Gary Steffes scored the game winner just 56 seconds into overtime to give the Allen Americans a 3-2 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets last night. With the win, Allen takes a 2-0 series lead and heads home for the next three games (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday). Getting a split on the road is always considered a success so taking a 2-0 lead against a team as talented as Fort Wayne is a great accomplishment. But nobody should be thinking about a series win at this point. If you recall, Fort Wayne lost their first two games at home in the first round against Cincinnati and came back to win the series in seven games.
– Riley Gill left the game early in the second period with an injury. Riley was replaced by Joel Rumpel who played great in relief and got credit for the win.
– Chad Costello got Allen on the scoreboard first with a power play goal at the 8:50 mark of the first period. It was Chad’s fourth goal of the playoffs. Scoring first has been a key for Allen in the playoffs. They are now 8-1 when scoring first.
– Allen took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission but it did not last long as Fort Wayne scored just 22 seconds into the second period. The Komets then took a 2-1 lead on a power play goal at the 8:41 mark of the second period. Allen got the momentum back with 30 seconds left in the period on a Vincent Arseneau goal, his fifth of the playoffs.
– Neither team manged to score in the third period which sent the game to overtime tied 2-2. Gary Steffes was again the best player on the ice and got the game winner in overtime. In the two games this weekend Gary had two goal, two assists, was a +4 and was selected the #1 star in both games. Coach Martinson always says in the playoffs your best players have to be your best players. Gary stepped up and led the way at both ends of the ice.
– Greger Hanson missed the game last night as he was attending graduation activities for his wife, Andrea, who graduated from law school at Wake Forest University. Congrats to Andrea!
– Coach Martinson mentioned in his pregame interview that the team was making some adjustments after reviewing the videotape from the first game. The adjustments must have worked because the Americans played a much more even game. There were not as many odd man rushes and the Americans limited the Komets to just 25 shots.
– One aspect of the game that was not working for the Americans was the power play. The best power play unit in the ECHL was just 1-8. Fort Wayne was 1-4.
– So much for my prediction that both teams would try to stay out of the penalty box. A total of 23 penalties for 64 minutes were called including six fighting majors. It was by far the the most penalty minutes of the playoffs for any game Allen has played. It looked like trying to be more physical was part of the Fort Wayne game plan. That is usually not the formula for success against a Steve Martinson coached team.
– There was a great crowd in attendance (5779) at the Memorial Coliseum last night. Fort Wayne gets great fan support as they led the ECHL in attendance during the regular season, averaging 7484 per game.
– The team hopped on Big Red right after the game for the long trip (almost 1000 miles) home. The team should arrive back in Allen early afternoon on Monday.
QUOTES FROM THE GAME
“Gill will be okay. he just got hit by a shot”…..Coach Steve Martinson
“It was a great game winning overtime goal by Gary Steffes. He has probably scored 20 of those forehand one timers. Open ice was scarce but we won a battle for the puck along the wall which started the winning play. Heads up passes by Federico and Rowley”…..Martinson
“Costello’s power play goal was a highlight goal.”….Martinson
“Fort Wayne defended hard and the ice got bad at the end of the periods so the power play didn’t win the game.”…..Martinson
“The issue in warmups was about Fort Wayne warming up on our side of the red line. Our players got tired of their guys warming up on our side of the ice. I can’t remember a team crossing the red line so many times. My guess is after tonight it will be a fine to warm up on the other team’s side.”…..Martinson
|A little warmup scrum – photo courtesy of Mike Holum|
“Joel Rumpel played strong and it was good to see him get the win. Riley already has the record for most playoff wins in the history of the ECHL, so he probably didn’t mind.”…..Martinson
“Now we have a couple of days to get prepared for a big game three on Thursday.”…..Martinson
“Gary Steffes was a beast this weekend. He played hard at both ends of the ice and he was rewarded for it.”…..Allen broadcaster Tommy Daniels
“I thought we played a really solid game tonight. Everybody bought into the system and gave it everything they had.”…..Allen bench coach Aaron Gens
Those games are tough to win after taking the first game on their ice. To put them down two games is huge.”…..Gens
DID YOU KNOW: In their 12 straight series wins and three championships under coach Martinson the Allen Americans have never won the first two games of a series on the road. They have won the first two games of a series only twice and they were both at home. In 2015 against Tulsa and in 2014 against Brampton.