ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans gave up a 2-0 third-period lead but managed to come away with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Rapid City Rush last night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

The game turned out to be a goalie duel as both goalies made numerous quality saves to keep their teams in the game. For their effort, Allen goalie C.J. Motte was selected as the #1 star of the game and Rapid City goalie, Michael Bitzer, was the #2 star.

– Scoring first and winning the first period is always a key to victory and Allen accomplished both on a power play goal from Braylon Shmyr with 21 seconds remaining in the opening period. For Shmyr it was his sixth goal of the season which has him tied for the league lead. Chad Butcher, playing his first game of the season after coming off the injured reserve list and Thomas Frazee, returning to the lineup after missing the last four games with an injury, got the assists.

– The Americans took a 2-0 lead early in the second period (4:09) on Zach Pochiro‘s third goal of the season assisted by Frazee and Shmyr. Allen took the 2-0 lead into the second intermission.

– Early in the third period (5:49), Rapid City would cut the Allen lead in half. With Alex Breton and Dalton Thrower in the penalty box, Andrew Radjenovic made the score 2-1 on a 5-on-3 power play goal. Midway through the third period (11:50), Adam Marsh scored the equalizer on an unassisted goal off a turnover in the slot. Both teams had opportunities to win the game but the goalies made grade-A stops to send the game to overtime.

– Allen dominated play in the overtime outshooting the Rush 9-2 but despite some quality chances, could not score. The Americans, who lost their only other shootout this season, scored twice in the shootout to come away with the win.

Rapid City chose to go first and both shooters (Shmyr for Allen) in the first round missed. In the second round, Pierre-Luc Mercier missed and Allen took the lead when Dante Salituro, who played with Rapid City last season, scored. That meant Marsh, the third shooter for the Rush, had to score in the final round of the shootout to keep the game alive, which he did. The game-winner came when Butcher, playing his first game of the season, made a great move to score and give the Americans a 3-2 victory and two very important points in the standings.

– The two teams will be back in action tonight (8:05 pm Allen time) for game two of the three-game series.

– After not having a power play goal in their first four games (0-19) Allen has scored on the power play in the last two going 3-11 (27.3%). It will be a big plus if the Americans can keep that streak going.

– Allen scored the first goal of the game which was only the second time in six games that has happened. The Americans are 2-0 when scoring first.

– Allen outshot Rapid City 43-37 which is real progress.  Going into the game Allen was ranked #14 in shots per game averaging 31.60. In shots allowed, Allen was last in the league allowing an average of 44.00 shots per game. Giving up 37 shots is real progress especially because the game went into overtime.

– Injuries continue to plague the Americans as Casey Pierro-Zabotel left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. It would be a huge loss for Allen if Casey is out of the lineup for any length of time. According to Martinson, Pierro-Zabotel will be evaluated by the team doctor on Tuesday after the team returns to Allen.

– Shmyr is tied for the lead league in goals (6) and leads all rookies in goals and points (10). He also has the longest current road streak in the league in goals and points (4 games). Shmyr has twice as many goals as anyone else on the team even though and is ranked third on the team in shots taken with just 16. His shooting percentage is off the charts at 37.5%. As a team, Allen’s shooting percentage is 8.5%.

– Motte is second in the ECHL in minutes played (306) and first in saves (186). Motte’s save percentage last night was .946 (35-37) and his save percentage for the season (five games) is now .921. Of the 16 ECHL goalies that have played in four games and over 200 minutes, Motte’s .921 save percentage ranks second.

Rematch Preview

– Allen and Rapid City are back at it tonight (8:05 pm) and the Americans need to build on their win last night. They scored first, had the lead after the first period, had a power-play goal, outshot the Rush and gave up only two goals. One of the two goals was on the power play but it was a 5-on-3. If Allen can accomplish all of those things tonight they will win again tonight.

– Two areas for improvement are turnovers which led to one of the Rush goals last night and stick penalties. Allen’s six penalties last night were slashing, tripping, cross-checking, slashing, hooking and tripping. The referee called seven slashing penalties in the game so players need to be aware he enforces that rule to the letter.

– The referee scheduled tonight is Jeff Parker (#22). The linesmen will be Kilian McNamara (#90) and Cade Bloomenrader (#91). This is the same crew that worked the game last night.

Around the ECHL

–  Some former Allen Americans scored goals last night. Mike Brodzinski had a goal in Orlando’s 3-0 win over Florida and Peter MacArthur scored in Adirondack’s 3-1 win over Maine. Chris Crane had a goal for Norfolk in their 5-2 loss to South Carolina and J.C. Campagna scored in a losing cause as Fort Wayne lost to Toledo 7-3.

– In the Mountain Division action last night Tulsa beat Kansas City 4-1 and Utah beat Idaho 3-2.

Here are the current Mountain Division standings with games played in parentheses:

9 points – Utah (5 games)
7 points – Tulsa (4 games)
6 points – Wichita (4 games)
5 points – Kansas City (4 games)
5 points – Allen (6 games)
5 points – Idaho (6 games)
3 points – Rapid City (5 games)

– The Jacksonville Icemen are the only team that hasn’t lost (4-0-0-0) and the Wheeling Nailers are the only team that hasn’t won (0-2-0-0).

– Florida finished #1 in the ECHL last season with a winning percentage of .778. They are off to a tough start this season ranked #22 with a winning percentage of .400. The other perennial playoff team that is having a rough start is Fort Wayne. The Komets were ranked #5 last season (.668) and are currently ranked #26 at .200.

– The Mountain Division is well represented at the top of the standings when looking at winning percentage with four teams in the top 10. Utah is #2 (.900), Tulsa is #3 (.875), Wichita is #5 (.750) and Kansas City is #9 (.625).

Did You Know?

After six games Allen’s 26.00 average penalty minutes per game is higher than any other season since the Americans joined the ECHL. Here are the numbers with the league ranking in parentheses:

2018-19:   26.00 (#1) – through six games
2017-18:   19.60 (#1)
2016-17:   19.89 (#1)
2015-16:   16.51 (#5)
2014-15:   22.83 (#1)