ALLEN, TX – It was more of the same last night as the Allen Americans lost to the Utah Grizzlies 2-1 before a crowd of 2855 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). It was the fifth straight loss for the Americans and as coach Steve Martinson said after the game the score could have been a lot worse if not for some outstanding goaltending by rookie Jeremy Brodeur. Allen was out shot in every period including 23-6 in the second period with Brodeur coming up again and again with great saves on quality shots. The final tally had Utah out shooting the Americans 44-24.
– Brodeur was one of a few bright spots for Allen. He now has two starts for the Americans, faced a total of 94 shots, has a save percentage of .936 and all he has to show for it is two losses.
– It happened again last night as it has for all five games of the current losing streak, Allen did not score the first goal of the game. They are undefeated when scoring first but have only done so in two of their eight games this season.
– The penalty kill allowed Utah just one goal in seven opportunities but the Allen power play was 0-7. In the last three games the Allen power play is 1-13 (7.7%) and for the season is 5-42 (11.9%) which is the third worst power play percentage in the ECHL. The penalty kill has been consistent and is 4-39 (89.7%) which is ranked #6 in the ECHL.
– The lone goal for Allen was scored by Tanner Eberle (2) on a breakaway as he beat Utah goalie Kevin Carr. Carr made the initial save but Tanner picked up the rebound and put it home to tie the score 1-1.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans with quotes from Spencer Asuchak and Jeremy Brodeur: https://allenamericans.com/losing-streak-hits-five
– Here is the game recap from the Utah Grizzlies. Coach Tim Branham succinctly described the game the same way most Allen fans saw the game, “Five-on-five we controlled the pace and controlled the play.” https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/team-news/headline-news/?article_id=3368
STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS
– It was painful to watch that game. I thought the second period was the worst period we have played this season. If it wasn’t for Brodeur we could have been down four or five goals.
– The goalie puts us in position to win the game in the third period and then on the game winning goal we turned the puck over three times after we had full possession. The first turnover we tried to be cute and bank it off the wall and it hits the referee. Then we try to do it again and a Utah player intercepts the puck. Then we get the puck back a third time and try to stick handle between two guys and turn the puck over. When they get the puck they move their feet and we just stand and watch.
– In the last two games, we kept giving up great scoring chances. We are not generating enough offense to overcome the opportunities we are giving up.
– I really thought we had a chance in the third period after we played so poorly and got outplayed in the second period. We are certainly capable of stepping up but we are not doing it.
– We will get Makowski back on Friday and that will help our power play. We need to get more movement and speed on the power play. I have some ideas on how we can get just one power play unit going and we will work on that at practice tomorrow.
– I am not sure when Riley Gill will be back as those type of injuries take time and you can’t rush them.
– We will get Liberati and Aubin back on Sunday and they will go in the lineup. We are in unprecedented waters and I want some different guys in the lineup. We are headed to play Wichita and they are doing things right and we are not.
– I feel for you guys in the stands as it is very frustrating watching the game from the bench. I don’t see us generating a greasy game. We are not moving our feet down low, we are not taking a hit to make a play, we give up pucks easy and we don’t pursue pucks hard.
– We have to lead by example and that starts with me. I have to do a better job and our top players have to do a better job. We have to generate some better offense and improve our defensive play.
– One way or another we are going to get this turned around. The program here in Allen is too good to keep going like this. We have to stop the bleeding right now. We have a great opportunity going into Wichita. They are playing good hockey and we have to figure it out and figure it out quick.
– Allen’s record after eight games is 3-3-2-0 for a total of eight points. The Americans record after eight games last season was 4-4-0-0 for the same total of eight points.
– The team will practice this morning before heading to Wichita later today on the 365 mile bus trip. The Americans play the Thunder Friday night and then return home to play Wichita on Saturday (7:05 pm) and Tulsa on Sunday (4:05 pm).
– The San Jose Barracuda played last night in Ontario and lost 4-2. Olivier Archambault had an assist for the third game in a row. He has played in four games since joining the Barracuda, has three assists and is +2. Stephon Williams was the backup goalie and Bryan Moore was a healthy scratch. The game was a battle of the Brodzinski brothers. Mike, who spent time in Allen last season, is a defenseman for San Jose. Older brother Johnny is a forward for Ontario. Mike had an assist in the game but Johnny got the best of his younger brother as he had a pure hat trick and was named the #1 star of the game. The Barracuda has a light schedule as they play again on Sunday (November 5) and then don’t play until the next Saturday (November 11). Maybe Allen will get players assigned as the Americans have four games in five days this week.
– If you attended the game last night and didn’t listen to the radio broadcast inside the AEC you really missed out. Tommy Daniels and Maurice Fitzgerald had Martin Brodeur, the NHL record holder for most wins (691), saves (28,928), shutouts (125) and games played (1266) as their first period guest. It had to be a particular thrill for Maurice who grew up in New Jersey idolizing (his words not mine) Brodeur who played for the Devils. Maurice had the privilege to introduce Martin to the listening audience and did so in great style welcoming in his words, the best goalie in the history of the NHL to the broadcast. Listening to Brodeur talk, not as a great goalie but a proud father was fascinating. It was radio gold for sure! Tommy and Maurice were not done with the surprises as their second period guest was Gary Steffes who is town to be honored at the Americans game on Saturday. I have said this before but last night reinforced you can enhance the hockey experience if you bring a radio device to the game, turn it to 107.3 FM and listen to Tommy and Maurice.
– Allen will be honoring the professional hockey career of Gary Steffes on Saturday as they take on the first place Wichita Thunder. The celebration is part of Faith & Family Night and includes the team wearing a limited edition Gary Steffes/Allen Americans jersey during warmups, the retirement of Gary’s #12 jersey during the first intermission and special video messages to Gary during the game. The first 1500 fans in attendance will receive a #TakeItBack rally towel courtesy of Northstar Diagnostic Imaging. If you are a Gary Steffes fan or an Allen Americans fan you won’t want to miss this game. Here is a link to the story I wrote about Gary’s retirement which talks about the player and the man: https://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2017/09/gary-steffes-retires-my-thoughts.html
– I mentioned yesterday in the blog how the Allen Americans have become much more active in the community this season and gave a number of examples. Here is another example of the Americans working with a charity, this time a partnership with the Salvation Army. Here is a link to the details: https://allenamericans.com/americans-partner-salvation-army-holiday-season
– In other Mountain Division action last night Idaho beat Colorado 6-4 and Rapid City lost at home to Brampton 5-4. Here are the current Mountain Division standings with games played in parentheses:
12 points – Wichita (6 games)
12 points – Colorado (8 games)
9 points – Tulsa (8 games)
9 points – Idaho (8 games)
8 points – Utah (9 games)
8 points – Allen (8 games)
2 points – Rapid City (7 games)
DID YOU KNOW: Happy birthday and congratulations to former Allen Americans player Darryl Bootland who turns 36 today. The player affectionately known as “Booter” is now the third oldest player in the ECHL. Bootland is in his 16th professional season and has played in 32 NHL games, 382 AHL games, 308 ECHL games, and 156 CHL games. Booter won two CHL championships in Allen and the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with Colorado last season. He signed with the Orlando Solar Bears for the current season.