ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans opened the first a two-game set with the Colorado Eagles Saturday night in Loveland, Colorado. The pair of games could be a preview of the opening round of the playoffs. Heading into the contest, the Eagles were seeded first in the division, while the Americans were seeded fourth.
It looked like Allen might defy the odds when they came back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period by scoring three unanswered goals in 115 seconds to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Colorado showed why they are the top team in the division by scoring three unanswered goals of their own in the third period to take a 5-3 lead. Allen scored with 50 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one and had a good scoring chance just before the final buzzer, but Colorado prevailed 5-4.
– There were certainly some bright spots for Allen as they held Colorado to 23 shots on goal and scored three power-play goals. It was the first time the Americans had scored more than one power-play goal in a game in two months (January 19). It was a great comeback with the flurry of goals in the second period.
– On the flip side of the ledger, Allen allowed four or more goals for the fourth consecutive game and that is not the formula for success even though it worked in the prior three games. Allen’s record when allowing four or more goals is 4-22. Colorado’s record when scoring four or more goals is 28-4. Best to not get into a high scoring game with the Eagles. Allen also gave up their ninth shorthanded goal of the season last night.
– Allen lost the third period by a score of 3-1 which has been a pattern this season. Last year Allen was the best in the league outscoring their opponents in the third period 120-59. This season they have been outscored by their opponents 77-66 in the third period.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS
“Some goals against you can take because you do things correctly and the other team just makes a good play. All five goals tonight were a result of weak defending. Some guys keep reappearing on the weak side of the goals against.”
“The first goal was just a soft wall play where the player used his stick rather than shoulder which resulted in the loss of a puck battle.”
” On the second goal, the same player turns the puck over on the power play and doesn’t backcheck hard. It should have been a three-on-three but instead, it was a three-on-two and ended up with a shorthanded goal.”
“On the third goal, our forward comes out of the box and doesn’t fill the defensive position. We ended up with four players on the same side of the ice and their defenseman all alone in the slot. Ratelle makes a great play from his stomach but the player all alone in the slot (Watson) should have been covered.”
“On the fourth goal, our forward gets knocked down before he can cycle the puck. The high forward has a bad read and should have stayed high. Colorado starts up ice on a four-on-two with no back pressure. That is a hard goal to give up with eight minutes left in the game.”
“On the fifth goal, we try to beat their defense at the far blue line instead of making a simple pass. It becomes a three-on-one which they miss but their winger wins the battle in the corner against two of our players. He has one goal in 15 games, but our defenseman leaves in front of the net and commits to a guy that can’t score while leaving the eventual goal scorer all alone in front.”
“In summation, the five goals against were all derived from mistakes, weak physical play and weak cerebral play. It is not a good time of year to make the same mistakes over and over. We have been weak defensively the last seven periods, and it finally caught up with us tonight.”
“I have two leading scorers coming to the team with more to follow. How you play in these big games is how I am going to expect you to play in the playoffs. I will have several new players joining the team who will not only be competing for top ice time spots. So we have several players competing for the top ice time positions which ultimately means other players competing for roster spots.”
ALLEN VS COLORADO REMATCH PREVIEW
– The Americans take on the Eagles this afternoon (4:05 pm CDT) in the sixth and final game of this 15-day road trip. I am sure everyone is excited to get home and the road trip is a success no matter what happens today. With that said the two points today are crucial in Allen’s quest for a playoff spot and also to show they can play with Colorado. With the loss, last night Allen’s regular season record in Colorado since joining the ECHL dropped to 1-4.
– One key to success this afternoon is a good start. Last night Colorado scored first and their record is 25-4-3-2 when they score first. The Eagles led 1-0 after the first period and their record at home when leading after the first period stands at 15-1-0-1. The team that has scored first has won every game these teams have played this season. Allen needs an early goal this afternoon.
– Allen has allowed 17 goals in the last four games (4.25 per game). They can’t expect to win against a team like Colorado unless they can cut down on the defensive mistakes and allow fewer than four goals. Martinson doesn’t like to tip his hand on starting goalies but my guess is Jeremy Brodeur might get the start this afternoon.
– Another key is to keep up the good work on special teams. Despite the shorthanded goal last night Allen was 3-6 on the power play, perfect on the penalty kill (0-2) and did a good job of staying out of the penalty box.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Alex Garon (#9) and linesmen Chase McGee (#40) and Jon Shaw (#76).
– It was overtime night in the ECHL last night as five of the 11 games were decided in overtime. Wichita and Utah both lost in overtime so Allen’s regulation loss was not as costly as it could have been. The battle for the playoffs now has Wichita in third place (73 points), Allen still in fourth place (68 points), Tulsa in fifth place (67 points) and Utah in sixth place (64 points). Allen has two games in hand on Wichita and one on Tulsa and Utah. In addition to Allen at Colorado this afternoon, Utah is in action at Worcester. Both Wichita and Tulsa are idle.
– Olivier Archambault followed up his game-winning overtime goal on Friday with a two-goal performance last night as the Syracuse Crunch beat the Laval Rocket 5-2. Archambault was selected as the #1 star of the game both nights. It is safe to say Olivier will not be back in Allen anytime soon. Syracuse has already qualified for the playoffs and has the third best record in the AHL. With a distinct possibility of a long playoff run for the Crunch, it appears likely Archambault will not be back in Allen for the playoffs.
– Vincent Arseneau was not in the lineup for Utica last night. They play again this afternoon.
– Big Red had another road emergency yesterday on the way from Tulsa to Kansas City which resulted in the game being postponed. The sellout St. Patrick’s Day crowd had to come up with other plans and losing a big gate like that did not make the Mavericks brass happy. The game has been rescheduled for the first Monday in April. Trading out a Saturday night St. Patrick’s Day sellout for a Monday night game in April can’t be pleasant.
DID YOU KNOW: Since joining the ECHL in 2014, the Allen defense has been extremely consistent when it comes to goals allowed. In 2014-15 they allowed 203 goals, in 2015-16 they allowed 204 goals and in 2016-17 they allowed 203 goals. This season Allen is assured of setting a record for most goals allowed in a season. With ten games remaining the Americans have already allowed 199 goals this season.