ALLEN, Texas – It was the tale of two Thunders last night in the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Adirondack Thunder beat Worcester and advanced to the second round of the playoffs while the Wichita Thunder lost to Colorado (5-3) at home and was eliminated from the playoffs. Seven teams have now punched their tickets to the second round of the playoffs with the only series yet to be decided being Allen/Idaho.
– Allen has a chance to join the second round playoff club tonight in Boise in game six of their series with Idaho. After jumping off to a 3-0 lead in the series, the Americans have stumbled losing the last two games at home by identical scores of 2-1. The big question for Allen fans is which team will show up tonight, the one that averaged 4.33 goals per game in the first three games or the one that averaged 1.00 goal per game in the last two games?
– Tristan King did not make the trip to Boise as he is still dealing with injury issues that have limited his playing time to just four games since joining the Americans in early March. Zach Pochiro, who sat out the game on Sunday due to illness, is expected to be back in the lineup tonight.
– Allen needs to find a way to win the game tonight and avoid this series going to a game seven. You can talk all you want about the stats and the X’s and O’s but the win tonight will go to the team that works the hardest and wants it the most. As Steve Martinson always says, everybody has to do all of the little things that add up to achieving the goal.
– Here is an update of the comparison stats between Allen and Idaho after five playoff games with the Americans holding a 3-2 series lead.
|Power Play||12.5% (2/16)||18.2% (4/22)|
|Penalty Kill||81.8% (4/22)||87.5% (2/16)|
|Leading Scorers||Shmyr (2G, 3A = 5 pts)||Parizek (2G,3A = 5 pts)|
|Makowski (3G, 2A = 5 pts)||Harstad (2G, 2A = 4 pts)|
|Penalty Minutes leader||Makowski – 16||Baldwin – 9|
– Here is how Allen and Idaho rank among the 16 teams in the ECHL playoffs:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 7th (13.80) – Idaho 9th (12.00)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 7th (3.00) – Idaho 10th (2.60)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 7th (2.60) – Idaho 10th (3.00)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 10th (30.40) – Idaho 8th (36.60)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 9th (36.60) – Idaho 7th (30.40)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 10th (12.5%) – Idaho 4th (18.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 13th (81.8%) – Idaho 7th (97.5%)
– Allen managed 42 shots on goal on Sunday but scored only one goal. The offense has dried up the last two games, not because of lack of shots, but the inability to finish. In the first three games of this series (all wins,) Allen scored 13 goals on 82 shots for a shooting percentage of 15.8%. In the last two games (both losses,) Allen had two goals on 70 shots for a shooting percentage of 2.9%. Tonight, the Americans need to keep getting pucks to the net, but they also need more traffic in front of Idaho goalie Philippe Desrosiers.
– Allen has scored the first goal in all five games in this series. Keeping that streak alive would be big for the Americans tonight.
– The biggest negative in the series for Allen has been special teams play. The Americans did manage to score a power-play on Sunday which was only their second in the series but they also gave up a power-play goal. Idaho’s game winning goal came on the power play and it was a five-on-three power-play. Allen has allowed a power-play goal in four of the five games. Allen will have to excel on special teams or stay out of the penalty box if they expect to win tonight.
– The referees scheduled for the game are Stephen Reneau (#17) and Andrew Wilk (#24). The linesmen are Andrew Collins (#49) and Kollin Kleinendorst (#35).
– Except for the Mountain Division, all of the division finals schedules are out and here is how they look:
North Division – It is #1 seed Adirondack (89 regular season points) against #2 seed Manchester (88 regular season points), but scheduling problems has the first four games of this series being played in Adirondack starting on Friday. The series is 4-2-1 with Manchester getting only two home games. If the series goes seven games, the final game will be on May 9th.
South Division – #1 seed Florida (112 regular season points) will take on #3 seed Orlando (75 regular season points) in a series format of 2-3-2. The Everblades open at home on Friday and game seven would be on May 9th.
Central Division – It is #1 seed Toledo (105 regular season points) against #2 seed Fort Wayne (98 regular season points) in a series format of 2-2-1-1-1. Since these communities are only 100 miles apart, it makes traveling back and forth very easy. Game one will be in Toledo on Saturday and if the series goes the distance game seven would be on May 9th.
Mountain Division – #1 seed Colorado awaits the winner of the Allen/Idaho series. The Eagles will host the winner of that series on Saturday and Sunday.
– When Vincent Arseneau was a healthy scratch in Utica’s second playoff game on Sunday, there was some hope he might be returned to Allen, but that was not the case. Utica trails 2-0 in their best of five series against the Toronto Marlies. Game three is scheduled for Wednesday.
– Former Allen Americans forward Josh Brittain has been involved in quite the playoffs in the top Slovakian league. This is the same league Spencer Asuchak played in to start this season. Josh’s team (Banksa Bystrica) will play the championship game today against Dukla Trencin. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, Josh’s team has lost three in a row including game six at home on Sunday. His team will have to win game seven on the road today to avoid one of those rare series losses after taking a 3-0 lead.
The game six loss was just the start of the problems for Josh’s team as the disgruntled hometown fans started yelling at the team for losing. I contacted Josh’s wife, Rhiannon, and here is what she shared.
“I was standing outside the locker room after the game waiting for Josh, and a fan ran into the locker room and started yelling at the players. He was yelling in Slovak so Josh had no idea what he was saying, but his understanding was the fan was upset about the loss and decided to go in the locker room and berate the players. Then just outside the locker room area, a huge brawl erupted. There was a lot of yelling, punching, kicking and shoving. I have never seen anything like it. I had to move to get out of the way! There were security personnel there, but they had a hard time breaking it up at first because they were outnumbered. None of the players from either team was involved in the scrum; they were all just watching through the window just outside the locker room in disbelief. Eventually, the police showed up, and it was broken up. It was pretty intense, but thankfully the police showed up and handled it. After looking at the video of the incident, I am not sure if opposing fans were involved at all. It looks like it was all disgruntled Banksa Bystrica fans, but I could be wrong.”
– YouTube took down the video this morning, so I am unable to post it. It was a scary moment and it is good to hear everyone is okay. Here is hoping Josh’s team gets the win in game seven today and comes home with the championship.
DID YOU KNOW: Allen has always been a good road team and their playoff road record is a testament to that fact. Since joining the ECHL back in 2014, Allen’s road record in the playoffs is 20-10.