ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans ended their two-game losing skid last night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Utah Grizzlies. A win is a win and any time you can add two points in the standings is a good night, especially at home, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get back to the Allen team that started the season with a record of 12-3.
Maybe the die was cast when Allen scored the first goal of the game. The Americans had given up the first goal in four straight games prior to last night. It took until 1:27 of the second period but they managed their first and only goal of the game (until the shootout) when Corey Mackin scored shorthanded. Allen is almost unbeatable when scoring first with a record of 11-1.
If you watched the game and look at the box score there are several things that stand out. The first being the fact Utah was playing with a short bench. They just had two of their best players loaned to their AHL affiliate (Colorado) so the Grizzlies played last night with 14 skaters, instead of the 17 allowed. Despite being shorthanded, the Grizzlies outshot the Americans 32-25 including a lopsided 15-6 in the third period, when Allen should have been the fresher team. Coach Steve Martinson‘s comment to me was, “Utah’s forwards had more energy in the third period than we did.” Jake Paterson made a spectacular save on what should have been a sure goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game. It was definitely a game saver.
Neither team did much in the overtime period with each getting just one shot on goal. It was another story when the game went to a shootout. The shootout didn’t even go three rounds as Allen’s shooters, first Conner Bleackley and then Mackin both scored and Paterson stopped Utah’s first two shooters to secure the win. Allen caught a break as the Grizzlies switched goalies for the shootout which has to be tough for the goalie that sat on the bench the entire game and overtime to come in cold for the shootout. Haven’t seen any comments about the reason for the switch but an injury is the only plausible reason you would make a change.
Utah’s only goal came on the power play. The Americans have allowed a power-play goal in seven of their last eight games. The penalty kill percentage over that time is a meager 70.8%.
Allen was scoreless on the power play (0-2) and has not scored a power-play goal in the last three games. However, the Americans have had few power-play opportunities the last three games going 0-for-5.
The Americans are now 2-0 in shootouts (both against Utah) and have the best conversion percentage in the ECHL at 60 percent (3-5) and are also tied for first in shootout goals allowed with zero (0-5).
Conner Bleackley made a great pass to Corey Mackin for Allen’s only goal last night. The two also scored the Allen goals in the shootout. Bleackley has played in 12 games since signing in Allen and has yet to have a negative plus/minus game. He leads the team in plus/minus (+11), Matt Register is second at +9.
Here are the video highlights with the goals, the fights, the shootout and Paterson’s remarkable save:
Other News and Notes:
– The Americans now prepare for a trip to Kansas City where they will play the Mavericks on Saturday (7:05 CST), Sunday (4:05 CST) and Monday (1:05 CST). Allen then returns home to play the Mavericks twice more (February 19 & 20). The Allen roster is down to 20 players with two goalies, eight defensemen, and 10 forwards but that includes forward Colby McAuley who is on injured reserve. Martinson has players coming but not sure if anyone will be available for this weekend. You can be sure he is on the phone talking to players, agents, and coaches.
– Braylon Shmyr was released yesterday. He returned to Allen this season after playing for the Americans as a rookie in 2018-19 when he had 44 points (20G, 24A). Shmyr was injured in training camp and spent the first two months of the season on injured reserve. He played in three games since he returned to the lineup and had no points. In talking to Martinson, he knows he has forwards coming soon and he wanted to release Shmyr now rather than later because teams are looking for forwards and Braylon will be claimed off waivers.
– Three of the top six Allen players in points per game are no longer with the team as they have been recalled by their AHL team; first, Joe Garreffa (1.18), fifth Tyler Sheehy (.92), and sixth Jake McGrew (.73).
– Now, second, Corey Mackin (1.00), third, Jesse Mychan (.95) and fourth, Matt Register (.94) are carrying the load. Register leads all ECHL defensemen in points per game (minimum 10 games).
– Wichita signed former Allen forward Bryan Moore last week but he refused to report. The Thunder have now signed another former Allen forward, J.C. Campagna.
– The Americans had the smallest crowd of the season last night with 1246 attending the game. When you combine it was a rare Tuesday night game, the Dallas Stars were playing and the weather forecast was iffy it was a tough combination of factors. Allen’s average attendance after eight home games is now 1835 which places them #9 of the 13 teams playing. Look for the average attendance to increase as the season progresses.
– Here is my post from ECHL stats today. Quite a tribute to Allen that of the five players in ECHL history that have won three or more championships, two of them have won championships in Allen:
Most ECHL championships
4 Nick Vitucci-Carolina ‘89, Greensboro ‘90, Toledo ‘94, Charlotte ‘96
3 Scott Burt-Idaho ‘04, ‘07, Alaska ‘11
3 Riley Gill-Reading ‘13, Allen ‘15, ‘16
3 Matt Register-Allen ‘16, Colorado ‘17, ‘18
3 Patrick Wellar-Alaska ‘06, So. Carolina ‘09, Reading ‘13
— ECHL Stats (@EchlStats) February 10, 2021
Did You Know?
Tyler Ludwig – 2013, 2014, 2015
Trevor Ludwig – 2013, 2014, 2015
Brian McMillin – 2013, 2014, 2015
Jamie Schaafsma – 2013, 2014, 2015
Spencer Asuchak – 2014, 2015, 2016
Greger Hanson – 2014, 2015, 2016
For all things Allen Americans, follow Barry Janssen on Twitter @AllenAmericans1. For the latest stats and trends in the ECHL, follow @ECHLStats. And for the latest news on your favorite AHL & ECHL team, “Like” The Sin Bin on Facebook!