The Allen Americans went down to defeat yesterday losing to the Tulsa Oilers 2-1 in the annual MLK day game before a disappointed crowd of 4216 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The Americans have lost on MLK day the last three years but more importantly, they lost two of three games to Tulsa in the last four days and have now lost six of their last eight games.

– After a scoreless first period, the Oilers took a 1-0 lead early in the second period but Allen countered with a goal of their own at 13:03 mark when Bryan Moore scored his team leading 13th goal on the power play. That was the end of the scoring until Tulsa got the game winner with less than five minutes remaining in the game. To add insult to injury the game winner by the Oilers was scored shorthanded. It was the ninth shorty of the season for Tulsa who leads the ECHL in shorthanded goals.

– Allen’s lone goal was scored on the power play but they were only 1-7 after going 3-5 in the win in Tulsa Saturday night. The one power play goal was offset by the shorthanded goal allowed. I think it is safe to say the Americans missed David Makowski on the power play unit. Makowski did not play because he was in Indy participating in the ECHL All-Star game.

– Here is the Sporfie highlight of Allen’s lone goal. Take a look at this replay several times and you can see all of the attention Archambault gets as he skates through the slot. Two defenders and the goalie are all moving toward Olivier as Roy is skating with the puck from the blue line toward the goal. Eric sees what is happening with Archambault and times a perfect pass to Moore who one times it into the open net. A great read by Roy, a great finish by Moore and the value of Archambault even though his play doesn’t show up on the score sheet. https://sporfie.app.link/S3ctn2tEJJ

– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-heroic-effort-falls-short/

– Here is the game recap from the Tulsa World: https://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/oilers-road-report-kessy-s-goal-late-in-third-period/article_867db52a-7962-55ee-8545-319857e99172.html

STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS

– We turned the puck over way too many times and it came back to bite us. We didn’t have a very strong game from a lot of our guys. We weren’t strong on the puck and had so many turnovers at the blue line.

– We will practice tomorrow as we have to get better by the weekend if are going to win.

– It is pretty obvious we missed Makowski on the power play this afternoon but it is that old cliche, it is the opportunity for other guys, it is just a matter if they are ready to seize the opportunity or not.

– I think overall we were way too nice to play against in this game. Our top players have to carry us in games like this and that didn’t happen but it is also an opportunity for our depth guys to step up.

– It is painful to have the opportunity to win with a power play late in the game and then give up a shorthanded goal.

– With Gunn, Arseneau, McAuley, and Asuchak all out of the lineup we have too many guys that aren’t hard to play against right now. Hopefully, we will get a couple of those guys back soon. I am not making excuses because we have a good enough line up to win. We beat them 7-2 on Saturday.

– We just didn’t compete hard enough to win and they did. They played harder than we did. That was clear in watching their captain win all the battles for pucks. He wants the puck more than other guys. Other guys want the puck but they want it easy.

– It is how you play when you are needed that is important. It is not how you play when we are blowing a team out. I have not been real impressed the last couple of weeks.

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Americans will now start preparing for another three games in three days, this time all on the road. The road trip starts with an 850 mile trip to play Indy on Friday night. Then a short 120 mile trip to Fort Wayne for games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. After the Sunday game, it will be back on the bus for the 975 mile trip back to Allen. The team will arrive in Allen midday on Monday. The next home game is on Wednesday (1/24) against Rapid City.

– With Gary Steffes headed home and the Americans now down to eight healthy forwards it seems likely at least one of the players in the AHL (Asuchak, McAuley, Arseneau) will be returned before the team leaves for Indy on Thursday. I will attend practice today and get an update from coach Martinson.

– Gary Steffes agreed to leave his job at FCA for 10 days to help out the Americans when their roster was depleted just because he loves the team and Allen is family to him. He is heading back to Minnesota with the experience far exceeding his expectations. He played in six games and had six points (4 goals 2 assists). I had the chance to catch up with Gary after the game yesterday and asked him to reflect on the experience. This is what he had to say:

“Coming to help out was certainly a different feeling than when I was playing and chasing my dream to see how far I could go in hockey.”

“The experience exceeded all of my expectations. I had to give myself some grace since I hadn’t been playing or training for eight months. I just wanted to help the best I could.”

“I would have been stoked just to help out a little bit. First game back I get two assists and then the hat trick in Tulsa. I hadn’t had a hat trick since I played for Tulsa in 2012-13.”

“Even though I was coming out of retirement and it was temporary all the emotions came back and I wanted to win just as bad as I used to. I definitely felt I was part of the team.”

“It was a different kind of pressure than before I retired. I still cared just as much as before but it allowed me to play more relaxed.”

“If the team is ever in need again and things work out and FCA says it is okay I would be glad to help out. What was neat for me was coming back and spending time with the family because I feel like I am part of the Allen family. I am blessed.”

 

ECHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC

– The Mountain Division won the ECHL All-Star competition yesterday which was a three on three tournament. They beat the Central Division 5-2 in the semifinal and the South Division 6-5 in a sudden death shootout in the finals. Here is the ECHL press release with all of the details on the tournament and the skills competition: https://www.echl.com/mountain-division-wins-2018-ccm-echl-star-classic

The Mountain Division All-Star Champs

– David Makowski was the leading scorer for the Mountain Division in the finals after being the only player on the team to not score a goal in the semifinals. Makowski had two goals and an assist in the championship game. Here are the highlights. Notice Makowski is wearing the “C” for his team. A couple of other interesting notes as you watch the end of the game. The Mountain Division sent out defenseman Cliff Watson from Utah for the first shootout attempt. He hadn’t taken a shootout attempt all season but made a nice move to score. The South Division countered with South Carolina forward Taylor Cammarata who had two goals in the semifinal game and a hat trick in the finals. Cammarata was stopped by Wichita goalie Shane Starrett to give the shootout win to the Mountain Division. Watch the look on Starret’s face as he doesn’t seem to realize it was a sudden death shootout, so stopping one attempt meant victory until he hears the PA announcer say the Mountain Division is the winner. By the way, even though Cammarata was stopped in the shootout his five goals in two games earned him the MVP award.

 

DID YOU KNOW: Here is Allen’s record after 38 games the last three seasons for comparison. It is hard to compare season to season as the teams are so different. Last season Allen barely lost the last half of the season, earned 56 points in the last 34 games, ended up with 104 points and lost in the second round of the playoffs. In 2015-16 Allen earned only 44 points in the last 34 games, ended up with 89 points and won the Kelly Cup. This season the script is still being written and Allen fans can only hope the last chapter is a good one.

2017-18: 20-13-4-1 (45 points)
2016-17: 23-13-1-1 (48 points)
2015-16: 21-14-2-1 (45 points)

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