ALLEN, TX – As I was leaving the Allen Event Center last night heading to my truck I ran into a couple of the ushers and one of them said to me, “The best thing about that game was it didn’t take very long and it is over early.” She was spot on as the Allen Americans lost 5-3 to the Rapid City Rush before 3182 disappointed and frustrated fans. It was the fifth straight loss and the 10th loss in the last 12 games for the Americans. The usher was right about the game being quick as was the post-game activity.
Can’t remember the last time I saw the AEC empty out so quickly. With just one minor penalty assessed to each team and no fights, the game itself was only 2:15. The post-game press conference was short, my chat with Steve Martinson after the press conference was short so I was out the door of the AEC by 9:44 which is a record.
– Allen is finding ways to lose that fans are not used to seeing from this team. Historically the Americans have been a great third period team. In two of their last three games, Allen has been leading after the second period, blown the lead and lost in regulation. That happened only five times in their previous 125 games but has now happened in two of three games.
– Allen had no answer to Rapid City’s top line who scored four of their five goals. In the game preview yesterday I said, “For Rapid City keep an eye on Peter Sivak (#91) who has five goals in his last four games and two hat tricks this month alone. Rapid City’s rookie ECHL All-Star Dante Salituro (#15) had a hat trick on Saturday to break out of a long goal-scoring drought, so he is another player to keep an eye on.” They each had two goals last night and their linemate, former Allen player Daniel Leavens, chipped in two assists.
– The bright spot for Allen was Colby McAuley who scored two goals, brought a lot of energy on every shift and played a two-way game. The goals were McAuley’s sixth and seventh of the season. The other goals scorer for Allen was Alex Schoenborn who scored his sixth of the season.
– Here are the Sporfie highlights for the three Allen goals:
Colby McAuley – Hanging out in front of the net bears fruit for Colby. Notice how hard he works to get space and keep his stick free. https://sporfie.app.link/tyRPAq4GZJ
Alex Schoenborn – Alex Guptill takes the puck to the net but loses it when he was hooked and it goes right on the stick of Alex Schoenborn who is trailing the play and he puts it in the net. https://sporfie.app.link/pkAuFhnHZJ
Colby McAuley – Colby’s second goal of the game is scored off a long rebound of a shot taken by Joel Chouinard. Notice how McAuley reads the play and positions himself for the rebound. https://sporfie.app.link/pkAuFhnHZJ
Here is what Martinson had to say after the game last night:
“I was just looking at the last couple of goals in the third period. There were two deflections off our own sticks.”
“We had a couple of chance to get the puck out of our zone on the penalty kill, it has been our Achilles heel, and sure enough they score a power-play goal.”
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot. It is tough when you are at home and have a 3-2 lead going into the third period and you piss it away like that. It is pretty painful!”
“We need our top guys to step up but are depth guys aren’t getting much done either. We had a good enough lineup to win tonight and came up short again. Now we have to get back to work because it is not going to be any easier this weekend. We are going to have to play better.”
“I am talking to players in Europe and have had a couple things that have fallen through. Obviously, I am trying to get some more experienced players on the roster.”
“(Vincent) Arseneau didn’t play again tonight in Utica. I will check and see what his status is. He has missed some games with an injury. They have 22 forwards so if he is not playing we should could use him here.”
“One way or another we will get this turned around. I told the players today we were at rock bottom right now and then we get a 3-2 lead and it is not enough to hold on.”
“The top line for Rapid City killed us tonight. We were not good defensively against them.”
– Things don’t get any easier for the Americans as they will be back at practice today to prepare for home games against Wichita on Friday and Saturday followed by Colorado on February 1 and 2.
– With their abysmal record over the last month (2-10) the Americans are now battling Tulsa for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mountain Division. Tulsa beat Utah 3-1 last night and now trails Allen by just three points. Wichita is four points ahead of the Americans in third place but they have three games in hand over Allen. The two games against the Thunder this weekend will be significant for the Americans.
– It was a big surprise to see Zach Pochiro back in the lineup last night as he returned a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. He has only had a couple of practices and hadn’t played in a game since November 5th. Given the circumstances, Zach played well including the secondary assist on McAuley’s first goal.
– Several asked me about the outcome of the game between Chad Costello‘s team (Iserlohn) and Greger Hanson‘s team (Krefeld) on Tuesday. It was kind of anticlimactic as Krefeld won the game 5-2 and neither Chad nor Greger had a point.
– Olivier Archambault played in his first game for Syracuse (AHL) last night since he was loaned by Allen to the Crunch. They beat Laval 3-2. Archambault didn’t have a point in the game but had one shot on goal and took a minor penalty for roughing.
– Talk about a tough schedule, Idaho lost to Colorado, the best team in the ECHL, last night 5-4. Including last night, the Steelheads will play Colorado in nine of their 12 games between January 24 and February 17. This includes six games in a row between February 7 and February 17. Another scheduling marvel by the ECHL. Best to have a supervisor of officials hanging around these teams who have 75 fighting majors (50 Colorado, 25 Idaho) this season.
– There has been another big announcement in the Martinson household as Steve and Michelle announced that their daughter, Lily, has accepted a scholarship to attend Providence College. Providence College has had a women’s hockey program since the mid-1970’s and plays in the Hockey East Conference. They are currently#2 (behind Boston College) in the conference and are ranked in the top 10 in all of the national polls.
Unlike Martinson’s son, Logan, who will be leaving this fall to play junior hockey in Canada, Steve and Michelle will have a few years before they are empty nesters because Lily is only 14 and has three more years before she graduates from high school. Congrats to Lily and the Martinson family. I know dad will be happy he doesn’t have to pay the big bucks for Lily’s college education.
DID YOU KNOW: I love this stat which shows the ECHL players with the highest percentage of their team’s goals. For the Allen Americans, the leader is Bryan Moore who has scored 9.9% of their goals.
19.1% – Michael Joly (Colorado)
18.2% – Justin Danforth (Cincinnati)
17.2% – Phil Lane (Atlanta)
17.0% – Sam Warning (Quad City)
16.1% – Justin Taylor (Kalamazoo)
14.6% – Reid Gardiner (Wheeling)