ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans lost to the Tulsa Oilers 3-2 last night before a crowd of 4,135 at the BOK Center. Allen used a familiar recipe to lose for the 12th time in their last 13 games. They gave up the first goal, were out-shot (36-25), lost on special teams (Allen 0-3, Tulsa 1-4 on the power play), couldn’t score more than two goals and played poorly defensively; certainly not a formula for success. Even in their lone victory in the last 13 games (2-0 over Tulsa), the Americans only managed two goals and were out-shot 43-23.
– There is no doubt Allen is playing shorthanded especially at forward as there are some key players out of the lineup. When Braylon Shmyr, Dante Salituro, Kevin Sundher, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Johnny McInnis and Josh Atkinson are missing from the lineup, it has to hurt. However, Tulsa was also missing some key players. Here is a quote from the Tulsa World game recap (see below). Coach Rob Murray said,
“We are shorthanded right now. If you look at our lineup two weeks ago, there are seven guys that would have been in the lineup, that would have been here. But the rest of these guys are stepping up and getting the job done.”
– Despite the loss, Allen was able to keep the score close. After Tulsa scored first and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, Allen came back to tie the score early in the second period when Alexandre Ranger, a former Oiler, got his second goal as an American. Three minutes after the Ranger goal, the Oilers scored again taking a 2-1 lead. Allen came back again when Adam Miller scored his second goal as an American, but Tulsa took the lead again to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Allen made a big effort in the third period out-shooting the Oilers 12-10 but could not get the equalizer. The Americans had two power plays early in the third period but could not cash in.
-Here is the game recap from the Tulsa World: https://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/oilers/
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST-GAME COMMENTS
– It was another frustrating night. We weren’t very smart on either of the first two goals.
– On Tulsa’s first goal we had a turnover that led to a 4-on-3 rush and the puck in the back of our net.
– The second goal was just soft defending and not getting back quick enough. Both defensemen laid their sticks down hoping rather than defending.
– I thought our lineup looked slower than at practice yesterday.
– Our lineup was certainly good enough to win the game but we didn’t out-play Tulsa or out-smart them.
– We will get some much needed speed back in the lineup for this weekend which will help.
– It is time to prove we can win.
– The team headed home right after the game last night and will now prepare for two home games against Wichita on Friday and Saturday. These games will be critical for several reasons. The most important is the Americans need to win. The season is 28% complete and the Americans have still not won a home game (0-6). Allen is quickly losing touch with the rest of the division in the standings. Wichita beat Kansas City 5-2 last night so the Americans are now in last place by six points. If they lose these two home games this weekend, they will be 10 points back of Wichita and may never escape the cellar let alone make the playoffs. As of this morning, Allen is 11 points out of a playoff spot and 18 points behind first place Tulsa.
– The other reason the two games against Wichita this weekend are so important is because of what happened in the first game these teams played this season back on October 20. The Thunder dominated the Americans both on the scoreboard (4-1) and physically. The game ended with 112 penalty minutes and 10 fighting majors. There is a long history between these teams and Allen was missing some toughness the first times these teams met. With the recent signing of Jake Doty and Garrett Clarke, and Alex Penner putting out information on social media he will be in Allen this weekend, the Americans will not be short on toughness this weekend. Allen will have more skill in the lineup with some injured players returning and more toughness. It should be quite a two game series. My advice is try and find a way to attend both games against Wichita this weekend. It could be as good as it gets for two teams fighting it out for last place in the Mountain Division.
– The ECHL brass must think the games this weekend will be enjoyable games to watch. I heard Joe Ernst, Senior Vice President of Hockey Operation, plans to attend. Joe is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations of the League’s Hockey Operation Department and Officiating Department. Ernst has worked for the ECHL for 28 seasons. He also is in charge of player supplemental discipline. With 11 ECHL games on tap Friday night I guess Joe thought the most entertaining would be in Allen.
– Allen continues to make stars of their opponents. Utah swept the weekly awards this week based on their games with Allen. Joe Cannata was selected as ECHL Goalie of the Week yesterday based on his two shutouts (4-0 & 5-0) against Allen. Utah’s Matt Berry was selected as the ECHL Player of the Week based on his four goals, five assists and a plus/minus of +8 in three games against Allen. Berry joins Dyson Stevenson (Wichita) and Grant Besse (South Carolina) as those who won Player of the Week honors after playing Allen. The Player of the Week has been given seven times so far this season, and the Americans can take credit for three of them. Not good!
– Injuries have clearly had more of an impact on the 2018-19 Allen Americans team than in seasons past, and concussions have led the list of injuries. I was doing some research on hockey helmet technology and came across the article below. Turns out Virginia Tech’s biomedical engineering department has been doing helmet research since 2003 when they equipped every football player’s helmet with six accelerators which measured how many times, how hard and what direction the player was hit. Over an eight year period they gathered over 1,000,000 pieces of data. From this data they created a model for assessing helmet safety. In 2011 Virginia Tech started providing unbiased helmet ratings based on a five star rating system they developed based on over 10 years of research. They now have ratings for football, hockey, soccer and bicycle helmets/headgear and plan to add youth football, baseball and softball helmets ratings soon. Here is a story about hockey helmets that is about a year old when they awarded their first five star rating for a hockey helmet. https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2017/12/ictas-fivestarhockey.html
– Here is the Virginia Tech’s helmet ratings page which is kept current and contains star ratings for 48 hockey helmets, 18 varsity football helmets, 30 bike helmets, and 22 soccer headgears. If you participate in any of these activities or have children/grandchildren that do, this is great information to have: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/
DID YOU KNOW: 28% of the season is now in the books with 20 games played. Here is Allen’s record after 20 games over the last four years with points in parentheses. Another view of how big a hole the Americans have dug for themselves this season.
2018-19: 4-14-0-2 (10 points)
2017-18: 11-6-2-1 (25 points)
2016-17: 9-11-0-0 (18 points
2015-16: 12-8-0-0 (24 points)