ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans beat the Missouri Mavericks 4-1 last night before a sparse crowd of 2664 at the Allen Event Center (AEC).

Allen used the same formula last night as they have while winning four of their last five games. Physical play, defense first, solid special teams, a good first period and great goaltending. Here is the run-down:

– Allen has been outscored in the first period this season 26-16 but has not allowed a first period goal in their last five games. Last night, Allen outshot Missouri 14-9 in the first period.

– Allen scored the first goal last night for the fifth consecutive game. They have won four of the five games.

– The Americans were 1-5 on the power play against the Mavericks. They have scored a power play goal in their last four games going 5-17 (29.4%). In the last week, they have raised their overall power play percentage which was wallowing in the seven percent range to 11.1%. Another way to state it is the Americans had six power play goals in their first 20 games. They have had five power play goals in the last four games.

– The penalty kill continued its great play. Missouri was able to get one power play goal but they had seven opportunities. In the five games against the Mavericks this year, Allen is 2-27  (92.3%) on the penalty kill. The penalty kill is slowly improving and is now ranked #15 in the league at 83.0%.

Riley Gill continued his outstanding play in goal, stopping 29 of 30 shots. The only goal allowed was a power play in the third period. In Allen’s last four wins Riley has a save percentage of 1.00, 1.00, .935 and .967. That averages out to an unbelievable .973. Coach Steve Martinson was also able to get Jamie Murray, who was just assigned back to Allen, into the game for seven minutes in the third period. Jamie had not seen any game action since November 19.

– Coach Martinson said the veteran/core players needed to step up to turn things around and they certainly have over the last five games. Spencer Asuchak, Chad Costello, Greger Hanson and Gary Steffes have accounted for eight of the 12 goals scored in the last five games.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Spencer Asuchak (10), Derek Mathers (3), Gary Steffes (4) and Chad Costello (8). Asuchak’s goal was on the power play on a great pass from Gary Steffes. Mathers scored from a sharp angle after an Aaron Gens shot from the blue line went off Jake Marchment who was parked in front of the net. Steffes got a typical goal for him as he got his stick on a rebound right in front of the net. Costello scored 21 seconds after Missouri had cut the Allen lead to 3-1. He took a pass from Asuchak and was all alone in front. He showed great patience, faked a shot and drew the goalie out of position.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS

– It was nice getting the first goal on the power play. It was a good pass by Steffes and a great shot by Asuchak. I also liked that second goal to start the third period.

– There were a lot of positives tonight even though I didn’t feel we played hard enough in the first period. We were turning over pucks and didn’t get some pucks out on the wall on a couple of shifts.

– It was nice to see Makowski one time a few of those pucks. If we keep getting those one timers with traffic in front of the net it will be productive.

– I had a trade today with Reading. Matt Willows didn’t really want to be here and I didn’t feel he was a good fit. We are getting Zach Hall and Willows will be assigned to Reading by San Jose. Hall is a rookie who hasn’t played much because he was injured in a car accident before the season. He is a guy that can carry the puck and make plays. In his last two years in juniors, he had 70 points (16 goals 54 assists) and 81 points (24 goals 57 assists). Sometimes when you have a lot of scorers you don’t have guys that can carry the puck and make plays to help the scorers put the puck in the net. That is what I hope Hall will provide.

– Derek Mathers has been a real good addition for us. He is a positive guy in the locker room, he is a team guy, he was the captain of his junior team and is the toughest guy in the league. He just overpowers people when he fights. He has a good shot and scored some goals in juniors.

Eric Roy and Travis Brown are still a ways away from playing. I think Brown will be ready before Roy. Mike Brodzinski is going back to San Jose tomorrow. Jason Fram was recalled by San Jose today but he is actually leaving to go to college at the University of Alberta. The way the rule works is if he joins the college team prior to January 1 he can play hockey right away and doesn’t have to wait a year.  I would never try and talk a player out of going to school.

– We will play this weekend with five defensemen and 11 forwards. Everyone available will be in the lineup. Travis Brown will be eligible to come off the 21 day IR after this weekend.

– We will practice tomorrow and then leave early Friday morning for Wichita.

– We have to help get Murray back to where he was at last year. We are playing better in front of our goalies so that will help. I would expect he will get the start in one of the games in Wichita.

OTHER COMMENTS

– Had the chance to spend a few minutes with Harrison Ruopp‘s dad after the game. He is a third generation farmer from Saskatchewan and when things slow down in the winter he and his wife have some time to travel to watch their sons play hockey. Harrison’s “little” brother plays junior hockey for the Prince George Cougars who are coached by Richard Matvichuk. Sam Ruopp is a 20-year-old defenseman, a little bigger than his old brother at 6’4″ and 195 pounds and is the captain of his team. He was the fifth round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 NHL draft. So while Harrison’s dad was in Allen last night watching the Americans 4-1 win over Missouri, his mom was in Prince George, British Columbia to watch Sam’s team beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-1. Sam didn’t have a point but did have a fight in the game. Prince George is leading their division with a 21-7-2 record. Thus is the life of hockey parents flying around to watch their kids play.

– Thanks to Tommy Daniels for giving me the opportunity to be part of the TV/radio broadcast last night with a remote microphone while watching the game from my glass seat right on the ice. I also got to do the on-ice interview after each period. This all happened because Tommy’s sidekick, Maurice (Mo) Fitzgerald, was sick and couldn’t make the game. I had a great time and it was fun to do but about all I can say is that I come from the part of the broadcasting class that made the upper half possible. Please get well quickly Mo, we need you back. Thanks to everyone for sending me kind messages even with all of the microphone static I created with my rookie mistakes. You know you are part of a family when folks say good job, even when it wasn’t.

DID YOU KNOW: With the win last night Allen made it back to .500 which is great but not where the Americans want to be. The team has not won more than two games in a row all season. They will get that chance in Wichita on Friday.

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