ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans squandered a great opportunity to close out their series with the Missouri Mavericks at home on Mother’s Day. It was a disappointing Sunday afternoon for Allen followers as the Americans lost game five to Missouri by a score of 3-1 in front of 4883 fans at the Allen Event Center.
Allen still leads the series 3-2.
So instead of celebrating a series win and planning for the next round against Fort Wayne, the Americans will climb on “Big Red” today for the 475 mile bus trip to Missouri where it will take a heroic effort to get a win in game six (Tuesday) or seven (Wednesday).
What was most disappointing about the loss on Sunday is that it was not the best effort by the Americans.
Co-captain Gary Steffes said it best, “It was disappointing we didn’t close it out when we had the opportunity. We ran into a desperate team that outworked us and earned the win. We will fix the problems by Tuesday.”
The game started out well for Allen as they scored the first goal early in the first period. Greger Hanson scored his sixth goal of the playoffs at the 4.33 mark with assists going to Dyson Stevenson and Spencer Asuchak.
The Hanson goal would be the only goal of the game for Allen. Coach Steve Martinson often says if we play our game and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot we will win. The Americans didn’t play “their game” as the best power play in the league was unable to convert on any of six power play opportunities. And they shot themselves in the foot my giving up a shorthanded goal which ended up being the game winning goal.
The first Mavericks goal was also a “foot shooter” as Matt Register was flushed from behind the net, skated through the crease and turned over the puck when he collided with Casey Pierro-Zabotel. The turnover was compounded when Missouri’s center, Carter Verhaeghe, was left uncovered and put the puck in the net.
“We played a full sixty minutes and it paid off. There were a couple of bad bounces the last couple of nights that ended up in our net, but tonight we played a solid game. Now we look ahead to game six,” said Missouri coach Richard Matvichuk.
The good news for the Americans in the loss was the continued excellent play of goalie Riley Gill and not taking penalties. In the three home games Allen took a total of 14 penalties compared to Missouri’s 19 penalties. Unfortunately, Allen could not take advantage of the extra power play opportunities. In the three home games the Americans were just 1-15 (6.7%) on the power play.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS:
– That is not what we were looking for tonight. In a nutshell, I thought Missouri was desperate around their net, we had lots of scoring chances and pucks in the crease but we just didn’t win the battles for those pucks. The same was true at our end as Missouri won the battles when they had their chances and buried the puck.
– Obviously our power play let us down tonight. The power play could have won us this game. We didn’t handle the puck well and didn’t make great choices. We could have had a couple of fakes when they were blocking shots. The lack of success on the power play along with giving up that shorthanded goal was the difference in the game.
– On their first goal our defensemen was trying to use the net because Missouri flushed him out. I thought he should have made a move to the outside once he saw Zabotel in front of the net. But what was even more frustrating was what happened after the turnover. The puck was in the corner and we have veteran guys on the ice that allow Verhaeghe to skate from the blueline uncontested and nobody says a word. It was one of the things we went over yesterday (Saturday) about communicating. We end up staring and the puck with no communication and the guy gets easy goal.
– Now we have our work cut out for us going to Missouri and trying to end this thing Tuesday night. We are confident in how we play against them but we have to learn from this game.
– I am not happy with everyone I played tonight. I think I will make some adjustment to the lines. Right now we have some guys that are not scoring. I put Greger Hanson, Spencer Asuchak and Dyson Stevenson back together to play against Missouri’s top line and I thought they did a great job. They scored the first goal and played well. There are some other guys that need to step up. J.P. LaFontaine is going to get on a line on Tuesday as I thought he was really good in the third period.
– I thought the difference in the game was we didn’t get our sticks on the puck when we had to and when we had the puck we didn’t bury. Missouri buried their opportunities. Until I look at the tape and see anything different that is my take now. I just don’t think we had everyone playing hard enough to win.
– It is a game of mistakes and Missouri took advantage of our mistakes tonight.
– During the regular season Allen was near the top of the ECHL in shorthanded goals scored. They were ranked #5 with nine shorthanded goals. The Americans gave up 10 shorthanded goals during the regular season which ranked them #22. In the playoffs, Allen’s penchant for allowing shorthanded goals has continued. They are dead last and the only team in the playoffs that has allowed four shorthanded goals. On the flip side, Allen and Reading are the only teams still in the playoffs who have not scored a shorthanded goal.
– Chad Costello did not have a point in the game on Sunday so his scoring streak ends at 30 games. The last game in which Chad did not have a point was February 21. Time for a new streak to begin on Tuesday.
– Despite going 0-6 on the power play on Sunday and 1-15 in the three games in Allen, the Americans still have the best power play in the playoffs at 21.6%.
– The loss on Sunday was the first time Allen has not won a game in the playoffs after scoring the first goal. Their record is now 5-1.
– If Allen wins this series on Tuesday or Wednesday and moves on to the Western Conference final they will play the Fort Wayne Komets. Allen is the lower seed so would start the series on the road. According to the Komets website, the first two games of that series would take place on Friday and Sunday. That means the Americans would go directly to Fort Wayne from Missouri which is a trip of 600 miles. If Missouri comes back and wins this series they would be the higher seed in the Western Conference final so they would start at home. I am sure neither team is thinking about the next series at this point. Winning game six is all that is on everyone’s mind.
– The three conference semi-final series that are still taking place are all at the exact same point. The lower seeds (Adirondack, Allen, Reading) all have a 3-2 lead. The higher seeds (Missouri, South Carolina, Wheeling) must win two games at home to advance. There is one game six tonight (Reading at Wheeling) and two game sixes tomorrow night (Allen at Missouri and Adirondack at South Carolina). If game sevens are necessary they will all take place Wednesday night. So no later than Wednesday night everyone will know the ECHL “final four.”
SHOTS OF THE GAME:
You can find a complete photo gallery from Kimberly Sauer, here https://thesinbin.net/photos-allen-americans-vs-missouri-mavericks-050816/, but here are a few of her great photos from yesterday’s game:
DID YOU KNOW: Since I started this historical series victory probability thing the last few days thought it makes sense to continue to look at the numbers from whowins.com.
When a team has a 3-2 series lead and started the series on the road (Allen’s situation) the probability of winning game six is 57.4% if you look at all sports (MLB, NBA, NHL). The odds of winning the series is 72.6%. If you look just at the NHL the percentage for winning game six it is 60.0% and for winning the series is 76%.
If you look just at NHL quarterfinal seven game series when a team has started on the road and has a 3-2 series lead here are the results. This is as close to the Allen situation as you can get and looks good for the Americans. The historical record in game six is 22-16 (57.9%) and in winning the series is 30-8 (78.9%).