ALLEN, Texas – It was a strange, yet entertaining loss for the Allen Americans last night. They suffered their 20th regulation defeat at home this season before an Allen Event Center (AEC) crowd of 5365 on Steve Martinson Bobble Head Night. The Americans lost 5-3 to the Utah Grizzlies.
– The game had a little bit of everything; from a fight seven seconds into the game, four fighting majors, controversial calls, pretty goals and great saves by both goalies but it all ended up with another loss for the Americans.
– Allen gave up the first goal of the game for the 42nd time in 69 games this season which was not a good sign since their record when allowing the first goal is 9-32-0-1. Allen gave up five goals and they were scored in every way you can score in a hockey game. An even strength goal, a power-play goal, a shorthanded goal, a penalty shot goal, and an empty net goal. That has to be a first.
– The Americans did show some resiliency despite getting in their own way by taking numerous undisciplined penalties. Allen had 13 infractions for 64 penalty minutes compared to eight infractions for 22 minutes for Utah. Allen actually tied in the special teams battle going 2-6 on the power play while Utah was 1-7 but Utah also had a shorthanded goal. What really hurt Allen was they played so much of the game shorthanded the few penalty killers that stayed out of the penalties box were exhausted.
– Allen never had the lead in the game but kept coming back to make the game close. The game wasn’t decided until Utah scored an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining. The Americans had just seven shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of the game which is the lowest shot total after two periods all season. They finished with 19 shots on goal which is not the lowest of the season but it is hard to win when getting fewer than 20 shots in an entire game.
– Braylon Shmyr and Dante Salituro did the damage offensively for the Americans and worked together very effectively. Salituro had two goals (19 & 20) and an assist, Shmyr had one goal (19) and two assists.
– Here are Steve Martinson’s post game comments:
Wichita vs. Allen Game Preview
– The Americans now have three games left in the season and they are all against Wichita. They play tonight at home and then finish the season next weekend in Wichita.
Wichita is one team Allen has played well against this season. The game tonight will be the 12th of 14 games between these teams and the Americans record against the Thunder stands at 7-2-0-2. Allen has won the last five times they have played Wichita.
– Head to head Allen has the edge in goals (47-36). Wichita has the edge in shots (388-377). If you look at season-long averages Allen is 22nd in goals per game (2.90) and Wichita is #18 (3.12). If you compare goals allowed per game Allen is 26th (3.77) and Wichita is #24 (3.57).
– Allen has dominated special teams in the five games (all wins) they have played against Wichita since the beginning of January. The Americans were 9-22 (40.1%) on the power play and 94.4% on the penalty kill (1-18). It is hard to expect those kind of stats tonight but if Allen can win the special teams battle it will go a long way in securing a win.
If you look at season-long special team stats it is a different story because Wichita has the best power play in the ECHL at 24.4%. At home, Allen is 17.0% on the power play and 79.3% on the penalty kill. On the road the Thunder are at 27.0% on the power play and 81.3% on the penalty kill.
– While Allen was losing to Utah last night Wichita was beating Tulsa at home by a score of 3-1. Over the last 10 games Allen’s record is 4-6-0-0 and Wichita’s is 5-3-2-0.
– Penalties will play a big part in the game tonight. The referee scheduled seems to call a lot of penalties and with these team’s history you never know what will transpire. In their 11 head-to-head matchups this season, they have had as few as nine penalties for a combined 18 minutes and as many as 33 penalties for 112 minutes. Both teams will be missing key players when it comes to dropping the gloves. Allen will be missing Josh Thrower (injury) and Jake Doty was injured during his first period fight last night so unsure if he will play tonight. Wichita will be missing Dyson Stevenson and Pierre-Cedric Labrie who are on loan to AHL teams.
– It is not hard to come up with the keys to victory. All you have to do is look at the game last night and do the opposite. A better start is mandatory. If Allen can’t generate more than four shots in the first period and three in the second like last night, they don’t deserve to win. The Americans don’t do well when they allow the first goal and they are 6-21-0-1 when trailing after the first period so they will have to get off to a good start tonight. Key number two is stay out of the penalty box. Last night Allen gave up seven power-play opportunities and had four 10 minute misconduct penalties including a game misconduct. That is not the formula for success.
– Dante Salituro has been the leading scorer for Allen against Wichita. He has 15 points (6G, 9A) in 11 games. Zach Pochiro has 13 points (8G, 5A) in nine games against the Thunder.
– The referee scheduled tonight is the same as last night, Jeff Parker (#22). The linesmen will be Michael Miggans (#47) and Jordan Solomon (#78).
The Mountain Division winners last night were Idaho, Utah, and Wichita. The losers were Tulsa, Kansas City, Rapid City, and Allen. Kansas City lost their seventh straight game last night and continue to give hope to Wichita and Rapid City who are trying to catch the Mavericks for the final playoff spot. It is still a long shot but Kansas City has to find a way to get some points. It won’t get any easier tonight as they are in Fort Wayne to take on the Komets.
– There is just a week left in the season but every team in the North Division and the Central Division still has a reasonable chance to make the playoffs.
– The two teams that have separated themselves from the rest of the league are Cincinnati (103 points) and Florida (100 points). They are also the two teams along with Tulsa that have the best record over the last 10 games (8 wins).
– Alex Breton played last night as his Springfield team lost to Binghamton 4-3 in overtime. Alex had no points, a minor penalty for tripping and was -1. Riley Bourbonnais was in the lineup for Iowa as they lost at home to Texas by a score of 5-2. Riley had all zeros in the box score. Springfield will not make the playoffs but Iowa should even though they have lost four straight games.
Did You Know?
The one stat Allen is guaranteed of finishing #1 in the ECHL this season is penalty minutes. The Americans have 1525 penalty minutes which is 136 more than second place Rapid City. What has hurt Allen is all of the 10-minute misconduct, game misconduct, and match penalties. The Americans lead the league in all three categories. Of Allen’s total penalty minutes (1525) almost one third (32%) have been the result on these major 10-minute penalties which for the most part are undisciplined penalties.
The Allen Americans are on pace to have the second most penalty minutes in team history. Here are the penalty minutes for each year in franchise history. The 2018-19 number is a projection based on average penalty minutes per game this season.