It was exciting playoff style hockey as the Allen Americans beat the Rapid City Rush 2-1 last night before a crowd of 3330 at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The first goal didn’t come until there was less than three minutes left in the second period when Chad Costello took a tip pass from Kevin Young and scored a shorthanded goal (his 32nd). It was an important goal as the Rush had scored the first goal of the game in their last ten games. Allen took a 2-0 lead at the 4:29 mark of the third period when Jamie Schaafsma tipped in a pass from Greger Hanson on an odd man rush. Rapid City got on the board with a power play goal with just 3:58 remaining in the game and had several chances to tie the game in the waning seconds after they pulled the goalie but Allen hung on thanks to some timely saves by Riley Gill.
The Americans now have to wait two days before taking on the Rush in back to back games Friday and Saturday.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
– The shorthanded goal by Costello was huge tonight. He has been clutch for us so many times this year. After the year he had last year with injuries it is satisfying to see him become the best player in the league again.
– We had solid defensive play in the game tonight. This is the kind of game we will need more of down the stretch and into the playoffs.
– Riley Gill was big in net when we needed him. When you have defensive breakdowns it is a big lift when the goalie makes the save and that happened several times tonight.
– Jesse Messier broke his leg blocking a shot. It is the second fracture he has had from blocking a shot. We are not sure yet but he may require surgery.
– The win last night was number 20 on road for the Allen Americans. They are the first team in the ECHL to reach this milestone.
– With most teams idle last night Allen extended their Central Division lead to twenty points and their overall lead in the ECHL to four points.
– Chad Costello and Greger Hanson both extended their road scoring streaks. Costello has a goal in seven consecutive road games dating back to February 15th. Hanson has a point in the last ten road games going back to February 5th.
– The win last night was number 28 on the season for Riley Gill which is four more than any other goalie in the league. Gill is second in the ECHL in minutes played and number of saves. His 2445 minutes played places him number two all time for the Allen Americans. Riley is just two games away from breaking Chris Whitley’s single season record of 2561 minutes.
– With Tommy Daniels not in Rapid City because of illness there was no Allen broadcast last night so Americans fans had to tune into the Rapid City broadcast and listen to the voice of the Rush, Mark Binetti. An added bonus last night was listening to Daniel Tetrault as the color analyst. Daniel is out with an injury. Kudos to Mark and Daniel who did an outstanding job on the broadcast.
– Kale Kerbashian had an assist on the only Rapid City goal last night. Here is an interview that Mark Binetti did with Kale yesterday morning. Kale talks about his trade from Evansville and what it is like playing in Rapid City. The interview took place while Allen was going through their pregame skate which caused some distractions for Kale.
– When I joined Team Sin Bin at the beginning of March I mentioned the details surrounding why I was leaving the Minor League Hockey Report (MLHR) would come out later. That happened yesterday when MLHR announced they would be merging with Team Sin Bin effective April 1st. While there will no longer be a MLHR the talented writers will be joining Team Sin Bin to make it bigger and better. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the site you can do so at thesinbin.net.
DID YOU KNOW: Do tough guys make good head coaches. The Steven brothers who own Allen, Tulsa and Wichita must think so. Here are some statistics on the head coaches from dropyourgolves.com.