Other than the lack of penalties the 3572 fans that showed up for the Tuesday night St. Patrick’s Day hockey game at the Allen Event Center saw a typical Allen and Wichita match up with Wichita winning in overtime 5-4 to hand Allen their seventh consecutive home loss. The script for games between the Americans and Thunder has been the same for quite a while. Here is what was predicted in the game preview yesterday and the results from the game last night.

– Shots on goal will be close and in the 30’s for both teams. This turned out to be the case for the seventh straight game between these teams. Wichita out shot Allen 38-37.
– The winning team will have at least five goals. For the seventh consecutive game between these teams the winning team had at least five goals.
– The game will be high scoring but the margin of victory will be one or two goals. The one goal margin of victory last night was the eighth time in thirteen games the winning team has won by just one goal. In twelve of the thirteen games the margin of victory has been one or two goals.
– The game could go to overtime. The game last night was the fourth time in the last five games that went to overtime.
– If the game goes to overtime Wichita has the advantage. Wichita’s overtime win last night was their fifth overtime win against Allen this year. The Americans have just one overtime win against Wichita.
– The game was a see saw affair all night with neither team able to take control. There was never more than a one goal lead in the game. Wichita however got the two most important goals as they scored first and they scored last. Goal scorers for Allen were Steffes (42), Costello (33), Schaafsma (15), and Valcak (1).

STEVE MARTINSON’ POST GAME COMMENTS

– Our penalty kill is just terrible right now. We are playing soft and having trouble getting the puck out of our zone. On the power play goal when Wichita tied the score 4-4 we had the puck but didn’t get it out of the zone and then we didn’t collapse back to the net with any urgency and Wichita has a three on two and the puck is in our net. To me the problems on the penalty kill are not X’s and O’s but execution.- I don’t think we had enough guys in the fight tonight especially early in the game. We looked tired and sluggish. We got four goals but the way we are playing defensively right now that is not enough. That is not a good thing to have at this time of the season. When four goals are not enough to win a hockey game in March it is not a good sign. We are not playing good enough to win consistently.- As bad as we are playing right now we know we will be in the playoffs. We are going to have to either play better or get a better lineup, one or the other. It is frustrating for me to watch and I am sure it is frustrating for the fans to watch.

– Even though we have a big lead in the Central Division standings you would think the pride of being first overall in a new league would be enough motivation for this team. The way you play now is what I have to assume is the way you will play in a month so  I have to make decisions accordingly.  You can’t just turn things on when it comes playoff time. It is just not good enough right now.

– Riley Gill was not at his best tonight. I am sure he would like to have a couple of those goals including the game winner back. J.P. Anderson will be in goal tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

– I thought we played better tonight in overtime even though we lost the game but our struggle in overtime is more a reflection of poor defensive play. When you open up the ice with four on four defensive weaknesses get exposed.

– There are a lot of different things not working right now. Giving up two power play goals is not good enough, we need to have more than one line scoring, we have to many turnovers, there were times we should have passed the puck and didn’t and other times we should have shot and tried to pass.

– Asuchak was okay tonight and will get better as he plays more. Just like the last time he went to Providence he did not play a lot so he it will take a couple of games to get up to full speed. He is a hard worker and it will come.

– Ian Schultz will be back at some point but it will be closer to playoff time. He is playing every game for Iowa but they will not make the playoffs so he will be back.

– There are a lot of incentives for players to play well. Getting the best overall record in the ECHL, playing well going into the playoffs and making the final playoff roster.  With a larger roster for the playoffs managing the salary cap is always an issue. The guys we get from the AHL are a bonus as they only count $525 per week against the salary cap. The other incentive for players is to do well now so they can come back if they want to play in Allen next year. Now that we are in the ECHL and with our recruiting advantage (location, weather, facility, airport. loaning players etc.) there will be a lot of players that will want to come to Allen. Especially those players in sunny California who will be displaced when the AHL moves teams west next season. The bottom line is players should have plenty of motivation as well as incentives to be playing their best hockey right now.

OTHER COMMENTS

– Gary Steffes and Chad Costello scored the first two goals for Allen to lead the way last night. Every time Steffes scores a goal he sets a new Allen record which now sits at 42 goals. The same for Costello as he sets a new record every time he gets a point. His goal last night was his 100th point of the season. Chad finished the night with a goal and two assists and now has 101 points which is 32 points more than Jack Combs who is in second place.

Costello & Steffes Continue to Set Records – photo by scenebykimberly.com

 

 

– Not sure if it was because it was a work night, the small crowd, the overtime loss or the looks of the St. Patrick’s Day jerseys or some combination of all of those but heard the post game auction last night resulted in some of the lowest auction prices in a long time. Heard second hand the low price was $150 and the high was $1000 but the majority were at the lower end of that range. By the way, when was the last time this team won on a specialty jersey night? Seems like the team is 0 for forever on specialty jersey night. And as long as the jerseys are the problem and blamed for all of the home losses how about breaking out the white jersey at home to break this streak. Just kidding. haha

– The loss last night was the seventh consecutive loss at home for the Americans. For being one of the best teams in the league it is difficult to see how the play at home turned around so fast. Allen won eleven straight games at home from December 20 to January 29 and since that point has lost seven straight home games from January 30 to March 17.

– The team with best regular season record in the ECHL is awarded the Brabham Cup and Allen is still very much in the race for the best record. Over the last couple of months Allen has won just eleven of twenty four games but is still only one point behind Idaho for the most points in the ECHL. The Americans have squandered the overall points lead and are now tied for second place in points with two other teams. But there is no reason they can’t get things turned around and win the Brabham Cup. Here are the contenders with games remaining to play.

87 points: Idaho Steelheads (10 games remaining)
86 points: Toledo Walleye (13 games remaining)
86 points: Florida Everblades (13 games remaining)
86 points: Allen Americans (12 games remaining)
84 points: Fort Wayne Komets (13 games remaining)

The Brabham Cup

 

– The penalty kill gave up two goals last night and has given up nine power play goals in the last four games against Wichita.

– The big surprise in the game last night was the lack of penalties. With Tyler Barr out of the line up and Wichita bad boy Erick Lizon not fighting, the game was much calmer than in the past. These teams have averaged 72 penalty minutes per game recently. Last night they combined for just sixteen penalty minutes.

– The clinching of a playoff spot has become somewhat of an albatross around the neck of the Americans. Tonight will be the fourth straight game where an Allen victory will clinch a playoff spot. Not much for predictions but have a feeling it happens tonight.

– You have probably heard by now that the Missouri Mavericks claimed Jack Combs off the waiver wire yesterday. The Mavericks were one of several teams that claimed Jack but with their poor record they were the team highest on the waiver claim list. Have to admit it makes you wonder why a team with no chance to make the playoffs would claim the highest paid player in the league knowing he has no interest in playing for the Mavericks. The rules are the rules so Jack’s only choices are to not report and have no income or go play for a team with no chance of advancing to the playoffs.

DID YOU KNOW: If Allen loses at home tonight they will have the longest home winning streak (11) and the longest home losing streak (8) in the ECHL this year.

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