ALLEN, Texas – After being shut out 1-0 by Rapid City on Wednesday, the Allen Americans returned the favor last night as Dereck Baribeau stopped all 26 shots he faced to shutout the Rush 4-0 before a crowd of 3,483 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It was the first professional shutout for Baribeau, who improved his record to 7-1-0-0 and his save percentage to .910.

The Americans jumped on Rapid City right out of the gate, and when the dust settled on the first period, Allen had out shot the Rush 16-4 and held a 2-0 lead. Things looked well in hand at that point, given Allen’s record this season when leading after the first period is 18-2-2-0.

The Americans added two more goals early in the second period to put the game out of hand. Allen’s road record when leading after the second period is 12-0-1-0.

What is the most encouraging thing about the two games against Rapid City is the outstanding team defense. Anytime you give up a total of one goal in two games, it means the forwards, defensemen and goalies are all doing their job defensively.

Goals scorers for Allen were Jordan Topping (21), Jared VanWormer (20), Tyler Sheehy (25) and Alex Guptill (21).

Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans. Here is a goal-by-goal game recap issued by the Rapid City Rush.

It was good news and bad news for the special teams. The penalty kill was perfect again and has not allowed a power play goal in the two games against Rapid City (0-for-8). The bad news is the power play was scoreless again and has now gone 0-for-18 since their last power play goal.

Breton was awarded a penalty shot early in the second period but missed. It was Allen’s first penalty shot of the season. There have been 34 penalty shots in the ECHL this season and nine have been successful for a 26% success rate.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS

“Baribeau had to make a big save on Tyler Poulsen on the first shift of the game.”

“Rapid City has a good power play which gave them some grade A shots, but Dereck (Baribeau) was obviously up to the task.”

“I like that Baribeau stood up for himself when the guy slashed his glove hand after the whistle.”

“I don’t know how they called a double minor for one punch with your glove on.”

“I sent in my first video review into the league office this year from the game tonight. Coulter had a real dirty hit to the head with his shoulder on Sheehy, who is concussed. It was classic head hunting, as he elevated his body to make the point of contact Sheehy’s chin.”

“With Sheehy out, Colton Heffley will going in the lineup tonight for his first pro start.”

REMATCH PREVIEW

More of the same would be the message for the Americans tonight. Anytime you play the same team three games in a row, hard feelings are usually created by the third game. Add in what happened to Sheehy last night it could be a physical game tonight. The referee, Sean MacFarlane, has had all three games in the series and was one of the referees selected for the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic. He might have to earn his pay tonight.

The power play will be hurt by Sheehy being out of the lineup, and it has not been good on the current 0-for-18 streak. It would be a big lift to get an early power play goal.

Martinson will have a tough choice on who to start in goal with both Andrew Shortridge and Baribeau having great games in Rapid City. He hasn’t gone with the same goalie in back-to-back very often this season — just twice since the first of November.

Allen’s strength is their depth and that is definitely true against Rapid City. Allen is 6-1 against the Rush this season. Sheehy leads with six points, six players have five points, and four players have four points. There are 12 different players that have scored goals against Rapid City, but nobody has more than four.

If you track player numbers, defenseman Cody Corbett is wearing number 28 and Heffley will wear number 9.

OTHER COMMENTS

Allen announced the signing of forward Colton Heffley yesterday. He has joined the team in Rapid City, but was a healthy scratch last night. The Allen roster on the ECHL website lists Heffley at 6’4″ and 220 pounds. Colton just finished his collegiate career at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is from Swift Current, Saskatchewan and played in the WHL (Western Hockey League) prior to attending college. While he is a professional rookie, he has plenty of experience with five years in the WHL and five years in college. The 25-year-old has close to 450 games of experience between juniors and college.

Heffley is one of those versatile players that started out as a defenseman and switched to forward. When he got to college, he switched back to defense for two years, and then back to forward. He has typically had a checking role on his team, but can also score and has been used as a penalty killer. He tied for his team lead in goals this season and was second in points. He led Dalhousie in goals and points in 2017-18.

Colton is a physical player that is willing to drop the gloves. One of his most famous fights when he was playing junior hockey for Kelowna back in 2012 was against a player who could be his teammate before the season is over: Jake Doty. Heffley held his own against Doty in a toe-to-toe battle. Check this out:

Here is an interview from a few years ago when Heffley was playing junior hockey that talks about his versatility:

Matthew Harding from The Sin Bin reported that Chris Crane has departed the Wichita Thunder and signed with a team in Europe. Crane was tied for second in scoring for Wichita with 32 points (13G, 19A). Crane played in Allen for parts of three seasons and had 10 goals and 10 assists during the 2015 Kelly Cup championship playoffs.

Newfoundland beat Maine at home last night by a score of 5-1. It was the Growlers 19th straight home win. Every time they win another home game, they set a new all-time record. They will go for 20 in a row tonight when they take on Maine again.

The Minnesota Wild fired head coach Bruce Boudreau yesterday and replaced him on an interim basis until the end of the season with assistant coach Dean Evason. A blog reader asked about what impact this will have on Allen, and the short answer is none. Coach Martinson primarily deals the Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers, who is the general manager for the Iowa Wild and Iowa’s head coach Tim Army.  As long as there are not changes in these positions, the affiliation relationship should remain the same. New Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin could make additional changes going forward, but they will happen in the offseason, if at all.

DID YOU KNOW…

VanWormer scored his 20th goal of the season last night to join four other teammates with 20+ goals. Five 20+ goals scorers ties for the most in one season since Allen joined the ECHL. Here is the list of 20+goals scorers by season:

2014-15:
44 – Gary Steffes*
41 – Chad Costello*
28 – Greger Hanson
22 – Jack Combs

2015-16:
24 – Chad Costello
22 – Gary Steffes
21 – Chris Crane

2016-17:
35 – Greger Hanson
33 – Chad Costello
27 – Bryan Moore
26 – Spencer Asuchak
21 – Gary Steffes

2017-18:
21 – Bryan Moore
20 – Alex Guptill

2018-19:
34 – Zach Pochiro
22 – Dante Salituro
20 – Braylon Shmyr

2019-20: (thru 52 games)
25 – Tyler Sheehy
24 – Gabe Gagne
21 – Alex Guptill
21 – Jordan Topping
21 – Jared VanWormer

*only 40+ goal scorers in team history

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