ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans extended their winning streak to four games last night beating the Idaho Steelheads 3-2. Allen has used a new formula in this winning streak and it worked again last night. The Americans scored first on an Adam Miller power-play goal just 78 seconds into the game. The Americans would never trail from that point forward.

– Two of the three Allen goals came on the power play. Special teams have been a big key in this turnaround by the Americans. Last night, Allen was 2-5 on the power play and they held Idaho scoreless on three power-play opportunities. Over this four-game win streak, Allen has had 20 power play opportunities while allowing only 13 to their opponents. In those four victories, Allen is 9-20 (45%) on the power play and 100% on the penalty kill (0-13). You are not going to lose very often with special team stats like that.

– The shots last night were 30-30. Allen has been in a pattern of keeping the shot totals close and also limiting the shots allowed. Allen is #25 in the ECHL in shots allowed per game (36.02). During this four-game win streak, the Americans have allowed 33, 28, 29 and 30 shots and have outshot their opponents 132-123. That is a far cry from what was happening earlier in the season.

– Goals scorers for Allen were Adam Miller (12), Joel Chouinard (5) and Zach Pochiro (23). Pochiro’s game-winning goal came on the power play at the 8:21 mark of the third period less than two minutes after C.J. Motte stopped Kale Kessy (who scored Idaho’s first two goals) on a penalty shot.

– The teams will take a break today before playing back to back games on Friday and Saturday.

Emerson Clark Assigned to Allen

One addition to the lineup for the weekend will be forward Emerson Clark, who has been assigned to Allen by the Toronto Marlies. Clark is under contract with the Marlies and has split the last four seasons between the AHL (95 games) and ECHL (104 games). Allen fans may remember last season Clark started the season in Jacksonville and had 22 points (8G, 14A) and 113 penalty minutes 19 games. In early December, he was signed by the San Jose Barracuda and spent the remainder of the season in the AHL. Clark is skilled, physical and not afraid to drop the gloves.

Steve Martinson hit a home run when he traded the rights to Olivier Archambault to the Orlando Solar Bears. Curt Gogol has already had an impact having played both forward and defense and stuck up for his teammates a couple of times. Defenseman Etienne Boutet played in his first game for Allen last night and will strengthen the defensive group. Finally, Martinson was able to flip the ECHL rights of Sam Jardine to Newfoundland and in return, the Toronto Marlies (Newfoundland’s AHL affiliate) have assigned Clark to Allen. Anytime you can get three quality players without giving up anyone on your roster that is quite a feat.

Standings Watch & Can Allen Make the Playoffs?

– Allen gained two more points last night in their quest to get out of last place in the Mountain Division. While the Americans were winning in Idaho, Rapid City was losing at home to Florida by a score of 4-0. Allen has won four straight, while fifth place Wichita has lost eight straight and sixth place Rapid City has lost nine of their last 10 games. Allen is now seven points out of sixth place, 10 points out of fifth place and 12 points from the final playoff spot.

– Allen has closed the gap in the standings a lot over the last week but the task at hand to make the playoffs is still quite daunting.

Here are the facts.

The lowest point total to make the Western Conference playoffs in the last four seasons (since Allen joined the ECHL) was 80, 80, 79 and 76. If you take the lowest total, (76 points by Wichita last year.) Allen currently has 28 points, so they will need to earn 48 points over their last 30 games to just reach 76 points which still may not be enough to make the playoffs. What it means is Allen’s record will have to be 24-6 or better the remainder of the season to make the playoffs.

– The top of the Mountain Division tightened up last night with Idaho losing to Allen and Tulsa beating Utah. Tulsa now leads with 50 points followed by Idaho with 49 and Utah with 48. Kansas City holds down the last playoff spot with 40 points.

Other Thoughts

– The countdown to 1000 wins for Steve Martinson now stands at eight. The odds are becoming greater this will happen at home. Between February 15 and the end of March, Allen plays just one road game. The Americans have 10 games between now and February 15th.

– Allen has four wins in four games in the last six days. At the start of the season, Allen went from October 12 to November 30 (20 games) and had a total of four victories. Now that is progress.

Did You Know?

Allen’s record this season with C.J. Motte in goal is 11-11-0-2. C.J. has won six of his last eight starts. When Motte is not in goal Allen’s record is 2-16-0-0.

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