There are some nights when nothing goes right and the Allen Americans proved that last night as they lost to the Tulsa Oilers by a score of 5-1 before a sparse crowd of 2607 at the BOK Center. Even after Tulsa took a 3-0 lead at the 6:21 mark of second period there was hope of a comeback similar to what happened in Allen on Wednesday. Gary Steffes scored his third goal of the playoffs assisted by Jamie Schaafsma and Trevor Ludwig just 31 seconds after Tulsa took the 3-0 lead and you could see the energy pick up by the Americans. That was short-lived however as the Oilers took the momentum and the game back with a shorthanded goal at 8:32 of the second period to take a 4-1 lead. The Americans had a few quality chances to close the gap in the third period but they either missed the net or were stopped by Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr.

You know it is going to be a long night when you outshoot your opponent 15-5 in the second period but get out scored 3-1. What went wrong for Allen could appropriately be called everything but here are a few specifics:
– Allen allowed the first goal of the game less than six minutes into the first period
– Allen won only nine of twenty-five face offs  (36%) in the first period
– All five Tulsa goals were generated by breakaways or odd man rushes
– Tulsa scored five goals on just 23 shots on goal
– After having 41 shots on goal in game one and 56 in game two the Americans managed just 29 in this game.
– When giving up so many odd man rushes and breakaways it is imperative the goalie is the best player on the ice and that was not the case last night as coach Martinson replaced Riley Gill after the fourth Tulsa goal which was a shorthanded breakaway goal.
– Allen had the #2 ranked power play in the league during the regular season at 22.6% but went 0-5 last night and also gave up a shorthanded goal.
– The penalty kill unit allowed another goal which was the third in the last two games during which Tulsa is 3-12 or 25%.
– The Americans took 12 minor penalties in the game last night. The game got chippy at the end which could carry over to tonight as these teams play for the fourth time in five days.
The bottom line is the offense, defense, special teams and goalie play were all subpar last night and the final score of 5-1 reflected that. The best thing about the loss is the Americans don’t have to wait long to do something about it as game four comes at 7:35 tonight. You can expect a much better effort out of the Americans.
– You cannot win playoff games playing like that where you give up so many odd man rushes and breakaways. That is not playoff hockey and that is why we got embarrassed.
– It is hard to believe you would have that kind of effort from so many experienced guys.
– We had a lot of good scoring chances in the first period that we did not convert and then we give up a lazy three on two goal where we don’t play it well.
– We gave up way too many odd man rushes and the entire team (defensemen, forwards & goalie) did not play them well. We don’t defend odd man rushes well and then we give up a lot of them and it is very frustrating.
– When we had good scoring chances including several odd man rushes we did not capitalize on them. We shot the puck wide or over the top of the net.
– We will not have a pregame skate tomorrow and I expect a much better effort out of this team tomorrow (Saturday) night.
– Ian Schultz and Tanner Eberle will be flying to Allen on Monday to rejoin the team.
– The Rapid City Rush and Quad City Mallards kicked off the other Central Division series last night and the #3 seeded Mallards came away with a 3-2 win over the #2 seeded Rush. Quad City scored the only goal of the third period on a power play at the 6:23 mark and that proved to be the game winner. Just 2762 showed up for a Friday night playoff game in Rapid City.
– In other action around the ECHL last night South Carolina had to go two overtimes to beat Reading 2-1 and take the first game of that series, Florida beat Orlando to take a 1-0 lead in that series. Fort Wayne beat Kalamazoo 4-2 and leads that series 1-0. In the Pacific Division Utah beat Idaho 3-2 and Ontario beat Colorado 4-1 so both of those series are now tied at 1-1.
– Seven of the eight series resume action tonight (Saturday) with Colorado vs Ontario being idle.
– Congratulations to South Carolina goalie Jeff Jakaitis who was announced as the ECHL Most Valuable Player yesterday and also to Chad Costello who was the runner-up. As an Allen fan it was certainly disappointing that Chad did not win the award because you could easily make the case for him given the fact that he played in all 72 games for his team and won the scoring title by the biggest margin (45 points) in league history. But Jeff Jakaitis had a record-breaking year as well and the bottom line is the MVP award is voted on by coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members from all 28 teams and many of them discounted Chad’s accomplishments because he plays in the Central Division. Until the seven prior CHL teams prove they can beat the older ECHL teams nothing will change the view that the Central Division is a weaker Division.
– I had the chance to speak briefly to Chad at the team hotel yesterday afternoon and he could not have been more gracious in congratulating Jeff Jakaitis on winning the MVP award. Chad was the ECHL MVP in 2012 when he played for the Colorado Eagles so he knows what it means to win the award. However, Chad came to Allen this year after an injury plagued season last year not to win the MVP award but to win the Kelly Cup and after talking to him it is obvious he is laser focused on that goal.
– Tommy Daniels was kind enough to let me join him on his radio broadcast last night and all I can say is how much respect I have for what he and Maurice Fitzgerald do when broadcasting a hockey game. When you listen to Tommy from the comfort of your home or at the Allen Event Center you just listen to him call the game. When you watch him in person it is something to marvel at as he does so much more than call the game. He had to do everything from working with the staff in the arena to improve the sound, to checking social media to make sure the broadcast is being received okay and to acknowledge those that are tuned in, to cueing up commercials, to editing the highlights as the game is in progress for use between periods, to preparing guests for live between period interviews to checking all the scores from around the league. It is nerve-racking just watching him but with his many years working in radio he does everything with complete calm. As for my role I mostly tried to stay out of Tommy’s way and contribute a few stats and fun facts. And yes I made the rookie mistake of yelling “yes” real loud when Allen scored. It was all a lot of fun and looking forward to sitting next to Tommy again tonight with hopefully a better outcome for the Americans.
DID YOU KNOW: Thirty years ago Steve Martinson had 432 penalty minutes playing for the Hershey Bears (AHL) which included 44 fighting majors. As a comparison the all time Allen Americans record is 257 penalty minutes set by Garrett Klotz last season when  he had 20 fighting majors. Twenty years ago Steve Martinson played in his last professional hockey game.

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