ALLEN, TX – This season has certainly been a case of one step forward and two steps back. After a win in Utah on Wednesday the Americans had won four of five road games and were headed to Idaho for two games and a chance to climb to second place in the division standings. Instead, Allen was swept by the Steelheads and are now just one point out of last place in the standings.
– Allen lost last night by a score of 5-2 and the script was all too familiar. A poor start by being outplayed, out shot and out scored in the first period. The Americans were out shot in the first period 17-9 and gave up the first goal for the 13th time in 19 games. The score at the end of the first period was 1-0.
– Act two of the all too familiar script was losing the special teams battle. The penalty kill unit allowed two power play goals in four Idaho opportunities. Meanwhile the Americans were 0-4 on the power play. Allen’s power play percentage is now at 7.8% and the penalty kill is at 81.2%.
– Act three was typical as the Americans dominated play in the third period, out shot Idaho 16-5 and scored a couple of goals but it was too little and too late. Allen’s first goal was scored by Greger Hanson (9) who took an errant pass just as he was coming out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway. The Americans cut the score to 4-2 late in the third period on a goal by Spencer Asuchak (7). Joel Chouinard took a shot from the left point, Chad Costello was in front of the net for the rebound but his shot went off the post. Asuchak picked up the shot off the post and put it in the net. Idaho got an empty net goal to make the final score 5-2.
– Most of the team headed home to Allen right after the game on a 1605 mile trip that will take close to 30 hours if all goes as planned. Big Red has been repaired so hopefully the trip home will be uneventful. Tommy Daniels mentioned on his broadcast last night that some, including himself, were staying in Boise overnight and flying home to Dallas. Those that choose the flying option would do so at their own expense.
– The Americans close out November with two more road games in Tulsa on Tuesday and Missouri on Wednesday.
– Unless and until the Americans improve their special teams play they are destined to toil at the bottom of the Mountain Division standings. How they have fallen so far in one year is inexpiable. How can you go from first to worst with the same core group of players? Last season Allen was ranked #1 on the power play at 21.1% and #3 on the penalty kill at 86.4%. This season they are ranked #26 on the power play at 7.8% and #20 on the penalty kill at 81.2%.
– This stat tells you all you want to know about the power play. Allen has now played 19 games (26% of the season) and scored just six power play goals. However, the power play unit has allowed six shorthanded goals. When you give up as many goals on the power play as you score you have a serious problem. C’MON MAN!
– If coach Steve Martinson wants to make some roster changes to help improve the anemic power play, one place to look is at the list of players that were given qualifying offers at the end of June. Qualifying offers were given to five players (Matt Register, David Makowski, Eric Roy, Greger Hanson, Ian Schultz). Of that group Makowski and Schultz signed in Europe. Allen has their ECHL rights and they could sign with Allen as long as they do so by February 15. Makowski was the Americans’ second leading power play scorer last season trailing only Chad Costello in power play points. Ian Schultz was great at screening the goalie and making his presence known in front of the net on the power play. A big factor in luring either of these guys back to Allen is they both play on teams that will not make the playoffs. Makowski’s team is in 10th place in a 12 team league and Schultz’s team is in ninth place in a 10 team league. Makowski in particular would help as he is a right shot who could help at the left point. It may be wishful thinking but it is at least a possibility.
– Chad Costello had an assist last night to continue his point streak. Chad has a least one point in nine straight games. He has failed to get a point in just three of the Americans first 19 games. Costello is third in the ECHL scoring race with 25 points (6 goals 19 assists).
– Greger Hanson had a goal in both losses in Idaho and leads the team with nine goals.
– The gap between Allen and the top of the Mountain Division standings continues to widen. There are now two teams (Colorado & Idaho) that are eight points ahead of Allen. Here are the current standings:
24 points – Colorado
24 points – Idaho
21 points – Alaska
17 points – Rapid City
16 points – Allen
16 points – Utah
15 points – Missouri
– Chris Crane played in his first game last night since being traded. It was a great beginning for Chris as he scored the first goal of the game and was named the #3 star as his Orlando Solar Bears defeated the Brampton Beast.
– In other ECHL action last night, Rick Pinkston and J.P. LaFontaine, who were teammates just a couple of weeks ago faced off against each other. Each had an assist in the game as LaFontaine’s team (Elmira) came out on top of Pinkston’s team (Manchester) 5-3.
DID YOU KNOW: How bad is the Allen power play this year? Giving up as many shorthanded goals (6) as they have power play goals (6) says it all but here is Allen’s power play percentage for each year in franchise history. With 26% of the season already in the books the Americans will have to really pick up the power play to avoid having it be the all time worst in franchise history.