ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans finished their four-game series against the Kansas City Mavericks on Sunday afternoon with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory before a crowd of 1561 at the Allen Event Center. The sweep is the first time in team history Allen has won a four-game series at home. The Americans have earned 13 of a possible 14 points in April and find themselves tied for first place in the Western Conference.
It didn’t look good for the Americans yesterday. After a scoreless first period, Allen fell behind 3-1 by the midpoint of the second period and it looked like the grind of four games in five days was taking a toll. However, just as they did in game one of the series they mounted a comeback. Two goals late in the second period, one by Les Lancaster and one by Spencer Asuchak with 19 seconds remaining, tied the score 3-3 at the second intermission.
Allen finished the comeback with the only goal of the third period when a shot from the top of the faceoff circle by Matt Register deflected off Corey Mackin into the net at the 12:02 mark.
Kansas City had trouble pulling the goalie because Allen kept the puck in the offensive zone most of the last two minutes in the game. When the Mavericks were finally able to get an extra attacker on the ice with 32 seconds remaining, Allen was able to withstand the pressure.
Jake Paterson stopped 28 of 31 shots to improve his record to 8-2-1-0. His save percentage is .928. Jake has now played 669 minutes and needs 840 minutes played to qualify for the official ECHL stats. If he was qualified his .928 save percentage would rank him first in the league. FYI, Frank Marotte‘s save percentage is .918, and Justin Kapelmaster‘s is .912, so the Americans have a great trio of goalies.
Goal scorers in the Sunday matinee were Spencer Asuchak (9,10), Les Lancaster (13), and Corey Mackin (19).
The big concern for the Americans now is the status of Les Lancaster, who was injured shortly after his goal to cut the score to 3-2 late in the second period. I watched the replay several times when Lancaster was injured and it is clear he was cross-checked in the side/back area just above the pants where there is no protection. He immediately crumbled to the ice in pain. Players know the vulnerable spots and it makes you wonder if there was an intent to injure on the play. No penalty was called so it is unlikely the play will be reviewed by the league. Coach Steve Martinson told me Lancaster is day-to-day so that says to me he could be back soon.
Martinson also said this about Lancaster’s performance yesterday, “Les put everyone on his back when we were flat and trailing 3-1. He is the most valuable player in the league hands down.”
The Americans will now get ready for their lone road trip among a bunch of home games between March 22 – May 11. The totals are 19 home games and three away games. The three away games are this week in Rapid City with games on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Allen started this long homestand losing two of three games to Rapid City so there is an opportunity for payback this week. The team leaves tomorrow to fly to Rapid City.
With Lancaster unlikely to play on Wednesday, the Americans are down to just five healthy defensemen. The team has a surplus of forwards and Dyson Stevenson could return at any time. It makes sense that Martinson has been on the phone trying to trade a forward for a defenseman for the upcoming road trip to Rapid City. As I have said before he has many other irons in the fire for big and small transactions to improve the roster but the need for a defenseman is now critical.
A big part of Allen’s success this season has been the depth. Allen played four lines this past weekend and all four were capable of scoring. In Allen’s last 10 wins (regulation and overtime) 10 different players have scored the game-winning goal. Now that is depth.
As predicted, the Western Conference standings were shaken up after Sunday action. Allen is now tied for first place and the three teams tied for last place have been separated. It seems like the three teams at the top are fighting for first place, the three teams at the bottom are trying to avoid last place and Utah is in the middle all by itself. Here are the standings:
.670 – Allen
.667 – Fort Wayne
.543 – Utah
.511 – Rapid City
.500 – Tulsa
.489 -Kansas City
Florida lost three straight games to Jacksonville over the weekend to see its point percentage drop to .688, which is still tops in the ECHL, but not by much. The Western Conference now has the second, third, and fourth-ranked teams in the ECHL in points percentage.
Did You Know?
Came across this stat while doing the ECHL Stats post this morning. Allen scores the first goal of the game more than any other team in the ECHL.
Scoring the first goal of the game is a big advantage when you consider the team that scores first earns 75% of the points when scoring first. Here are the ECHL teams with the highest and lowest percentage of games they score first:
Highest Percentage (50% plus)
61% – Allen
60% – Florida
55% – Wichita
53% – Jacksonville
50% – Indy
50% – Tulsa
Lowest Percentage (below 50%)
41% – Orlando
43% – Utah
43% – Rapid City
44% – Wheeling
47% – South Carolina
48% – Fort Wayne
49% – Kansas City
49% – Greenville