The Allen Americans beat the Rapid City Rush last night by a score of 7-2 to sweep the weekend set in South Dakota. It was a dominating performance from beginning to end and showed what coach Steve Martinson has expected from this team all along, which is a group that can score a lot of goals, is solid defensively and has great goaltending.
The Americans were buzzing from the opening puck drop and had 20 shots in the first period (tied for the most shots in the first period in the ECHL this year) but didn’t score their first goal by Greger Hanson until shot number 19 at the 17:43 mark. Just 40 seconds later Jonathan Parker scored to give the Americans a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Goals scored in bunches became the theme of the night. Allen got their first two goals in a 40 second span. After the Americans took a 3-0 lead in the second period, Rapid City got themselves back in the game scoring the only two goals they would score all night in just a 35 second span. Then in the third period, Allen pulled away from the Rush scoring three unanswered goals in a just over three minutes.
When all was said and done the Americans had a 7-2 win and out shot Rapid City 49-23 including 20-6 in the first period and 18-3 in the third period. It was the most shots Allen has had all season as were the seven goals. The goal scorers for Allen were Greger Hanson (5), Jonathan Parker (3 & 4), Eric Roy (2), Rick Pinkston (1) and Casey Pierro-Zabotel (3 & 4).
The win, which was the sixth in the last seven games for Allen, allowed the Americans to keep pace with Missouri who also won last night (beat Wichita 1-0). Allen (14 points) trails Missouri (15 points) by one point so as of this morning the Americans rank second in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference and third in the ECHL in points.
Right after the game the team got on the bus for the 1058 mile trip back to Allen and were hoping to be back home mid afternoon today. However, a Jonathan Parker tweet early this morning said:
— Jonathan Parker (@JonParker1991) November 8, 2015
So we will have to see what that was all about and how much of a delay it caused.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– We played this weekend like the team I saw on paper. We have three lines that can all score, we are strong defensively and have solid goaltending.
– We worked hard this weekend and it paid off with four points. Whenever you can outscore a team 11-3 on the road over two games you know you have played well.
– The penalty kill continues to be outstandng. They not only didn’t allow a power play goal in either game (0-7), they ended up being a +1 on the weekend with Rick Pinkston’s shorthanded goal.
– The Americans proved again the importance of scoring the first goal of the game. They improved their record when scoring first to 6-0.
– Another key to victory was winning the special teams battle and Allen certainly did that again. The power play was 0-1 but the penalty kill was 0-4 and had a short handed goal. The Americans have not allowed a power play goal in their last five games and have only allowed two all year (2-36). With the 0-4 last night they have improved their league leading penalty kill percentage to 94.4%.
– With the seven goal outburst last night Allen is now ranked #7 in the ECHL in average goals scored (3.30). They are #5 in average goals allowed at 2.20.
– Garrett Clarke was a healthy scratch last night and Nolan Descoteaux played which was the opposite of the situation on Friday night.
– Steve Martinson has a history of going with the hot goalie and right now that is Joel Rumpel. Remember, in the playoffs last year, Riley Gill was the hot goalie and continued to play while Rumpel was the backup. It is a great luxury to have two outstanding goalies that are interchangeable but look for Martinson to ride the hot goalie. Rumpel has more minutes played (538) and victories (7) than any goalie in the ECHL.
– Eric Roy is quickly moving up the stat chart for defensemen. He was the #3 star in the game last night with a goal and two assists and is now tied with Aaron Gens for the team points lead for defensemen with six. That puts him in the top 13 in the ECHL. Roy along with Justin Baker lead the team in plus/minus with a +7 which also ties them for second among defensemen league wide.
– Two guys that might have had an extra celebratory beverage on the bus last night are birthday boys Tristan King and Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Tristan turned 25 yesterday and Casey is 27 today. Congrats to both.
– Chad Costello is slowly climbing up the scoring chart. By his own admission he had his usual slow start to the season but with his two assists last night Chad now has at least one point in six straight games. He has eight points (1 goal 7 assists) in the last six games.
– Some big games for a couple of former Allen players last night. Kevin Young had a goal and two assists and was the #2 star of the game as his Reading Royals beat Greenville 5-1. Alex Lavoie had a goal and an assist to lead the Indy Fuel to victory over Quad City 5-2. For his effort, Alex was named the #1 star of the game.
– Some noteworthy big crowds around the ECHL last night. Fort Wayne drew 8546 and Toledo drew 8317. For Toledo it was their home opener which they lost to Adirondack 1-0. Fort Wayne also lost their game to Kalamazoo by a score of 6-4.
– Tommy Daniels is trying to do more video interviews this year which is great for fans. The one below Tommy did with Allen trainer, Jaime Garcia, before the game in Rapid City on Friday. It is an injury update on David Makowski, Rick Pinkston and Mike DiPaolo. FYI, Mike was injured in a fight with Alex Gallant (Utah) on October 24th which is rated the best fight in the ECHL this year. If you haven’t seen the fight you can check it out here. It was a game Allen won 6-5 in OT so the whole video is good but if you just want to see the fight it is right at the one minute mark.
DID YOU KNOW: Steve Martinson always says his teams don’t change over the years just the names of the players, but one statistic that says something might be changing is penalty minutes. Last season Allen led the ECHL in penalty minutes with 1644.
This season they are ranked #24 and on a pace to have just 914 penalty minutes for the season. The same is true league wide. The ECHL is on pace to have over 3300 less penalty minutes this year than last year. As the style of play changes Martinson just may be ahead of the trend. And you can be assured if the situation calls for it the Americans will be as tough as always.