It wasn’t a surprise the Allen Americans lost game one of their Mountain Division finals to the Colorado Eagles last night by a score of 4-1 before a crowd of 4451 at the Allen Event Center (AEC) but it certainly was disappointing. After all, the Americans have won 15 straight playoff series under coach Martinson but have a losing record in opening games. After Friday night, Allen’s game one record is 7-9.
– The good news is the Americans don’t have to wait long to do something about the poor performance last night as they will be back at the AEC for game two tonight at 7:05 pm. More good news is Allen has been dominate in game two over the years with a record under Steve Martinson of 11-4.
– When Colorado scored the first goal of the game last night at the 3:30 mark of the first period the die was pretty much cast. Allen and Colorado are both undefeated in the playoffs when scoring first and if you combine their playoff and regular season scoring first record it now stands at 80-4-2-2. Both of these teams are deadly when they score first.
– The back breaker for the Americans came midway through the second period when they were trailing 3-1. Even with a long (73 second) five-on-three power play they never even came close to scoring. The power play was supposed to be the secret weapon in this game with the Americans boasting a first round power play percentage of 30% while the Eagles penalty kill was a paltry 73.7% in the first round. Allen was 1-6 on the power play but that was matched by Colorado who ended up 1-5.
– Greger Hanson scored the lone goal for Allen. It was his third of the playoffs which ties him for the team lead with Wade MacLeod and Joel Chouinard. Hanson is also the team leader in points with eight.
– Here is the Allen Americans game recap press release: https://allenamericans.com/americans-fall-to-colorado-in-game-1/
– Here is a game recap from the Eagles’ hometown paper which captures the essence of how much Colorado took it to the Americans. It also includes several quotes from Colorado coach Aaron Schneekloth. https://www.reporterherald.com/ci_30954061/colorado-eagles-play-dynamic-game-1-cruise-past
– It is always interesting to listen to coach Martinson’s pregame interview with Tom Manning after the game. Being “ready to go” was the first point Martinson made and you will see from his post game comments that didn’t happen.
Here are Steve Martinson’s post game comments:
– Obviously, this was not the start we wanted. We didn’t defend very hard on their goals. They weren’t great plays or great shots but they ended up in the net. We have to defend harder and maybe I will put more speed in the lineup tomorrow. I thought at times their forwards looked faster than us.
– The penalty kill was really bad on the goal against. Twice we had the opportunity to kill the play and we didn’t pressure the puck. Then they throw a wrist shot at the net and we didn’t front it or block it and it ends up in the net.
– On the last goal, we got beat one player after another because guys aren’t moving their feet. We just did not play hard enough to win. We need to get more out of our best players.
– On the power plays, we shot a lot of pucks right into the middle of the goalie’s chest. The five-on-three was painful. We shot the first one-timer into his chest and I think fanned on the second one. That power play was critical because we were down 3-1 and had a chance to get back in the game. We just didn’t execute that well when we had our chances.
– I will look at putting Harrison Ruopp in the lineup tomorrow night as he will give us a little more bite. I will also look at putting Tanner Eberle in the lineup. He gives us more speed and is somebody that will go in and finish his checks.
– We don’t need to make adjustments to what we are doing. We lost tonight because we didn’t move very hard and we didn’t defend hard. If you don’t defend and don’t move your feet and don’t have some urgency you don’t win at this time of year. We had several point blank shots with an open net and failed to score. If you are not burying your chances you better be very stingy defensively and we weren’t.
– We have players that can play better than they did tonight. It is not a best of one, it is a best of seven. We gave away home ice but we have done that before. Hopefully, everyone understands what we have to do Saturday night and that is to play harder, battle harder and be tougher to play against. They are all cliches but that is what we have to do.
GAME TWO PREVIEW
– It sounds like a broken record but for Allen to be successful in game two tonight they need a better start and they must win the special teams battle. Scoring the first goal of the game is an almost must for the Americans and they have to win the first period even if they don’t score first. Allen needs to take advantage of what has been better special teams play in the playoffs. Allen has a better power play than Colorado (26.9% vs 25%) and the Americans have also been the better team on the penalty kill (90.6% vs 76%).
– During the regular season, Allen had the best plus/minus in the ECHL at +334 while Colorado was only +148. In the playoffs, Allen is only +5 while Colorado is leading all playoff teams with +36.
– The officiating crew tonight will be exactly the same as Friday night. The referees will be Kenny Anderson (#16) and Stephen Reneau (#17) and the linesmen will be Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Aaron Schacht (#31).
– In other ECHL action, last night it took 99 minutes but South Carolina beat Florida 3-2 in double overtime and the Toledo Walleye beat Fort Wayne 2-1. All four division finals series will be in action tonight. After game one of each series, the home teams have won twice (Brampton & Toledo) and lost twice (Allen & Florida).
– It was good news for Allen’s AHL affiliate as the Barracuda beat Stockton 5-3 last night in Stockton to take a 2-1 lead in that best of five series. Game four is in Stockton Sunday afternoon. With the San Jose Sharks losing in the opening round of the NHL playoffs they sent down a couple of young forwards (Timo Meier & Marcus Sorenson) to the Barracuda that will really help in the pursuit of the Calder Cup. Here is a great story about how these young players will play a major role in the Barracuda’s playoff run. The story also has some honest quotes from coach Roy Sommer.
DID YOU KNOW:
– Chad Costello was a teammate of Colorado coach Aaron Schneekloth when Costello won the ECHL MVP award in 2012 playing for the Eagles. Costello had 76 points in just 47 games that season. Schneeklothigh-scoring scoring defenseman who was the third leading scorer on that team with 20 goals and 62 points.
– Allen goalie Riley Gill and Colorado goalie Lukas Hafner both played for the Western Michigan University (WMU) Broncos. Gill was at WMU from 2006-10 and Hafner was there from 2012-16. Gill was a four year starter, played in 111 games and had a save percentage of .914. Hafner was a three year starter, played in 85 games and had a save percentage of .917. It will be fun to watch these two WMU alumni in this series. The rookie got the best of the veteran last night but the series has just begun.