ALLEN, Texas – I returned home yesterday from a great week of pheasant hunting in North Dakota. It is hard to believe how much fun you can have in cold (-7), windy (25 MPH), and snowy (8″ with drifts up to two feet) weather. I always enjoy spending time with a lifelong hunting buddy and his amazing black lab, Jett.
– I arrived home in time to see the Allen Americans earn their 17th win of the season with a decisive 5-1 win over the Wichita Thunder before a Tuesday night crowd of 3593 at the Allen Event Center. With the win, Allen retains its top position in the ECHL with 37 points.
– Allen played a solid game offensively, defensively and on special teams. The Americans scored five goals on their first 17 shots of the game and gave up just one goal late in the game. In his pregame interview, coach Steve Martinson said a key to the game was to get the power play going. The plan worked as Allen’s first goal was scored on the power play. Tyler Sheehy found a seam and made a cross-ice pass to Brett Pollock for a one-timer. The Americans penalty kill was perfect, killing all three of Wichita’s power plays.
– Goals scorers for Allen were Brett Pollock (9), Olivier Archambault (10), Alex Breton (3), Josh Brittain (5), and Gabe Gagne (13). Five goals by five different players prove again the strength of this team is depth.
– As frequently happens against Wichita, tempers flared early and often. Both teams were assessed 34 penalty minutes which included eight fighting majors and eight roughing penalties. It was the highest penalty minute total of the season for Allen. The four fights last night were especially unique for the Americans. In their first 23 games, they had a total of five fights.
– Jake Paterson stopped 29 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .967. With the win, Jake’s record is now 9-2-2-0.
Steve Martinson’s Postgame Comments
“We had almost as many fights tonight as we have had all season.”
“It was nice to get the five goals but I wish we had gotten the shutout. I didn’t like the way we defended their goal. A couple of our forwards were weak on the play and gave Wichita the opportunity to shoot the puck hard from the top of the circle. I thought Paterson deserved a shutout and it would have been nice to help him a little bit more to get it.”
“The guy who has been making the best power play passes is Tyler Sheehy. On the power-play goal he showed deception and froze the guy in the middle and made that seam pass to Pollock. Sometimes we try to make the hard play when we are on the power play rather then take what is available.”
“Lancaster and Ottenbreit did not play for Iowa tonight so we will see if we get one of them back.”
“Jordan Topping just got back on Sunday and hadn’t skated for eight days but he will be ready to go on the road trip.”
– Congrats to Josh Atkinson, who completed his 25-game PTO and was signed this week to an SPC (standard player contract) by Iowa. It is unlikely he will see any time in Allen this season. It is a different story with Matt Register, who was just signed to another 25-game tryout contract (PTO). That makes it more likely Register will be in Allen at some point this season.
– What a difference a year makes. Allen got their 17th win last night. Last season the Americans didn’t get their 17th win until February 17th. That is 69 days earlier for the 17th win this season.
– Steve Martinson finished last season with 1003 career wins. Add the 17 from this season and Martinson is now at 1020 wins. He needs eight more wins to pass John Brophy (1027) to move into second place on the all-time win list by a professional coach. It will take a few more years to pass #1, Scotty Bowman, who is at 1244 wins.
– South Carolina beat Orlando 2-1 last night and have been the class of the ECHL thus far. The Stingrays are winning with defense, allowing just 44 goals in 21 games. South Carolina has a winning percentage of .857 which far exceeds the single-season record of .806 set by the Louisiana IceGators in 2001-02.
– Alex Guptill still leads the ECHL in plus/minus (+17). Jack Sadek leads all ECHL rookies in plus minus (+13) and is third among all ECHL defensemen.
– Tyler Sheehy has at least one assist in every home game since November 8th. He is tied for the current home streak for games with an assist at five games. In those five games, Tyler has nine assists. He is now tied for the team lead in points (24) with Gabe Gagne and leads the team with 16 assists.
Did You Know?
Allen’s record against Wichita this season is now 3-0-1-0. The Americans have dominated Wichita since joining the ECHL, not to mention beating the Thunder in the 2013 CHL championship. Allen’s record against Wichita over the last five seasons is (41-12-2-2), which is a winning percentage of .754.
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