ALLEN, TX – I am going to resist talking about the Allen Americans getting coal in their stocking last night but it was another disappointing and uncharacteristic loss for Allen as they head into the Christmas break. The Tulsa Oilers capitalized on Allen’s mistakes to win the game 3-1 before a great Monday night crowd of 5012 at the Allen Event Center.
The Americans got off to a fast start in the first period, had a 7-2 shot advantage and got the first goal at the 5:37 mark when Dyson Stevenson stuffed home a shorthanded goal after Tulsa goalie, Kevin Carr, made two outstanding saves. It would be the only goal of the night for Allen. The Americans would only muster 13 shots on goal in the last 54 minutes of the game. Turnovers led to all three Oiler goals as they scored two in the second period and then had a shorthanded/empty net goal at the end of the game.
Scoring first and holding a lead after the first period has been money in the bank for Allen this season which makes the loss last night that much more disappointing. Allen was 14-1 when scoring the first goal and a perfect 10-0 when leading after the first period.
You can see Kimberly Sauer’s photo gallery of the game by visiting: https://thesinbin.net/photos-allen-americans-vs-tulsa-oilers-122115/
Allen heads into the Christmas break in second place in the Central Division but Tulsa is now only five points back and they have three games in hand. The Americans have lost four of the last five games and things don’t get an easier with league leading Missouri their next opponent on Saturday.
The problem for Allen has not been their ability to put the puck in the net. Their shooting percentage is the second best in the league. The Americans score on 11.0% of their shots. The problem is they don’t get enough shots as they rank #25 in the ECHL at 26.93 shots per game. If they can’t generate more shots it will be difficult to win consistently.
The Christmas break may be a blessing in disguise for Allen as they will have a chance to forget about hockey for a few days and get some rest and relaxation time. Because the break is so short, most players will be staying in Allen and will not spend Christmas with their families. Another sacrifice of playing minor pro hockey.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– When things aren’t working like tonight we need to get the puck in deep, get puck possession and then get the puck to the point for shots and get to the net. If things aren’t working you can at least do that, but it didn’t happen.
– On two of their goals we had critical turnovers and on the power play goal we didn’t pick guys up like we should.
– On their second goal one of their top scorers (Adam Pleskach) takes the puck away and then makes a play and scores. We need more of that from our top scorers.
– We just didn’t make plays tonight and when that didn’t work we didn’t try to get those greasy goals that come from hard work and going to the difficult places in front of the net.
– We had way too many passes in our offensive zone that go cross ice and get intercepted because the guys don’t want to put the puck on the net. That is not what we work on in practice. We work on getting pucks on net with traffic in front but we are not doing it enough in the game.
– Hockey is a game of mistakes and if you are making mistakes like we did tonight and not scoring goals it is difficult to win. We just did not generate enough offense tonight.
– Just to close the book on the shootout in Idaho on Saturday the ECHL office confirmed that the officials lost track of how many players had shot and what the score was. The Americans should have been declared the winner after Gary Steffes scored to make it 2-1 after the fourth round of the shootout. It was the first shootout for Allen since the new rule was put into effective at the beginning of the season where the number of shooters in a shootout was reduced from five to three, only going beyond three shooters if there has not been a winner determined with the first three shooters. Why didn’t the Americans (players/coaches) point out the game was over when Steffes scored? Seems as if they weren’t familiar with the new rule. However, all is well that ends well and Eric Roy made sure it ended well when he scored in the sixth round of the shootout for the Allen victory.
– Vincent Arseneau was at the game last night in street clothes sporting a cast on his left hand. He will need surgery and will be out of the lineup for six to eight weeks. He joins Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Joel Rumpel on the sidelines with injuries. Casey and Joel still have a couple of weeks before they are ready to go. Injuries are part of the game but the Americans have had more than their fair share this year to key players. You can only hope the team gets healthy and avoids serious injuries late in the season.
– Despite the disappointing loss it was nice to see the players interacting with the fans at the post game skate with Santa. Five month old Jackson Gill enjoyed his first time skating in the arms of his dad. Photographer Lauren Lyssy captured the essence of what these interactions with fans is all about in the photo below. The expression on this young girls face is priceless when she shares a hug with Aaron Gens.