ALLEN, Texas – Two goals in the fourth minute of the game just 46 seconds apart doomed the Allen Americans last night as they lost 4-2 to the Rapid City Rush before a crowd of 1718 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. To make matters worse, the first two goals were scored by former Allen Americans, Garrett Klotz and Mike Hedden.
Game Recap & Stats
After falling behind 2-0, Allen closed the gap to 2-1 with 49 seconds remaining in the first period on Zane Franklin‘s sixth goal of the season, but that is as close as Allen would get. Rapid City had a 4-1 lead when Spencer Asuchak scored his 11th goal of the season and fourth goal in as many games. Asuchak’s goal came at the 15:36 mark of the third period on the power play to make the score 4-2. The Americans pulled goalie Frank Marotte and had some opportunities but could not close the gap from 4-2.
The odds were against the Americans from the time they gave up the two goals early in the game. Here are the facts:
7-9-1-1: Allen’s record when they give up the first goal of the game.
1-9-0-0: Allen’s record when trailing after the first period.
3-10-0-0: Allen’s record when trailing after the second period.
0-8-0-0: Allen’s record on the road when trailing after the second period.
If there was a silver lining from the loss last night it was special teams. Allen managed a power-play goal going 1-2. The Americans have at least one power-play goal in four straight games and in eight of their last nine games. In those nine games dating back to March 27, Allen’s power-play percentage is a lofty 25.6% (11-43).
Allen’s penalty kill has not allowed Rapid City a power-play goal in the last eight games these teams have played. They have played nine games this season and Allen’s penalty kill percentage is now 97.0% (1-33).
Les Lancaster was able to play last night after being banged up in the series against Kansas City. It was good that Lancaster was able to play because the Americans played with just five defensemen.
Matt Register had two more assists in the loss last night and now has a four-game assist streak. He has nine assists in his last six games. Matt ranks third in points by a defenseman in the ECHL with 33 (2G, 31A). Lancaster still leads the pack with 35 points (13G, 22A).
Coach Steve Martinson thought team defense was an issue last night which included losing track of players on the weak side on a couple of the goals and the forwards not getting back quick enough on some of the goals. Martinson also said the team was missing some of the toughness in front of the net. Some of the defensemen with the most hits are gone including Turner Ottenbreit, Nolan Kneen, Kayle Doetzel, and Will Lochead. The team will get some of that toughness back with the addition of Darian Skoech who arrived in Rapid City last night and will play on Friday. Another tough defenseman will join the team at the end of next week.
Garrett Klotz scored the first goal of the game against his old team. It was just the second goal and sixth point of the season for Klotz in 35 games played. Garrett was playing his first game after missing the last four because of the birth of his daughter last week.
Allen’s record against Rapid City is now 5-4-0-0 but the Rush have won three of the last four games including two in Allen.
Playoff Race Update
Today is an off day before the three-game series resumes on Friday and Saturday. It was only one game, but with the loss last night, Allen moved from first place to third place in the Western Conference standings. Wichita is first (.670), Fort Wayne is second (.667) and Allen is third (.656).
The top three spots in the Western Conference seem to shuffle after each game.
Here is what is in store for the weekend:
Allen – plays in Rapid City on Friday and Saturday
Wichita – plays Tulsa in Tulsa on Friday and in Wichita on Saturday and Sunday
Fort Wayne – plays Wheeling at home on Friday, at Indy on Saturday, and at Wheeling in Sunday. FYI, starting on Sunday, Fort Wayne plays Wheeling six straight times.
Rapid City’s win last night along with Utah’s overtime loss to Kansas City pulled the Rush closer to the fourth and final playoff spot. Utah is in fourth place in the conference (.543) but Rapid City is right behind (.521). Tulsa and Kansas City bring up the rear with matching .500 points percentages.
Here is the odd stat of the day: Because of so many extra time games this season when three points are awarded instead of two for a game won in regulation time, every team in the ECHL has a points percentage of .500 or above with the exception of Wheeling who has a points percentage of .409. South Carolina has lost 25 of 44 games but has a points percentage of .545.
Did You Know?
Two rookie goalies that have played in Allen (one current, one last season) are among the top rookie goalies in the ECHL:
ECHL rookie goalies with the most wins this season:
15 – Evan Weninger, Wichita
9 – Devin Cooley, Florida
7 – Justin Kapelmaster, Allen
7 – Stefanos Lekkas, Fort Wayne
7 – Matt Greenfield, Kansas City
6 – Hunter Shepard, South Carolina
ECHL rookie goalies with the best save percentage this season (minimum 600 minutes played):
.926 – Evan Weninger
.920 – Matt Greenfield
.915 – Hunter Shepard
.914 – Stefanos Lekkas
.913- Devin Cooley
.913 – David Tendeck
.912 – Justin Kapelmaster