ALLEN, TX – It wasn’t the fact that the Allen Americans lost to the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-3 before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 4074 at the Allen Event Center. It was the way they lost. Let me count the ways.

– Allen had a 2-0 lead after the first three minutes of the game on goals by Casey Pierro-Zabotel (9) and J.P. LaFontaine (4). The Americans were 16-2 when scoring the first goal of the game and had not lost a game when they scored the first two goals. They still lost.

– Cincinnati tied the score 2-2 before the first period was over but Gary Steffes scored his 11th goal of the season at the 17:29 of the second period on the power play. It was the only goal of the period and Allen went into the second intermission leading 3-2. The Americans had a perfect 17-0 record when leading after the second period. They still lost.

– Allen won the special teams battle going 2-5 on the power play while holding the Cyclones scoreless on five power play opportunities. They still lost.

– The Americans had a 3-2 lead with 12.7 second left in the game. They still lost.

– Allen was one of the best teams in the league in scoring shootout goals having scored on 50% of their shootout attempts. They still lost.

– You have to give the Cyclones a lot of credit as they battled back from the early 2-0 deficit when it looked like it was going to be Allen’s day. The Americans had the win in their grasp until the second leading goal scorer in the ECHL, Jack Downing, tied the score 3-3 after the Cyclones had pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. There were 12.7 seconds left in the game when Downing scored.

– Downing was also the hero in the shootout scoring the only goal after seven players failed to convert. For Allen, Jonathan Parker, Gary Steffes, Chad Costello and Chris Crane made shootout attempts to no avail.

– Bigger than the loss of the game was an injury suffered by Riley Gill early in the third period. He was hit head on by a Cyclone player. It was an accident as Aaron Gens was sliding over to block a shot and the Cincinnati player tripped over him and went flying into Gill. After being attended to by trainer Jaime Garcia for a few minutes, Riley had to be helped off the ice.

– Joel Rumpel replaced Gill and played well for the rest of the game including the overtime and shootout. It was Rumpel’s first action since being injured in a game on December 5. He was scheduled to start the game today even before Gill’s injury, but he may have to play all of the games for awhile. After today, the Americans don’t play again until next weekend when the take on the Wichita Thunder three games in three days. They play in Wichita on Friday and Saturday and in Allen on Sunday.

– Another short turn around for both teams as they will be back at it today with a puck drop at 1:05 pm CST. Three games in about 40 hours is a real test. It will be a gut check today for sure.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:

–  It is painful to have them tie up the game with 13 seconds left. We lost some battles down low for the puck and they got possession and scored. Pinkston was mad and took the penalty after the goal because both guys tripped him. One guy stuck his leg out and the other guy hooked him in the leg and Pinkston went down.

– I thought Rumpel played well coming in cold after being out so long. In the shootout I thought he was good but we didn’t really test their goalie too much on our chances. It is frustrating when you have a guy who was recently signed as a fill in goalie, beat you in a shootout.

– Greger Hanson is flying in tomorrow morning. His plane lands at 11:45 am and he will come directly to the rink. It will help getting Hanson back in the line up.

– Gill has an upper body injury and will be out of the line up for a while. It is painful to watch as we had full possession of the puck in the neutral zone and the defense gets caught stepping up. Cincinnati came down after a turnover hard on our goalie and we made a desperation play and slide across and tripped the guy and he went head to head with Gill.

– If Rumpel would have gotten hurt in that game you would have to have a player on the bench play goalie. That has never happened to me in all my years of coaching where both goalies got hurt in the same game.

– I will look at our upcoming schedule and then decide if I will sign a back up goalie or go with an EBUG (emergency backup goalie) like we did when Rumpel was out.

– Reid Halabi didn’t play because he got hit by a shot last night and is having trouble walking. He will get x-rays in the morning. Tristan King is still out and won’t play on Monday.

– I think Eric Roy, who scored a power play goal for Lake Erie in his second AHL game, has a legitimate shot at becoming an NHL player. I think he is probably the best prospect we have had here in Allen.

OTHER COMMENTS:

– Today will be the rubber match of the three game series between Allen and Cincinnati. They have split the first two games, they have each scored six goals, Cincinnati has out shot Allen 57-44 and Allen has taken 17 penalties to 13 for the Cyclones.

– The big advantage Allen had in the first two games was special teams. The Americans were 3-8 (37.5%) while Cincinnati was 1-11 (9.1%).

– It will be a frantic race if Greger Hanson can get to the AEC before the game starts. Even if his flight is a few minutes early, by the time he gets his checked bags and makes the trip from the airport he may not hit the ice until the second period. Greger was the leading goal scorer for Allen when he was called up in mid November.

– The same officiating crew will handle the game today as yesterday. The referee is Stephen Reneau (#17) and the linesmen will be Erik Contino (#92) and Mitch Macpherson (#48).

PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE:

Here is the third in the series of the features on the photographers. Today is an introduction to Kimberly Sauer. Kimberly really doesn’t need an introduction as she has been taking photos at the Allen Americans games since the beginning. She and Nathan have gone out of their way to help me over the years. Here is Kimberly’s story in her own words:

Kimberly Sauer is a photographer for thesinbin.net
Kimberly Sauer is a photographer for thesinbin.net

I was raised in a small town in west Texas that had a population of about 600.  While growing up I spent the majority of my time outside enjoying nature.  In 1986, I met my best friend and husband, Nathan.  We enjoy camping and hiking with our four dogs.   I currently work for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (formally EDS).  I became interested in photography when my aunt gave me my first camera at about the age of 10.  We did not have enough money to process film, so I pretended to take pictures of the deer, cattle, rattlesnakes and anything else I could find.  When I started working, I made sure film was in my budget even if it was just one roll.  I was in hog heaven when Nathan gifted me my first digital camera.

When the Allen Americans opened up their franchise in 2009, Nathan purchased our season tickets and received special permission to bring in my camera.  In 2011, I became the team photographer and was able to take pictures from the bench. The greatest pleasure was capturing the passion of the players while winning 3 championships. How did a country bumpkin who had never seen hockey become interested in the game?  It occurred about 25 years ago.

I became a hockey fan when flipping through TV channels and came across a Dallas Stars game. Razor and Ralph were teaching the rules and explaining what was happening on the ice.  They had me hooked within the first few minutes.  When taking hockey pictures, my focus is on the player’s strength, dexterity, balance, speed,  hand-eye coordination and the overall effort they put into the game. In addition to sports photography, I also take family portraits, landscapes and wildlife.  My professional website is at www.scenebykimberly.com.  My hockey pictures can be viewed at thesinbin.net.

DID YOU KNOW: Kimberly was kind enough to send along today’s version of DID YOU KNOW. My dad was a rattlesnake hunter and I would go with him. Every winter we had to keep the snakes warm, so we stored them under our beds. I had two cages under my bed that held about a 1000 snakes each.

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