ALLEN, TX – Sunday afternoon’s tilt with the Jacksonville Icemen was the last of a four-game swing through the South Division and the first three ended in losses.
The first loss came on Tuesday in Atlanta (3-2) where the Americans really did snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Allen scored a go-ahead goal with 22 seconds remaining in the game only to turn around and allow the Gladiators to tie the game with less than a second left. Atlanta went on to win in a shootout. The Americans then went to South Florida and got waxed by the Everblades 4-0 on Friday and 4-1 on Saturday.
– Allen had to travel all night just to get from South Florida to Jacksonville, arriving at their hotel at 5:00 am. After three disappointing losses, the Americans had to get ready for their third game in 43 hours and 30 minutes. To make matters worse, the Jacksonville Icemen were coming into the game well rested and riding a three-game win streak. Jacksonville had played just one game over the weekend and it was at home. They beat Atlanta 3-1 Saturday night.
– The Americans put in a gutsy performance against Jacksonville and came away with a 3-1 victory and two big points to end the road trip.
– It didn’t look good for Allen as they took two penalties 38 seconds apart early in the first period to give Jacksonville a long 5-on-3 opportunity. The penalty kill unit and Jeremy Brodeur did a good job and killed off the penalties. The Icemen had a 10-0 shot advantage before Allen got their first shot on goal nine minutes into the first period. It looked like another long game for the Americans but everything changed at the 14:37 mark when Casey Pierro-Zabotel put in a rebound off a Colby McAuley shot. It was Casey’s 14th goal of the season. Scoring that first goal was huge and even though they were outshot 15-3 in the first period the Americans took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
– How big was scoring that first goal? Allen hadn’t accomplished that against Atlanta or Florida and lost all three games. Their record when scoring first is 20-4-1-0 so that first goal was huge. Having the first period lead was also a good sign as the Americans are 18-4-1-0 when leading after the first period.
Allen played a great second period outshooting Jacksonville 11-4. They padded their lead to 2-0 on another rebound goal. Miles Liberati took a shot from the point that went off Alex Guptill‘s stick to Zach Pochiro who was at the side of the goal. Zach put it in the net for his 11th goal of the season. That is 11 goals in 21 games for Pochiro. At that pace, if Zach had not been injured he would be pushing 30 goals by now.
– When Allen took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after the second period it was a very big indicator of a win. Allen’s record when leading after the second period is 19-2-0-1.
– Jacksonville made the score 2-1 with a goal at the 7:02 mark of the third period but Bryan Moore scored his 15th goal of the season at 13:56 to give Allen its two-goal margin back. The Icemen had five shots on goal in the last minute of play when they had a 6-on-4 power play but Brodeur came up big and Allen earned their 3-1 win. Brodeur stopped 32 of 33 shots in the game for a save percentage of .970.
David Makowski assisted on the first goal and was +1, Bryan Moore had a goal, an assist, was +2 and the #3 star of the game, Casey Pierro-Zabotel had the first goal of the game and was +1 and Eric Roy had the only assist on Moore’s goal and was +1.
– Here is the game recap from the Jacksonville Icemen: https://www.jacksonvilleicemen.com/news/allen-holds-off-icemen-sunday/
– Zach Hall took a hit late in the game and had trouble getting off the ice. Zach has had trouble staying healthy this season playing in only 23 of Allen’s 51 games. Zach just returned to the lineup this weekend after sitting out with an injury since the end of December. No official word from the team but it looks like Zach will be out of the line up again with an injury.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS
“It was a painful start to the game when they had a 10-0 shot advantage.”
“Getting that first goal was big and we definitely got better as the game progressed.”
“We needed our goalie to be sharp and Jeremy Brodeur was certainly that today.”
“It has been a long trip and it will be good to get home.”
– The Americans climbed on the bus right after the game for the 1000 mile trip back to Allen. They were expected to arrive back in Allen around 10:30 this morning.
– Allen will have a lot of downtime the next three weeks as they will only play on Fridays and Saturdays. Next weekend is at home against Utah, the following weekend (February 23 & 24) they are in Kansas City and the next weekend (March 2 & 3) they are at home against Rapid City. You add it all up and the Americans play six games in 23 days.
– The Fort Wayne Komets are 10-1-1 over the last 12 games but got beat yesterday by as good as a goalie performance as you will ever see. Quad City Mallards goalie C.J. Motte made 60 saves during regulation and overtime and then stopped all three shootout participants to lead the Mallards to a 4-3 win. Here is the full story on an amazing performance by Motte from Blake Sebring of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: https://www.news-sentinel.com/sports/2018/02/11/mallards-c-j-motte-steals-a-win-from-komets/
– Wichita lost their fifth straight game yesterday when they were shutout by Toledo 1-0. The Walleye are the hottest team in the league right now having won eight straight. The only goal of the game came with less than four minutes remaining. Here is a game recap: https://www.toledoblade.com/Pro/2018/02/11/Walleye-blank-Wichita-1-0.html
– There is still a lot of buzz about the line brawl started by Kansas City’s Garrett Klotz in Toledo on Saturday night. Here is a story from the Toledo Blade with their point of view on the incident and what they think should happen to Klotz. idBriggs/2018/02/11/ECHL-needs-to-boot-Kansas-City-goon-out-of-league.html
– If you haven’t seen the full interview with Toledo defenseman Kevin Tansey about the line brawl on Saturday it is at the bottom of this story and worth taking a look at. Kevin played in Kansas City last season as a rookie and was the Mavericks representative at the ECHL All-Star game. You rarely see a player being so candid on the record. https://www.wtol.com/story/37477338/line-brawl-inc-goalies-wild-fight-at-saturdays-walleye-game
– Klotz will obviously get suspended by the league but it remains to be seen how severe this incident is seen. To me, it is not as severe as the Ben Wilson incident last season. The cross checks were not to the head and there weren’t as many. Wilson is the captain of the team, plays regularly and has been in Kalamazoo for five years. On the other hand, Klotz doesn’t get many shifts and has played for many teams over the years including three different teams this season. His only role is to be an enforcer and he is a repeat offender. Sometimes these things come down to where you sit is where you stand so no matter what the ECHL decides some will think it is not enough games and others will think it is too severe.
– Despite going 1-2-0-1 on their road trip to the South Division the Americans are coming home having passed Wichita for third place. Allen is two points ahead of Wichita and seven points ahead of fifth place Tulsa.
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have already been shutout twice as many times this season than any other season since joining the ECHL in 2014. Here are the shutouts by year both home and away.
*2017-18 – 4 (3 away, 1 home) *=Thru 51 games
2016-17 – 2 (1 away, 1 home)
2015-16 – 2 (1 away, 1 home)
2014-14 – 1 (0 away, 1 home)