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ALLEN, TX – The headline for the game last night would say the Wichita Thunder scored three third period goals to defeat the Allen Americans 3-0 before 4012 disappointed fans at the Allen Event Center (AEC). While factually correct it was really a 1-0 win on a fluke goal from behind the red line early in the third period. Wichita added an empty-net goal with 73 seconds left in the game and a five-on-three goal with 19 seconds remaining.

– Allen outshot Wichita in the third period 15-7 but could not get the puck past ECHL All-Star goalie Shane Starrett who recorded his first shutout of the season. Allen was outshot 42-33 for the game but had many more quality scoring opportunities than Wichita and missed the net an inordinate number of times. It was the best game Allen has played in a while but when you have lost six games in a row a “moral victory” won’t cut it.

STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS

“That was tough to take. They had more shots than us early in the game but there weren’t a lot of good shots.”

“We missed the net a lot on the power play and one time we didn’t take advantage when their player didn’t have a stick.”

“We certainly played better tonight but we have to turn that into results. Some guys definitely stepped up and played better.”

“We have to do a better job of getting in front of their goalie. When we had opportunities we either missed the net or shot the puck right into him. He is so tall we have to get the puck up when he goes down.”

“At the end of the day, nobody is feeling sorry for us. The only one that can get us out of this is us. We need to go to work and play better tomorrow. We are still in control of our destiny. Thankfully we have time to turn things around. If this was happening a month and a half from now it would be real trouble.”

“I think we didn’t have enough speed to the outside until the third period. We had times in the first period when we were standing still at the red line calling for pucks instead of climbing the forecheck.”

“We outplayed them in the third period but they won the period 3-0. If you totaled the shots that missed the net for the game the shots would have been even.”

“I don’t think our forte the last month has been getting all of the little things done that need to get done when the game is on the line.”

“I thought we had a lot of situations tonight where we passed when we should have shot and shot when we should have passed.”

ALLEN VS WICHITA REMATCH PREVIEW

– Allen’s record against the Thunder this season now stands at 4-5 but Wichita has won the last three games and outscored the Americans 10-3 in the process. Wichita has won three of the four games played at the AEC.

– The Americans need to find more offense if they want to win tonight. The old adage of pucks to the net with guys in front is a must the way the Thunder goalie is playing. Allen has a total of three goals in the last three games against Wichita. They are 0-12 on the power play. When you are averaging one goal per game against Wichita it will take that greasy goal to break the ice. With the net front guys on this team like Arseneau, Asuchak and Pierro-Zabotel, tonight may be the night to break out.

– It is really important for Allen to get off to a good start tonight. They have negative goal differentials in the second and third period so they struggle when they have to come from behind. When trailing after the first period their record is 2-7-2-0 and when trailing after the second period their record is 1-10-2-0.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Jonathan Sitarski (#23) and linesmen Brian Bull (#95) and Aaron Schacht (#31). Sitarski also worked the game last night.

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen got some help last night as Tulsa lost to Utah and Idaho lost to Colorado. The Americans are fortunate that several other teams in the Mountain Division have also been struggling. It is hard to believe Allen has lost 11 of their last 13 games and is still only seven points out of second place and has a three-point lead over Tulsa who is in fifth place.

– Olivier Archambault had the game-winning goal and was a +2 for Syracuse (AHL) last night as the Crunch beat Belleville 5-2. Syracuse will play the Toronto Marlies at home tonight.

– Allen has always been a third period team but not so much this season. Last season, Allen scored the most third period goals in the ECHL (120) and allowed the fewest third period goals in the ECHL (59) for a goal differential of +61. This season they have scored 43 third period goals and allowed 51 for a goal differential of -8.

– During this 2-11 slump Allen has been outscored 33-53. On December 29th the Americans had a +20 goal differential (109-89). In the 13 games since that has been wiped out and after the shutout last night Allen has scored 142 goals and allowed 142 goals.

DID YOU KNOW: A home shutout is a rarity for the Allen Americans but if you were going to predict one you should pick a January game against the Wichita Thunder. Allen has one home shutout per season in the four years they have been in the ECHL. Three of the four have been in January and three of the four have been against Wichita. Here are all of Allen’s home shutouts since joining the ECHL.

March 18, 2015:   4-0 against Wichita
January 8, 2016:  1-0 against Colorado (32 saves shutout by former Allen goalie Eric Levine)
January 21, 2017:  4-0 against Wichita (Vincent Arseneau had the game winning goal)
January 26, 2018:  3-0 against Wichita

Definitely the odd stat of the day, Allen has only lost five times in regulation to Wichita at home since joining the ECHL with a record of 17-5-3-1 but three of the five loses have been shutouts.

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