks yesterday by a score of 5-3 to split their four-game road trip 2-2. The game against the Mavericks was typical for the Americans this season as they gave up the first goal for the 10th time in 14 games. They were badly outplayed in the first period surrendering three goals, allowed another goal in the second period to go down 4-0 and then came storming back in the third period. Goals by Travis Brown (2), Spencer Asuchak (6) and Tanner Eberle (3) cut the score to 4-3 with over nine minutes left but the Americans could not get the equalizer. Allen outshot Missouri 22-2 in the third period and 38-25 for the game.
– Coach Steve Martinson is always coming up with unorthodox strategies and he did so again in this game. Trailing 4-1 in the third period the Americans had a five on three power play with over 11 minutes remaining in the game. Martinson opted to pull the goalie to create a 6-3 power play and it worked as Spencer Asuchak jammed home a rebound. Eberle scored a little over a minute later to make the score 4-3 and Allen missed several great chances down the stretch to tie the score before Missouri scored an empty net goal to seal the 5-3 victory.
– A look at goals scored by period this entire season gives you a good idea how the poor early starts have plagued the Americans. Allen has scored the first goal in just four games this season and are 4-0 in those games. Their opponents have scored first in 10 games and the Americans record in those games is 2-8. Allen has been outscored 20-11 in the first period, are even in the second period (11-11) and have outscored their opponents in the third period 21-16. Playing from behind has proven to be an Achilles’ heel for this team as third-period comebacks have come up short more often than not.
– So the Americans return to the Allen Event Center (AEC) for one game against Rapid City on Saturday, before finishing the month of November with six more road games. The Americans were 2-2 on the just completed road trip but the two wins don’t give you a lot of confidence the team has their poor play turned around. The first win was a 5-1 victory in Utah. Allen scored five goals but only generated 20 shots on goal, their lowest total of the season. They were outshot 41-20. The 21 shot difference was the highest of the season. In the Americans second win, also in Utah, they trailed the entire game, tied the score with less than four seconds remaining and won in a shootout after being outshot 7-2 in the overtime period. The two wins in Utah were important for sure but there was cause for concern in both of the victories. If it hadn’t been for the outstanding play of goalie Riley Gill both games in Utah could have had different outcomes.
– Coach Martinson was happy with this team when he put it together and felt it was one of the most talented he has had but he also is a believer that you can’t wait too long to make a change if the team isn’t performing. The season is now 20% completed and the team is two games below .500 and out of a playoff spot. Martinson has already made two moves, trading Rick Pinkston for Alex Guptill and releasing J.P. LaFontaine. You can be assured there are more on the way. He will get this turned around one way or another but he won’t stand pat with a losing team and hope all of a sudden they can flip a switch and start playing the right way.
– What exactly is needed to get things turned around? Is team speed a problem? Do they need to be quicker? Does there need to be more of a commitment to team defense? Do players need to be more committed to winning games than scoring points? These are all questions coach Martinson will be looking at as he considers roster changes.
– This has been mentioned many times in the past, and the team would never use it as an excuse, but Allen is one of very few teams that take a bus on these long road trips. The team has played four games in the past week and traveled over 3000 miles on the bus with one breakdown thrown in for good measure. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 hours on the bus. After the home game on Saturday, Allen will have six road games in 11 days and travel another 4500 bus miles including trips to Idaho and Utah. There really is such a thing as bus legs and with other teams flying on these long trips, it is a disadvantage to the Allen players. Over 7500 bus miles in the month of November with two trips out west is a bit much. It seems like it would be money well spent to fly the team in these situations.
DID YOU KNOW: How bad is this 6-8 start for the Americans. Under Steve Martinson, they have never had fewer than 10 wins after the first 14 games of a season.
Here are the records: