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Allen Americans

McAuley’s Return Boosts Allen to Win

McAuley’s Return Boosts Allen to Win

ALLEN, Texas – After losing to Rapid City 5-2 on Wednesday the Allen Americans flipped the script last night beating the Rush 5-2 before a crowd of 1821 at the Allen Event Center.

With the exception of a continuing anemic power play, the Americans hit all of the keys to the game. Allen scored first and improved its record when scoring the first goal of the game to 18-4-1-0. The Americans held a 1-0 lead after the first period and improved their record when leading after the first period to 13-0-2-0. Allen outshot Rapid City 35-29 and improved its record when outshooting the opponent to 14-4-0-0. Finally, the Americans penalty kill was perfect again (0-6) and also contributed a shorthanded goal.

Allen was led by Colby McAuley who was playing in his first game since January 31. He was involved in four of the five Allen goals, scoring two and assisting on two. Colby had a chance for a hat trick on Allen’s fifth goal but unselfishly passed the puck on a 2-on-1 break to Corey Mackin who scored shorthanded.

Goalie Frank Marotte, who just arrived in Allen, was making his first professional start and if he was nervous, it didn’t show. I am sure it helped that the Americans got an early lead and were up 3-0 before Rapid City scored two quick goals at the end of the second period. Marotte along with a strong defense blanked Rapid City in the third period and scored two goals of their own to make the final score 5-2. Marotte stopped 27 of 29 shots for a save percentage of .931.

The goal scorers for Allen were Samuel Laberge (10), Colby McAuley (2,3), Spencer Asuchak (7), and Corey Mackin (15). Here are the video highlights from the Allen Americans YouTube Channel:

Allen’s shorthanded goal last night was the fifth of the season with four of the five coming against Rapid City. The Rush leads the ECHL in shorthanded goals allowed with nine. The Americans five shorthanded goals have come from Corey Mackin (2), Josh Lammon (2) and Samuel Laberge (1).

Allen’s home power play has gone from bad to worse by adding another 0-4 to the drought last night. The Americans haven’t scored a power-play goal at home since February 3. That is seven games and 20 power plays without a goal. The home power-play percentage has fallen to single digits (9.8%) which is dead last. No other team has a home power-play percentage lower than 12.1%.

Talk about disparities the Americans home power play is ranked #14 at 9.8% (5-51) but their road power-play percentage is ranked #2 at 20.5% (18-88).

The first team to three goals wins theory is alive and well despite my prediction it would come to an end last night. In all seven games between Allen and Rapid City this season, the losing team has scored two goals. Luckily, Allen has scored two goals just two times and has a record of 5-2 against the Rush.

Rubber Match Preview

What does Allen need to do to win tonight and this series? For the most part, it is more of the same.

The Americans have been playing the physical style they are known for and everyone is finishing checks.

They have been getting off to good starts and have outshot Rapid City 70-52 in the first two games.

Special teams have been a combination of good and bad. The good is an outstanding penalty kill unit (0-10) that has outscored the Rapid City power play 1-0 in the first two games. The bad is the Allen power-play unit, which is 0-10 in the first two games. I thought the power play unit had a lot of puck possession last night but if you watch the Rapid City penalty kill, you will notice they are allowing Allen to possess the puck outside and clogging up the middle to block shots. Special teams is a game of adjustments reacting to what the opponent is doing so Allen needs to adjust.

Rapid City gets 40% of its goals from three players; Tyler Coulter, Avery Peterson, and Peter Quenneville. Coulter and Peterson scored both Rush goals last night. Coulter and Quenneville scored in Rapid City’s win on Wednesday. To be successful tonight Allen needs to limit the damage from the top three.

When I talked to coach Steve Martinson this morning, he said he was pleased with how the team played last night, with the exception of the two minutes toward the end of the second period when Rapid City scored twice. Allen played with only five defensemen last night as Philip Beaulieu was out sick. Hopefully, he can return to the lineup tonight. The team may still be shorthanded as another player is a game-time decision. Marotte will get the start in net.

Elsewhere…

Wichita lost at home last night, which allowed Allen to move into second place in the Western Conference standings by the slimmest of margins. Allen’s points percentage is .639 and Wichita’s is .638.

Kansas City beat Wichita on the road while Utah was losing at home to Tulsa. This allowed Kansas City to sneak past Utah for fourth place in the conference and the final playoff spot. The Mavericks have a points percentage of .541 and Utah is at .539.

It is strange to look at the standings and see every Western Conference team and 13 of 14 ECHL teams with a points percentage at .500 or higher. How is this possible? Because 69 games have gone to overtime/shootout so three points were awarded instead of just two for a regulation win.

The ECHL Stats post this morning is a list of players with the most multi-point games:

Did You Know?

Chad Costello holds almost every offensive record for the Allen Americans. I went back to look at how many multi-point games Chad had in the three seasons he played in Allen. Here is what I found:

38 – 2014-15
37 – 2016-17
26 – 2015-16

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    Barry Janssen covers the Allen Americans for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @allenamericans1.

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