ALLEN, TX – The road struggles for the Allen Americans continued last night as they lost to Tulsa 5-4 in overtime before an announced crowd of 6211 at the BOK Center. For the Americans, it was the sixth loss in their last seven road games.
The game followed a familiar pattern with Allen allowing the first goal, then taking a lead and then unable to hold the lead. To the Americans credit, last night they came back to tie the score in the third period after falling behind 4-2. Overtime was not kind to Allen as they missed a couple of great scoring chances and then gave up the game winner with just six second remaining in the overtime.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Justin Courtnall (6) shorthanded, Chad Costello (20 & 21) and David Makowski (9).
– Watching the game it seemed like there were big momentum shifts back and forth all night. Tulsa scored the first goal. Allen then seemed to take control of the game on the shorthanded goal by Courtnall and power play goal by Costello. Then in the last half of the second period the Oilers dominated play scoring three goals in less than five minutes to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Allen outplayed Tulsa in the third to tie the score but could not get the go ahead goal.
– Both teams had excellent scoring chances in overtime and it looked like the game was headed to a shootout when Tulsa scored the game winner with six seconds remaining.
– Allen and Tulsa will have a rematch this afternoon with a 4:05 pm CST puck drop. It will be the third game in 48 hours for both teams so there will definitely be some tired legs. Eric Roy, who just returned from a stint in the AHL with Lake Erie, will be in the line up for the Americans and will provide some fresh legs as well as some added offense. Not sure who will be in goal for Allen this afternoon. Coach Martinson had intended to play Riley Gill last night but Joel Rumpel got the start instead. Not sure why the change in plans but wouldn’t be surprised to see Rumpel in goal again this afternoon. Just have to wait and see.
– Linesmen this afternoon are the same as last night, Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Chip Excell (#42) but after refereeing the last two Allen games, Chris Pontes will turn the duties over to Korey Chipperfield (#5).
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– If you look at the replays you can see our defense was soft in front of Rumpel on several of the Tulsa goals.
– Too often our forwards don’t skate which results in odd man rushes.
– Our guys did a nice job in the third period coming back from a two goal deficit.
– It was tough to lose in overtime with a blue line face off in their end with 14 seconds left especially after having a couple of great chances to score earlier in OT.
– It is tough to expect to win when your skill players are a minus as a group. I need to find some line combinations that can out play the lines they are playing against.
– We need to find a first line combination that leads by example, does all of the little things right and plays plus hockey.
– If your power play guys can’t outplay the other team’s first line then you need depth so when you are at home you can play them against the other team’s weaker lines. It is difficult to do that on the road when you don’t have last change.
– With the overtime win, the Oilers gained another point on Allen and now trail the Americans by just three points with two games in hand in the race for second place in the Central Division.
– A big difference between this season and last season for Allen is the ability to come from behind. Allen was one of the best teams in the ECHL last season in coming from behind. This season the Americans are 3-10-2-0 when trailing after the first period and 2-15-2-0 when trailing after the second period.
– It is easy to get down on the team after going 5-4-1-0 in their last ten games and losing six of their last seven road games. However, Allen is still holding on to the fourth seed in the Western Conference and has a lot going for them the rest of the season.
Adding Eric Roy, Spencer Asuchak and Reggie Traccitto to the line up will be a big help. Having two healthy goalies down the stretch will be a big benefit. The schedule is favorable with 13 of the final 19 games at home. This is a talented Allen Americans team that knows what it takes to win a championship. Look for them to play their best hockey the last six weeks of the season.
– It is hard to overstate the contributions Eric Roy makes to the Americans. Eric is tied for third leaguewide in goals by a defensemen (10) despite missing 18 games because of his loan to the AHL. Eric also leads all ECHL defensemen in shooting percentage (15.9%). He has been solid defensively with a +9 if you combine his ECHL & AHL games. Steve Martinson has said Roy has as much potential as any player he has had in Allen so he may not be with the Americans for long. While he is with Allen look for Eric to play a major role.
– In their last five head to head games Allen and Tulsa have averaged a combined 6.4 penalties and 13.9 penalty minutes per game. Very low for these two rivals. Will be interesting to see if that changes today.
DID YOU KNOW: How important is scoring the first goal of the game? For a team as skilled as the Allen Americans they have struggled getting off to a good start this season. The Americans have scored the first goal in exactly half (26 of 52) of their games. Allen’s record when scoring first is 22-2-1-1. When the opponent scores first the Americans record is 7-17-2-0. Would have to say scoring first is pretty important.