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ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans come into tonight’s game two against the Idaho Steelheads with a ton of steam. With Bryan Moore‘s game-winner, the Americans now have last change on the road and will secure at least a split against the Steelheads.

You can read C.C. Hawkley‘s recap of last night’s game, here: https://thesinbin.net/allen-americans-and-idaho-steelheads-trade-goals-and-punches-in-game-one/

I had a chance to talk with Steve Martinson after last night’s game, here were his thoughts:

“We played the right way, the way we need to play to be successful. We limited our turnovers and played sound defensively. Jake Paterson was solid.”

When I had a chance to touch base with Martinson this morning he had these comments:

“We played with better structure and discipline which allowed us to cut down on low percentage plays and turnovers.”

“We still took three bad penalties. Bryan Moore’s was the worst but he made up for that by scoring the game-winner.”

“Jake Paterson was solid in net. Idaho’s first goal was a screen and their second goal was a broken play that created a three-on-one in front of the net.”

– If Allen can repeat the effort they gave last night they will have a good chance to win game two. When Allen reduces turnovers, which in turn reduces shots on goal against, they fare well. They need to continue with that approach again tonight.

– One area that needs improvement is the power play that was 0-3 last night and is at 12.9% over the last 11 games. Chipping in with a power-play goal would really help in the rematch tonight. It won’t be easy against an Idaho penalty kill unit that has allowed a power-play goal in only two of their last 11 games with a penalty kill percentage of 94.1%.

– The Allen penalty kill has been good even though they allowed a goal last night. Over the last 11 games, the Americans penalty kill percentage is 87.2% (5-39). One thing is certain and that is most nights the winner of the special teams battle wins the game.

– You wonder how much of a dilemma it is for Idaho coach, Neil Graham, to decide who to start in goal tonight. With the record Tomas Sholl had over the last month along with the Steelheads losing game one, Sholl should get the nod. It is worth noting that Sholl has allowed only 14 goals in his 11 starts for Idaho but half of them where in his two games against Allen. He gave up five goals to Allen in his last start on April 6.

– The referees for the game tonight are the same as last night, Andrew Bruggeman (#25) and Alex Garon (#9). The linesmen are Scott DeBaugh (#67) and Brendan Gormley (#38).

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen was the only lower seed to win last night but a couple of the favorites had to put in a lot of extra work to get the job done. The #1 seed in the North Division, Adirondack had no trouble against the #4 seed Worcester easily defeating the Railers 3-0. However, in the other North Division series the #2 seed Manchester had to play two overtimes (37 minutes and 38 seconds) before defeating #3 seed, Reading, 3-2. It was a disappointing loss for Reading who had a 2-0 lead after the second period. In the only other ECHL action last night the #1 seed in the Central Division, Toledo scored the game-winner 93 seconds into the second overtime to beat a scrappy Indy team 4-3. Former Allen player Tyler Barnes was the hero with the overtime gamer winner for Toledo.

– So far higher seeds (Adirondack, Manchester and Toledo) are ahead 1-0 in three series, lower seeds lead 1-0 in two series (Orlando and Allen) and three series have yet to start (Fort Wayne vs Cincinnati, Colorado vs Wichita and Florida vs Atlanta).

– It was hard to imagine 10 days ago when the San Jose Barracuda was sitting in last place and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that they would win five games in a row. The win streak along with some help from San Diego, who has lost four of their last five games, and the final playoff berth comes down to the last games of the season tonight. San Jose makes the playoffs if they win in Stockton and San Diego loses in Tucson in regulation. Otherwise, San Diego is in and San Jose is out. Allen fans will be watching with mixed emotions hoping their AHL affiliate can make the playoffs after an amazing run the last 10 days but if the Barracuda fall short, it could mean Colby McAuley will be assigned to Allen.

DID YOU KNOW: If you want some positive stats after the big win by Allen last night here are a couple that might be reassuring. Across all major league sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) there have been over 1300 seven games series played and the teams that took a 1-0 lead have gone on to win 71.1% of those series. A little closer to home, the Allen Americans have never lost a series under coach Steve Martinson when they have taken a 1-0 series lead.