ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans opened the 2019-20 season last night with an exciting 3-2 come from behind overtime victory over the Rapid City Rush before a crowd of 4825 at the Allen Event Center. It was an uphill battle for the Americans for most of the game.
– Rapid City’s Alex Rauter scored the first goal of the game and the only goal of the first period at the 4:26 mark.
You have to be an enthusiastic Allen fan to remember Rauter was a member of the Allen Americans for a couple of hours on trade deadline day last season. Alex became a celebrity of sorts, by being with four different teams on trade deadline day. Rauter woke up as a member of the Manchester Monarchs. Before the day was over, he had been traded first to the Allen Americans, then to the Fort Wayne Komets, and finally to the Rapid City Rush, some 2000 miles away from where the day started. How could this all happen? It all makes more sense than you think. Here is the story: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2019/4/from-manchester-to-rapid-city-all-in-a-day-s-work
– Allen tied the score 1-1 early in the second period on a goal by Brett Pollock, but five minutes later, Rapid City regained the lead on a goal by another former Allen American, Tyler Poulsen. The 2-1 Rush lead stood until 91 seconds were remaining in the game when Jordan Topping tied the score 2-2 to send the contest to overtime. Topping also scored the game-winner at the 2:58 mark of overtime assisted by Josh Lammon and Stepan Falkovsky.
– Special teams were a mixed bag for the Americans. It is just one game, so it doesn’t mean much, but the penalty kill is at 100%, killing all five Rush power plays. The Allen power play went 0-for-6.
Steve Martinson’s Postgame Comments
“I liked that finish, but I didn’t like our first period.”
“We were too stretched out with guys trying to do individual things. We had too many turnovers at the blue line. A lot of times, we would make a long pass, but there was no support, and that is not how we want to play. We need guys going up the ice together.”
“I will clip some video to show some of the new players what I mean by supporting the puck.”
“The good thing is we got better as the game went on, but I think some of the older guys need to be in better shape.”
“Topping had a great finish, and he has a great shot. It was nice to see the young guys make that play in overtime to win the game.”
“I don’t think we had everybody on their A-game tonight. It is going to get more competitive next week when we have a couple more proven goal scorers in the lineup. I can see on the bench some guys don’t like rotating a little bit. This is a competitive business and you have to move and you have to make plays and if you don’t, get out of the way.”
“We have to get ourselves in better position to shoot on the power play. We had a lot of puck possession, but we were not shooting the puck. I will break the video down to show guys where we can be in a better position to get some shots right off the bat.”
“We haven’t worked a lot on systems because we have so many new guys, and I am trying to learn who looks like they can play together. We will get better, we will get smarter, and we will get everyone on the same page.”
“The penalty kill was good tonight. We have better players killing penalties.”
– The Americans will have a real test tonight as they travel to Tulsa to take on the Oilers. The reigning Mountain Division champions dominated Allen last season, going 10-3-0-0 against the Americans.
The Oilers look like one of the teams to beat in the Mountain Division again this season. They opened at home last night and beat the Kansas City Mavericks 5-2. It is still very early in the season, but the game tonight will be a good measuring stick for Allen.
– Tulsa is the one destination that is close enough (230 miles) the Americans can travel the day of the game. The CBA limits same-day travel to destinations under 325 miles.
– Despite winning their lone preseason game and their season opener last night, the Americans did not play well in the first period in either game. In the two games, Allen was outshot 22-9 and outscored 2-0. The Americans won both games even though they allowed the first goals in both games. Historically, the team that scores first wins 75% of the time. Playing against a team as strong as the Tulsa Oilers combined with playing on the road, Allen will have to play better in the first period if they expect to win tonight.
– Martinson will review the video of the game against Rapid City before he makes a decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same lineup tonight. A couple of players (Gabe Gagne & Regan Nagy) are still dealing with immigration issues and are not available. Jared VanWormer will not play unless there is an injury since he did not attend a training camp and has had limited practice time since arriving in Allen on Wednesday.
Did You Know?
Since joining the ECHL, Allen’s record in Tulsa is 18-15-2-3. Last season, the Americans were 2-6 in Tulsa.