The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff Coverage is brought to you by Kalwei Law Firm
For the first 45 minutes of the game last night between Allen and Rapid City it appeared the game would be just like every other home playoff game the Rush have played this year. A low scoring defensive battle decided by one goal. After all, neither team was able to score in the first period and Rapid City got the only goal of the second period. However, the wheels fell off on the Rush in the third period as Allen’s high powered offense out shot Rapid City 14-4 and scored four unanswered goals is less than twelve minutes to win the game 4-1 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. The goal scorers for Allen were Justin Baker (1), Aaron Gens (1), Spencer Asuchak (6), Ian Schultz (4).
The teams will not play today (Friday) before resuming play on Saturday (9:05 p.m. CDT) and Sunday (6:05 p.m. CDT). It may be hard to believe but according to the National Weather Service there is a winter storm watch in effect for Rapid City from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon. Wide spread rain on Saturday morning will turnover to snow in the afternoon. Six to twelve inches of heavy wet snow is possible. Let’s hope this forecast is wrong!
According to coach Martinson the team will have a practice today and go over some of the breakdowns that happened in the game last night and there will be a team dinner tonight.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– We had some good chances early in the game but failed to capitalize on them.
– Riley Gill played great in goal and made some big saves when we had defensive breakdowns and needed a big save. Gill stopped several breakaways and odd man rushes.
– In the third period we settled down and didn’t give up any chances. The Rush didn’t have a shot on goal for most of the third period.
– The way the game was going we could not afford to give up that second goal and dig a hole for ourselves. We were trying not to hurt ourselves and force Rapid City to make good plays to beat us and that is how we played in the third period.
– We just stayed with it until the puck started going in the net early in the third period. It is not rocket science. We just kept pressuring them. When they double shifted their tough guys the last couple of minutes of the game I figured there was no point in helping them sell extra tickets by fighting so we tried not to hit anyone.
– Here are some other post games quotes that were included in a story in the Rapid City Journal written by Richard Anderson.
“You can’t take bad penalties like that, especially in the third period. It is very taxing on our bodies and they are bad penalties. They were both bad penalties.” -Rapid City coach Joe Ferras
“At this stage of the season when we are playing a team like this, your best players have to be your best players. They weren’t tonight, that’s for darn sure.”-Joe Ferras
“You can’t turn the puck over anywhere, but especially against these guys here.” –Joe Ferras
“In the playoffs if you don’t get a goal early, after two periods you start squeezing the stick a little bit. Luckily our team doesn’t do much of that as we really believe in ourselves. We have done it all year including coming back from a four goal deficit earlier in the playoffs. We just stuck with the sysyem and tightened things up.” –Allen defensemen Justin Baker
“He (Battochio) was outstanding and their guy (Gill) was too. We didn’t test him in the third, but we have to find a way to stay out of the box. You have to have urgency at this time of year.” –Joe Ferras
“We played a great 45 minutes of solid hockey. Now we have to be ready to go back to work on Saturday.”-Joe Ferras
OTHER GAME NOTES:
The Americans were officially 0-3 on the power play however the Aaron Gens goal was scored just one second after a penalty had expired. Allen is still scoreless (0-10) on the power play in their three playoff road games. In the odd stat category the Americans are ranked #1 in power play percentage at 24.4% however, that is made up of a home power play percentage of 32.3% and road power play percentage of 0.0%.
Spencer Asuchak continued his playoff hot streak with a goal and an assist last night and earned the #1 star of the game. Spencer has a goal in three straight games, has a point in seven of eight playoff games and is second in in the ECHL in scoring during the playoffs with thirteen points (6 goals 7 assists).
The Allen defensemen showed once again why they are best in the ECHL when it comes to offense. The Americans had a total of eight points last night (4 goals 4 assists) and half of them came from the defense. Baker and Gens had goals and Kevin Young had two assists.
You know you have a potent offense when your team gets four goals as the Americans did last night but the top three goal scorers during the regular season (Steffes – 44, Costello – 41 & Hanson – 29) who accounted for 40% of the team’s goals are held without a goal. Depth has been the key for Allen in the playoffs.
The May 7th magic continued for Allen last night not only because they won but won with a certain symmetry. Here are the May 7th results form the last three years.
2013: Allen wins 3-1 to take a 2-1 series lead
2014: Allen wins 5-1 to take a 3-2 series lead
2015: Allen wins 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead
2016: I am picking 2-1 or 6-1 to take a 2-1 series lead
In the only other action in the ECHL last night Fort Wayne beat Toledo 2-1 in overtime. It was the second straight overtime win for the Komets. The home team has won every game in this series which is now tied 2-2 with game five in Toledo on Saturday.
There are two games tonight in the ECHL with South Carolina having another chance at home to clinch the series with Florida. They lead the series 3-1. The Pacific Division finals also resume tonight with Ontario at Utah for game four. Ontario leads the series 2-1 with the home team having won all three previous games.
DID YOU KNOW: As they did in the regular season the Allen Americans have the most productive offense in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Here are the average goals scored per game for the eight teams remaining in the playoffs.
4.00 – Allen
3.40 – Ontario
3.22 – Utah
3.00 – South Carolina
3.00 – Fort Wayne
2.80 – Florida
2.73 – Toledo
1.90 – Rapid City