Last night at the Allen Event Center a crowd of 3883 got to see one of the most dramatic come from behind victories in Americans’ history, as the Allen defeated the Tulsa Oilers 5-4 in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead. The series now switches to Tulsa for games three and four on Friday and Saturday night.
How dramatic was the win? Other than the come from behind overtime win in the seventh game of the 2012-2013 championship game the comeback last night was the best ever. There were many lessons learned last night for the players and the fans.
Here is a list:
– Don’t ever give up on this very skilled team. With the score 3-0 after the first period some of the Allen faithful were having doubts with comments like the penalties cost us this game and this is too big of a hole to dig out of. After Tulsa made the score 4-0 midway through the third period the text messages started rolling in with comments like we are done, they don’t have the jump like last night and I think they thought this series was going to be easy.
– This team has so much offensive fire power they never give up on themselves. When Spencer Asuchak finally got the first goal for Allen with less than five minutes left in the second period it was game on from that point. When Konrad Abeltshauser cut the lead to 4-2 less than two minutes later on a power play goal it was obvious Allen would be flying in the third period.
– The third period and overtime were as dominating a performance as you will see. Goals were 3-0 Allen only because Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr made some outstanding saves. Shots on goal were 29-7 in third period and overtime and for the entire game were 56-30.
– What is going make Allen tough to play against in the playoffs is depth. Scoring can come from all three lines and all of the defensive pairings.
– The Americans came back to win the game but that won’t happen every night with a 4-0 deficit. There were a lot of mistakes by the veteran players on the team that allowed Tulsa to take the big lead. This will have to be cleaned up going forward.
– There is nothing in sport more exciting than watching a hockey game like the one last night. It was not a huge crowd but there was plenty of noise and the AEC kept getting louder and louder with each comeback goal. Even the fans that are always quiet and reserved were going nuts by the end of that game.
– Sudden death overtime goals are always great but the one last night was extra special. The most important part of the play was made by a guy that got no credit in the box score. Justin Baker blocked a shot in front of Joel Rumpel which created an odd man rush for the Americans. A pretty tic tac toe pass from Dyson Stevenson to Konrad Abeltshauser to Greger Hanson who put the puck in the net with his league leading tenth game winning goal this year.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– I liked the way that game ended a whole lot better than they way it started.
– The way we had the momentum going after we came back from a 4-0 deficit and tied the game I could not see us losing that game. We haven’t been the best in overtimes this year but these overtimes are five on five which are good for us.
– We had some guys step up big time in the comeback. The Costello cross ice pass for the Steffes goal just as the power play expired to make the score 4-3 was huge.- The game winner was a fabulous three on one play. Tulsa had a little bit of an odd man rush but Baker blocked the shot and we came back on an odd man rush as their guys got caught. We jumped up on the play and it was perfectly executed by Stevenson, Abeltshauser and Hanson.- We have to learn from this game. The good thing is you learn a lesson in game two so you don’t learn it in a game seven. Obviously I didn’t think we were ready to play and they were determined and got those two power play goals. The flip side is we were out shooting them 10-2. We took two undisciplined penalties which gave them a long five on three power play.
– On the fourth Tulsa goal we had four veteran guys all make mistakes on the same play. We turned the puck over, we had guys out of position, we didn’t back each other up in the neutral zone, we forced the puck up the middle and ten seconds later it is in our net.
– Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes in a game that was a great comeback. It was a big character win for the guys and they have to feel really good about themselves. I noticed they weren’t complaining after we got down 4-0, nobody quit, they just went back to work and it was a story book ending.
– We are up 2-0 in the series and we will take tomorrow off and then get back at it in Tulsa on Friday and Saturday. We are leaving for Tulsa a day early rather than on game day so we will head up there tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.
– I changed the goalie on that one power play to give Costello a little rest as he had been on the ice for probably 40 seconds. It worked out because he stayed on the ice the entire power play and then made that cross ice pass to Steffes as the power play expired.
– My plan is to rotate the goalies and give them both a chance to play and see where things go. Riley Gill will play on Friday.
– Congrats to Gary Steffes who scored his 50th goal of the season last night. Quite an accomplishment given he has never had more than 22 goals in a season going all the way back to his junior days in 2004-2005 with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.
It had to be a long ride home for the Tulsa team after having a 4-0 lead and not being able to closeout the game. It also diminished two great performances by Kevin Carr and Drew Fisher. Fisher scored the first three goals of the game on two power play goals and a breakaway for first period natural hat trick. Rookie goalie Carr was great in goal in a losing cause facing 56 Allen shots.
The post season awards continue as the Defensemen of the Year was announced yesterday and that went to Mike Little of the Florida Everblades. Congrats to Aaron Gens who was one of the five finalist for the award.
If you thought it would be a day off for Chad Costello with the defensemen being honored yesterday it was not to happen. The ECHL also announced yesterday the player of the month and you guessed it, Chad Costello got the honor for the second time this season. The Costello daily award show should get a break today as the the ECHL will announce Goaltender of the Year. The last and biggest post season award will be announced Friday when the ECHL will let everyone know who wins the Most Valuable Player Award. It just might be another Chad Costello awards day.
In the only other game last night the #1 seed in the Pacific Division, the Idaho Steelheads, had their hands full but came away with a 3-2 overtime win against the Utah Grizzlies to take a 1-0 lead in that series. Two more series kick off tonight with Wheeling at Toledo and Colorado at Ontario. The final four series will start on Friday.
DID YOU KNOW: Chris Valicevic, a defenseman from Mount Clemens, Michigan who played his college hockey at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota won the ECHL Defenseman of the Year award for four straight years from 1996-1999 playing for the Louisiana IceGators. He never missed a game in those four years and his point totals were 94,69,92 and 92.