ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans got back on the winning track last night in Greenville beating the Swamp Rabbits 5-4 before a crowd of 1820. Allen scored the first goal of the game at the 7:54 mark of the first period to improve their record when scoring first to 13-1 and never trailed in the game. It wasn’t easy as Greenville tied the score after trailing 1-0 in the first period and 3-1 in the third period but Allen never relinquished the lead.
Allen outshot Greenville 23-14 over the first two periods and took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission but it was all Swamp Rabbits in the third period with a 21-5 shot advantage. Greenville’s 21 third-period shots are the second-most shots in the third period in the ECHL all season. Luckily Allen scored two goals on their five third period shots to hold off Greenville after the Swamp Rabbits tied the score 3-3.
The goal scorers for Allen were Samuel Laberge (4 & 5), Krystof Hrabik (1), Scott Conway (1), and Corey Mackin (12). Here are the highlights:
Greenville will most likely start its top goalie tonight. Ryan Bednard stopped 42 of 43 shots in the Swamp Rabbits win on Thursday night. His save percentage this season over 17 games is .917. Last night Greenville started backup goalie, Jacob Ingham, who has a save percentage of .844 in the four games he has started this season, all losses. Allen is going to have to play better tonight defensively as they are unlikely to win a high-scoring game against Bednard.
Special teams were a draw last night with each team scoring a power-play goal. The Americans power play has looked better than the results show in the first two games in Greenville. Allen is 1-8 (12.5%) over the first two games. The Americans haven’t scored two power-play goals in a game in almost a month. The Americans have scored just three power-play goals in their last eight games. You sense the power play is about to break out with better results, maybe it will happen tonight.
Allen has killed seven of nine penalties (77.8%) in the first two games. Going back to the end of January the Americans have given up a power-play goal in 10 of their last 12 games. Over the last 12 games, the Americans penalty kill percentage is just 73.3%. The penalty kill was strong early in the season but has now fallen to #11 in the ECHL at 80.9%. The Americans will have to play better on the penalty kill if they expect to win consistently.
The team that scored first won games one and two, so no reason to think that won’t happen in game three tonight. A good start is critical especially against Bednard, who gave Allen trouble in game one. A reminder of the importance of a good start, Allen is 13-1 when it scores first and 9-0-1-0 when leading after the first period. When tied after the first period the Americans are 6-4 and when trailing after the first period they are 1-4.
Steve Martinson was obviously concerned about how the team played in the third period last night and expects to get back to playing like the first five periods of this series. He will go over the defensive breakdowns with the players both even strength and also on the penalty kill. The lineup will be the same tonight with the possible exception of Josh Maser who played sparingly late in the game because of an injury. He will be a game-time decision.
Attendance for the seven games last night averaged 1984 and the ECHL average attendance for the season is now 2147. Here is the attendance last night:
2983 – Florida
2250 – Orlando
2169 – Kansas City
1820 – Greenville
1903 – Indy
1726 – Wichita
1037 – Wheeling
Allen was the only team in the top four of the Western Conference to win last night so it made up some ground. Wichita and Fort Wayne did pick up one point by losing in overtime. Wichita (.729) is still on top but Allen (.660) moved into second place passing Fort Wayne (.643). Rounding out the playoff teams is Utah (.615).
Did You Know?
ECHL teams with the most and fewest games going to overtime (excluding Fort Wayne).
11 – Greenville
10 – Indy
10 – South Carolina
4 – Allen
5 – Jacksonville
5 – Rapid City