New Allen player Tanner Eberle scored his first professional goal in his first professional game Friday night.  Photo courtesy: SceneByKimberly
New Allen player Tanner Eberle scored his first professional goal in his first professional game Friday night.
Photo courtesy: SceneByKimberly

If you are a hockey purist there was a lot not to like about the Allen Americans 5-4 overtime loss to the Missouri Mavericks last night before a crowd of 4408 at the Allen Event Center (AEC) but as a hockey fan it was an exciting game. Allen dug themselves a 4-0 hole as Missouri had four goals by the 3:42 mark of the second period. Allen came roaring back on goals by Garrett Clarke (4), Spencer Asuchak (10), newly signed Tanner Eberle (1), and Chad Costello (36) only to lose in what has become Allen’s Achilles’ heel, the overtime. It was the sixth overtime loss of the season for Allen which is the most OT losses in the league.

Allen finished the season with a 8-0-1-0 record against Missouri and took 17 of a possible 18 points from the Mavericks. All-in-all, a job well done despite the disappointing loss last night.

When you out shoot a team 38-17 for the game and 31-9 in the final two periods and win the special teams battle with two power play goals, you should win the game. The difference between aggressive play and gambling is a fine line and all too often, Allen got caught on odd man rushes and the puck would end up in the net. The goalie play was only average and the combination of that and odd man rushes spelled defeat for the Americans.

Allen will be back in action tonight as they take on the Tulsa Oilers on Star Wars Night with puck drop at 7:05 p.m.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

– I don’t normally go into the locker room after the game but I did tonight. You can have puck possession for 70% of the game and give up odd man rushes and two on ones and lose. That is what we did tonight and that was the difference in the game. Extremely frustrating!

– A couple of times we took a two on one break and then tried to lay down in front of the puck and start swimming around and let them saucer a pass to a guy all alone in front of the net. There is no other way to describe it than it is bad defensive play on way too many odd man rushes.

– We found a new way to lose the game in overtime by not changing and then trying to lay down in front of the puck and letting the guy take to puck to the net. It was extremely frustrating.

– The nice part of the night is we got back in the game after being down 4-0 and we got a point. We didn’t quit and that is the positive you take out of this loss.

– The only thing we can do is go over some of the odd man rushes we are giving up and figure out how to play a two on one better. There was one bad goal from the corner but we served up three or four great scoring opportunities to Missouri.

– Because we have guys up in the AHL our good players have to be our good players and that didn’t happen tonight. This last month of the season is an opportunity for guys to show they can play and be here for the playoffs but if we continue to play like we did tonight we are not going to go too far in the playoffs.

– Their goalie saw a lot of our shots tonight. All to often our guys when they go to the front of the net step to the side when the shot is taken. We practice this every day. We need more guys in front of the net screening the goalie so he doesn’t see the shot.

– Tanner Eberle looked good tonight especially when you consider he spent all day just getting to Allen. He missed the first period because he didn’t arrive in time. He can score goals but is tough and can hit and fight. I am interested in seeing how he plays tomorrow night when he gets a full night sleep.

– Vincent Arseneau is a mean, hard guy to play against who finishes checks and goes to the net. That is what we have been missing the last month as we have not been hard enough to play against. He is a guy that can hit, score and make plays. I like him a lot.

– Tyler Ludwig and Riley Gill were both hurt on the same play in Tulsa on Wednesday. They will both be out of the line up for a while.

– I am expecting to get two players here in the next few days. Worcester is the best team I have dealt with as it relates to an affiliation and they are looking to help us. I am planning to take the best 23 guys I can take on the playoff roster.

– I promise one way or another we will be better come playoff time than we are right now.

OTHER COMMENTS:

– As mentioned by coach Martinson, Allen signed Tanner Eberle yesterday after he completed his junior career with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. Though he has good offensive numbers it is Eberle’s physical style that earned him an invite to the Montreal Canadiens  prospects camp in 2013. Despite his lack of size, Eberle’s speed and ability to hit have made him an effective two-way player. Here are his stats, courtesy of Elite Prospects:

– Two former Allen Americans had hat tricks last night. Jack Combs playing his first game for Cincinnati since being claimed on waivers from Missouri had a pure hat trick scoring the first three goals for the Cyclones as they beat Evansville 4-2. Judd Blackwater also had a hat trick to lead his Ontario Reign team to a 5-1 win over Bakersfield.

– South Carolina extend their winning streak to 23 games beating a very good Toledo team in Toledo with another come from behind win. The Stingrays scored three goals in the last eight minutes of the game to take a 5-3 win. South Carolina will try for number 24 tonight as they play in Indy.

– After having a goal disallowed in his first game with Milwaukee, Gary Steffes had a goal last night as Milwaukee lost to the Chicago Wolves 8-4. The two teams play again tonight.

– Aaron Dell was in goal as the Worcester Sharks beat Springfield last night 6-3. With the win Worcester passed Springfield for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Worcester plays St. John’s tonight at home.

– In other Central Division action last night Rapid City beat Brampton  6-3 and Quad City shutout Wichita 4-0. Here is the update for the final three playoff spots:
75 points: Rapid City (6 games remaining)
73 points: Quad City (5 games remaining)
70 points: Tulsa (8 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (7 games remaining)
Tonight Tulsa plays in Allen, Wichita plays in Missouri with Rapid City and Quad City idle.

– Heard Tommy Daniels mention on his radio broadcast last night that the draft schedule for next year has a road trip to Alaska. Now that will be a great road trip if it happens.

– No official word yet from the team on the first two playoff dates but from all of the talk at the AEC from unofficial sources the first two home dates will be April 14 &15. Would assume getting all the appropriate approvals for starting the playoffs a day early takes some time and things could change but sounds like those will be the dates.

ALLEN VS TULSA GAME PREVIEW:

– The game tonight will be the sixteenth meeting between Allen and Tulsa this season with Allen holding a record of 10-4-0-1 against the Oliers. Allen has beaten Tulsa twice in the last week (8-2 & 3-1).

Here is a statistical comparison:
Team Record: Allen (42-14-6-3) – Tulsa (33-27-1-3)
Points: Allen (93) – Tulsa (70)
League Rank: Allen (4th) – Tulsa (16th)
Goals For: Allen (260) – Tulsa (224)
Goals Against: Allen (190) – Tulsa (221)
Goal Differential: Allen (+70) – Tulsa (+3)
Team Plus/minus: Allen (+242) – Tulsa (+63)
Power Play %: Allen (19.3% at home) – Tulsa (17.4% on the road)
Penalty Kill %: Allen (85.7% at home) – Tulsa (83.3% on the road)
Team PIM’s Per Game: Allen (22.89) – Tulsa (19.14)
Record Last 5 Games: Allen (3-2) – Tulsa (3-2)

– The leading scorer for Allen against Tulsa is Chad Costello who has 26 points (12 goals 14 assists) in the 15 games. T.J. Caig  leads the way for the Oilers with 18 points (7 goals 11 assists).

– J.P. Anderson will be in goal for Allen.

– The referee scheduled for the game tonight is the same as last night, Chris Pitoscia.

DID YOU KNOW: With their overtime loss last night Allen is now 2-6 in overtimes and 2-3 in shoot outs for a combined record of 4-9 in games not decided in regulation. The Americans .308 win percentage in these games ranks them #26 in the ECHL.

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