ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans beat the Missouri Mavericks 2-0 last night before a shocked crowd of 4238 at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena to take a 1-0 lead in their best of seven series. The Americans were led by Riley Gill who recorded 34 saves in the shutout. Prior to last night the Mavericks had not been shutout since the final game of last season (April 11, 2015).
– Allen got on the board early as Greger Hanson tallied his fourth goal of the playoffs just 70 seconds into the game. Maverick’s goalie, Josh Robinson, got hung up behind his net and was scrambling back into position when Hanson scored.
– The Americans got an insurance goal early in the second period on the power play when Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored his third goal of the playoffs. Casey batted in a rebound out of midair on an Eric Roy shot from the point.
– The Americans were able to accomplish all three keys to the game. They got off to a good start scoring the first goal at the 1:10 mark, they won the special teams battle going 1-4 while holding Missouri scoreless in five power play opportunities and the Americans got outstanding goal tending from Riley Gill who stopped all 34 Maverick shots.
– Game two is tonight with a 7:05 pm puck drop.
QUOTES FROM THE GAME
“Our penalty kill was solid all game.”…..Allen coach Steve Martinson
“We need to stay out of the penalty box”…..Martinson
“Gill has been really efficient and has been stopping everything that comes his way.”…..Martinson
“I think we picked up some momentum when we beat Missouri twice here earlier in the month.”…..Martinson
“I thought all of the defensemen played really well in front of Gill tonight and our team defense as a whole was exceptional.”…..Aaron Gens who was on the bench with coach Martinson
“Riley Gill was amazing tonight. When he gets in one of those zones, he’s really tough to beat.”…..Gens
“Our whole goal was to jump on them early, but we have to take away the good things from this game. We had just as many good chances, if not more.” …..Maverick’s captain Trevor Ludwig
“Giller, for them, played well. He’s big and he came out and challenged us.”…..Ludwig
GAME TWO PREVIEW:
– Tonight’s game will be the fourth in five nights for the Americans and the one day they didn’t play they spent eight hours on the bus traveling to Missouri. The Mavericks have played just once in the last eight days and are definitely the fresher team. It will be interesting to see if the momentum Allen gained with their seventh game overtime victory against Idaho on Wednesday and the 2-0 shutout win over Missouri last night, can overcome the tired legs and sore bodies they will be dealing with tonight.
– Special teams have been a big part of Allen’s success all season as they had the best power play in the league during the regular season. They have been even better in the playoffs. With another power play goal last night the Americans power play is ranked #1 at 31% and is over 8% better than any other team in the playoffs. Missouri’s power play is at 16.7% after going 0-5 last night.
– Chad Costello is such a key for Allen to be successful. Chad has a point in every playoff game thus far and leads the ECHL in points (tied with 10), assists (9), power play assists (7) and power play points, (7). It is hard to believe Chad has at least one point in 27 straight games going back to the end of February.
– Referees scheduled for the game tonight are the same as last night, Tyler Puddifant (#28) and Pierre Lambert (#20). The linesmen will be Erik Contino (#92) and Mitch Macpherson (#48).
– San Jose was eliminated from the AHL playoffs last night by the Ontario Reign. The Barracuda lost the game last night 4-1 and the best of five series 3-1. That means Nikita Jevpalovs could be assigned to Allen. If that happens you could expect he would arrive in Allen early next week and be in the lineup for the game on Wednesday.
– Missouri had one player (Kellen Jones) back from the AHL last night and will most likely have more tonight. The names most frequently mentioned are Patrick Cullity and Ross Johnston. Goalie Parker Milner should also be back and could get the start in goal. If these guys are in the lineup tonight it could give the Mavericks a big lift in what is an important game two.
– Visiting teams continue to do well in the playoffs. As the second round kicked off last night, the teams most people picked to make it to the Kelly Cup finals (Missouri & South Carolina) lost at home. South Carolina lost to Adirondack 5-4. In the other two series the higher seeds won at home. Wheeling beat Reading 4-1 and Fort Wayne beat Utah 6-4. So much for low scoring playoff games.
– Riley Gill is closing in on the ECHL all time record for wins in the playoffs. Riley has won 41 playoff games in his career and needs two more to tie the record.
– This series (Allen vs Missouri) will have many ups and downs for both teams so the most important thing is to stay focused and avoid getting too high on the good days and too low on the bad days. It is one reason having a coach with the experience of Steve Martinson is so important. He has learned many coaching lessons over the past 20 years and always seems to be at his best in the playoffs.
DID YOU KNOW: In the odd stat category the Americans have won their last three games in Missouri (3-2, 3-2 & 2-0). Allen had 27 shots on goal in all three wins.