ALLEN, TX – Good teams find a way to win the games they are supposed to win and that is exactly what the Allen Americans did last night in beating the Indy Fuel 5-3 before a crowd of 4556 at the Allen Event Center. Indy scored twice in the first 2:40 of the third period to take a 3-2 lead only to have Allen rally back scoring three times in the final 8:18 of the game to grab a 5-3 victory and sweep the weekend series. For Allen it was their fifth consecutive win and extended their point streak to 10 games (9-0-0-1). For Indy it was their fourth straight loss and extended their road winless streak to 11 games (0-9-0-2).
– The game began as anticipated on the second shift when Indy defensemen Chris Williams, who put Dyson Stevenson out of the game on Saturday night, was called to task by Derek Mathers. Mathers and Williams had an extensive conversation during warmups. As brutal as fighting appears there is a code of conduct and Williams knew he was going to fight one way or another. They obviously agreed to go on that first shift, with helmets removed. It was a one-sided fight with Derek landing at least 10 punches while Williams landed nothing. My guess is Williams was lucky the score was close all game or his night would have been even more unpleasant. Indy returns to the AEC for games on February 15 and 17 and the Americans will not have forgotten about the incident on Saturday night.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Bryan Moore (11), Chad Costello (20), Zach Hall (5), Eric Roy (6) and Tanner Eberle (8). The balanced scoring continues for the Americans with five different players getting the goals, nine different players getting a point and everyone on the team being credited with at least one shot on goal.
– All these guys kept streaks alive:
Bryan Moore – with his goal last night Bryan now has a goal in nine of the last 10 games (11 goals total). Bryan has at least one point in 10 straight games.
Chad Costello – With a goal and three assists last night Chad has had multiple points in eight of the last nine games for a total of 24 points (8 goals 16 assists). Chad has at least one point in 28 of the last 31 games. He has a 13 point lead in the ECHL scoring race with 62 points.
David Makowski – David had an assist last night and has at least one point in 11 straight games. That is the second longest streak currently going in the ECHL. Very few defensemen can average a point a game but since rejoining Allen (14 games) Makowski is averaging 1.14 points per game. Only Chad Costello (1.68) and Greger Hanson (1.22) have a better average.
Zach Hall – Zach has at least one point in the last five games with four goals and four assists. Hall has been flying under the radar a little bit but is fun to watch as he is an outstanding play maker and works as hard on defense as he does on offense. Since joining the Americans (10 games) Zach has not had a minus game and is a +10.
Joel Chouinard – don’t know how a guy that plays the minutes Joel does in all situations can fly under the radar but he quietly goes about his business in a workman like fashion. Chouinard has at least one point in nine of the last 10 games with a total of 11 points (2 goals 9 assists). Joel continues to lead the ECHL in plus/minus with a +26.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
– Coach Martinson has mentioned to me a couple of times over the last 10 days something that is really crucial to have a successful team. The locker room has become a close knit group, they socialize together, look out after each other and handle their issues without getting the coaching staff involved. In coach Martinson’s words, “This team has become a low maintenance group.”
– It was a nice comeback tonight. I didn’t like spotting Indy that 3-2 lead early in the third period and that shouldn’t happen at home.
– It was a great third period by Costello assisting on all three goals.
– It reminded me of last year getting the power play goal to win the game as that is the way we got out of trouble many times last season.
– We don’t play Indy that much and I think we just weren’t mentally ready to play. Despite their record Indy has a couple of lines that can score.
– I liked the outcome of the second shift of the game when Mathers dropped the gloves with Williams. I don’t think that would have been the end of it if we had gotten a lead in the game but we will see these guys again in February.
– I like the music we are playing in the arena when Mathers fights. It is “Hair of the Dog” by Nazareth and we used to play that song when I coached in Elmira and Rockford. The song says your are messing with the wrong guy and it is time to pay your dues. It is a new staple song that fits our team and Mathers well.
– Zach Hall was really good tonight. He has good chemistry with Moore and and they like playing together. I call them Frick and Frack as they are like book ends and they sit next to each other in the locker room. That play Hall made on Costello’s goal by holding and holding and holding the puck was great. Not many players have the poise to hold on to the puck like that. We have one other guy that does it all the time and that is Chad. You can’t teach that kind of poise but Hall and Costello both have it.
– Overall it was a fun weekend. Stevenson wasn’t too bad today and was at the game. He is moving around and hopefully won’t be out too long.
– I put Costello with Hall and Moore in the third period just to shake things up because I thought we were a little stagnant. It worked on a couple of goals but I don’t plan on playing Hall and Costello together because they are our two best setup guys. Everyone will go back with there regular lines tomorrow.
– With Travis Brown being injured in San Jose we may see another defenseman called up this week. We have Kerbashian and Gens on the injured reserve and they may be coming back before too long.
– Allen now has 46 points on a record of 22-13-1-1, only two other ECHL teams have more, Toledo has 53 and Florida has 49. However, if you look at winning percentage the Americans are still in fourth place in their own division. With their streak of 9-0-0-1 Allen has closed the gap but still trails Colorado, Alaska and Idaho. Here are the Mountain Division standings by winning percentage:
.657 – Colorado
.652 – Alaska
.629 – Idaho
.622 – Allen
.456 – Utah
.456 – Missouri
.409 – Rapid City
– Allen now has the luxury of four days off between games as they don’t play again until Friday when the Wichita Thunder come to town. The team will have the day off today and will practice tomorrow.