ALLEN, Texas – The Idaho Steelheads avoided a sweep last night with a hard-earned 2-1 win over the Allen Americans before a crowd of 4363 at the Allen Event Center.
As was expected the Steelheads came out buzzing and dominated the early play outshooting the Americans 9-2 in the first eight minutes of the game. Several grade-A saves by Allen goalie Jake Paterson allowed the Americans to weather the storm. The Americans once again scored the first goal of the game on a great individual effort by rookie J.C. Campagna. Unlike the first three games of this series, Allen could not make scoring the first goal of the game and taking a lead (1-0) into the first intermission hold up.
– Idaho scored the only goal of the second period to tie the score 1-1 and the only goal of the third period for the 2-1 victory. Special teams and retaliation penalties were the difference in the game as both Steelhead goals were scored when Allen was not at full strength. On the second period goal Jefferson Dahl, the agitator extraordinaire for the Steelheads, was whistled for a cross-check but Zach Pochiro decided to retaliate and turned an Americans power play advantage into two minutes of playing four-on-four during which Idaho scored. Idaho’s game-winning goal early in the third period was scored on the power play and was the result of another retaliation penalty, this time the referees didn’t see the first infraction but caught the retaliation by Bryan Moore.
– The Allen power-play continues to struggle, going 0-3 last night for a series total of 1-13, a paltry power play percentage of 7.7%. Don’t forget the lone power-play goal was on a five-on-three. The penalty kill has also struggled in this series despite Allen’s 3-1 series lead. The Americans penalty kill unit has given up a power-play goal in three of the four games for a total of 3-16 which is a penalty kill percentage of 81.3%. Allen’s power play is ranked #14 of 16 and the penalty kill is ranked #13 of 16 in the Kelly Cup playoffs.
– Here is the Sporfie highlight of Allen’s only goal. A great play by J.C. Campagna: https://sporfie.app.link/putINZFBhM
STEVE MARTINSON’S POSTGAME COMMENTS
– Martinson’s post game interview with Kayla McLain:
– If you watched the video above you can tell Steve Martinson was not happy with the officiating in the game so that was a topic of conversation when I talked to him after the game. One no call Martinson mentioned was when Casey Pierro-Zabotel was taken down from behind and ended up crashing into the net. Here is the Sporfie highlight of that play and you can judge for yourself if Casey was tripped: https://sporfie.app.link/QkfwjA4oiM
– Here are a few of more Martinson’s comments
“We have some work to do on the power play. We talked about what we need to do but then we didn’t do a good job of executing.”
“They have a good team and came out strong. We got outplayed early and were losing puck battles. We weathered the storm early in the first period and managed to score first.”
“Undisciplined penalties hurt us tonight and contributed to both Idaho goals.”
“Our defensemen didn’t have good gaps on either of the Idaho goals.”
“Now we have to get to work, get the work boots on for Sunday.”
– Three teams had a chance to sweep their series last night but only Florida got the job done beating Atlanta 3-2 in overtime to advance to the South Division finals. Wichita kept their hopes alive with a lopsided 6-0 win in Colorado.
– Here is how the playoffs stand after last night:
Manchester, Florida and Toledo have advanced to the second round.
Orlando has a 3-0 lead over South Carolina.
Three series are 3-1, Allen leads Idaho, Colorado leads Wichita and Adirondack leads Worcester.
Finally, Fort Wayne leads Cincinnati 2-1 in their series.
– Games on tap tonight are Worcester at Adirondack, South Carolina at Orlando, Fort Wayne at Cincinnati and Wichita at Colorado.
– Joel Chouinard leads all ECHL players in plus/minus thus far in the playoffs with +8.
– The great starts by Allen are certainly reflected in goals scored by period. Allen has as many goals in the first period (7) as the second and third periods combined. The Americans have outscored Idaho 7-4 in the first period, the goals are tied 3-3 in the second period and 4-4 in the third period.
– Shots by period show Allen getting outshot in all three periods in this series and the shot totals get worse as the game progresses. The Americans have been out shot 42-45 in the first period, 38-44 in the second period and 30-52 in the third period.
– Allen doesn’t play tonight but a couple of possible additions to the roster do play today. Vincent Arseneau and his Utica Comets play in Toronto at 4:00 pm EDT in the first game of their best of five series. Colby McAuley and the San Jose Barracuda are at home to take on the Tucson Roadrunners in a late game (9:00 pm Allen time). Tucson leads the series 1-0.
– Matt Willows, who spent time with Allen last season, announced yesterday he was retiring from professional hockey at the ripe old age of 26. Talk about going out on top, Willows led the Reading Royals in points (74) and goals (32) this season. His 74 points were ranked third in the ECHL and his 32 goals were ranked sixth.
DID YOU KNOW: How have the odds changed after Allen lost last night and now holds a 3-1 lead in the series? Based on historical NHL data in seven game series where one team takes a 3-1 lead the odds of winning the series is 90.8% but the odds of winning game five is only 56.1%.