ALLEN, TX – In one of the more entertaining games of the season, the Allen Americans did most everything right and came away with a 6-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies before a Wednesday night crowd of 3250 at the Allen Event Center.
– The Americans scored first, held a 2-1 first intermission lead, scored six goals including a few highlight reel beauties, won the power play battle, held Utah to 31 shots, had fewer penalties than the Grizzlies, entertained two Utah players in the Allen bench and won the only fight of the game. It doesn’t get more entertaining than that.
– Allen’s offense was led by Alex Guptill who had a hat trick, scoring his 10th, 11th and 12th goals of the season. Guptill’s 12 goals (7 in Rapid City, 5 in Allen) ties him for the team lead with Bryan Moore. Olivier Archambault contributed two goals (8 & 9) and Joel Chouinard scored his fifth of the season to round out the scoring.
– After scoring a total of six goals in their previous four games (all losses), it was great to see the team snap the losing streak by scoring six goals.
– Here are the six Allen goals as captured by Sporfie:
Alex Guptill – Alex tips a shot from Bryan Moore that goes off a Utah player and trickles past goalie Kevin Carr. https://sporfie.app.link/FEA2TqVGBJ
Joel Chouinard – Great puck movement on the power play creates a lane for Joel and he buries the puck with Casey Pierro-Zabotel parked in front of the net. https://sporfie.app.link/aL0MFfTHBJ
Olivier Archambault – Allen fans have gotten used to what Olivier can do with the puck. Another example of undressing a couple of defenders. Notice how Eric Roy jumped up on the rush and got the puck to Archambault. https://sporfie.app.link/2XGLFFTKBJ
Alex Guptill – A turnover by Utah in their defensive zone proves costly as Guptill scores his second goal of the game. https://sporfie.app.link/tQWGnT5KBJ
Olivier Archambault – You have to watch this clip several times to appreciate what Olivier does on this play. Fake a shot, fake a pass and slide the puck into a wide-open net. As Steve Martinson said about this goal after the game, “It isn’t anywhere near as easy as he makes it look.” https://sporfie.app.link/uPHmqLCMBJ
Alex Guptill – Notice the patience on Guptill’s third goal of the night which was a 2 on 1 with Pierro-Zabotel. Alex fakes a pass and the defenseman goes to Casey. Guptill buries the puck just inside the goal post. https://sporfie.app.link/ZK6w4Y9NBJ
Post Game Quotes from Steve Martinson and Players
“A lot of really nice plays in the game tonight that made for entertaining hockey but in some instances we tried to make plays that weren’t there and turned the puck over when dumping it in would have been a better choice.”…..Steve Martinson
“Archambault has some unbelievably quick hands. I don’t ever remember seeing a guy as quick with his feet and his hands in this league. It is fun to watch him play.”…..Martinson
“We moved the puck around on the power play really well tonight and could have had a couple of more goals. We had good puck possession and missed a few shots.”…..Martinson
“You can’t turn the puck over that many times and expect to win a game. We have to play smarter and it starts with taking care of the puck.”…..Utah coach Tim Branham
“Once again we outshot the opposition, but we gave up too many scoring opportunities.”…..Branham
“We needed this win, it was good to end our losing streak and good to see the offense come to life. We got off to a fast start and never let off the gas.”…..Gary Steffes
“We came together as a team and scored on the chances when we had them. It was great to get a win at home. I think this is the start of something special for our team. Can’t wait to keep moving forward as a group.”…..Bryan Moore
“I think I just had some good chemistry with our line, Moore did a really good job with the puck tonight and Chewy opened up a lot of ice. He was throwing a lot of body out there and worked really hard so it was good to see us get rewarded.”….Alex Guptill talking about his hat trick
“We don’t necessarily have all the toughest guys in the league, but we have a lot of willing guys and it is nice to see everyone stand up for each other. I think that builds camaraderie and you know it keeps the opponents off our backs if they know everyone is going to come in every single time.”…..Guptill
– The Americans will leave tomorrow for Tulsa where they will play the Oilers on Friday and Saturday night before returning to Allen to take on the Oilers Monday afternoon (1:05 pm) at the annual MLK day game.
– David Makowski had two assists and was a +4 in the game last night. His plus/minus is now +20 which leads the ECHL in plus/minus for defensemen. He also leads all ECHL defensemen in points per game (1.07). Makowski will play in both games against Tulsa this weekend before he heads to Indianapolis for the All-Star game on Monday afternoon.
– Dalton Thrower has completed his three-game suspension and will be back in the lineup this weekend. Martinson confirmed Gary Steffes will be heading back home and his day job after the game on Monday.
– Allen gained no ground in the Mountain Division standings as Colorado, Wichita and Idaho all won last night. Colorado leads the division with 56 points, Idaho and Wichita are tied for second place with 47 points and Allen holds down fourth place with 43 points.
– Casey Pierro-Zabotel had two assists last night and is now tied for the league lead in scoring with 41 points. He also leads the league in assists (31).
DID YOU KNOW: Specials team play is such an important key to success and has always been a strength for the Allen Americans. They led their division in power play and penalty kill percentages in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Last season they were they were second in the division in both. Halfway through the 2017-18 season the story is different. Here are the special teams percentages for the Mountain Division. Definitely an area for improvement the last half of the season for the Americans.
19.8% – Colorado
19.4% – Idaho
19.0% – Allen
17.8% – Wichita
17.5% – Rapid City
12.4% – Tulsa
12.1% – Utah
84.3% – Idaho
83.5% – Colorado
82.9% – Rapid City
82.6% – Wichita
82.0% – Tulsa
81.8% – Allen
80.6% – Utah