Unlike last year when Allen gave up nine goals in a 9-6 loss to Tulsa there were plenty of positives in the loss to Quad City last night. Defensive play was good for the most part, Joel Rumpel was good in goal and the Americans had plenty of good scoring chances. There were too many turnovers when players were trying to make plays and dumping the puck into the zone would have been a better choice. There were a lot of passes that just missed or bounced off skates and sticks but that will improve each game. Coach Martinson always says to win games the best players have to be the best players and that wasn’t the case against Quad City. There will be very few games all season where the top six forwards fail to score a goal but last night was one of those nights.
The box score for the game has oddity written all over it. Who would have guessed after one game Gary Steffes would lead the team in penalty minutes, Garrett Clarke would lead the team in goals and Joel Rumpel would be tied for the team lead in assists.
STEVE MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS:
– We were a lot better defensively than in our home opener last year when we gave up nine goals so I guess that is a positive.
– I thought our power play was pretty good even though we didn’t score. We had the puck in their zone a lot. We had plenty of good chances but just could not get the puck in the net.
– Hockey is a game of mistakes and on their one goal we had a turnover and had guys caught on the wrong side which led to a three on one and they scored. On their power play goal there was a pile up in front of the net and our forward comes flying in and the next thing you know they have all day to put the puck in the net. We had a couple of weak plays that allowed them to score but we had plenty of good scoring chance ourselves.
– As much as I don’t like losing the first game you can take a lot of positives from tonight. I think some of our best players didn’t get much done tonight and that won’t happen very often.
– I kind of kick myself on our preseason game. We started training camp two days late and then I let some players not play in the preseason game so they ended up with Saturday and Sunday off. I will never do that again. If we are going to only have one preseason game next year I will play the main guys.
– I thought we had too many turnovers in the second period trying to be cute. Everyone was trying to pass to Costello whether he was open or not. Sometimes it looked like we were running football plays in the neutral zone where guys would just take off rather than supporting the puck.
– Rick Pinkston hurt his shoulder so Eric Roy will be in the line up against Tulsa. Riley Gill has the flu and will probably miss the entire weekend. Joel Rumpel will be in goal again tomorrow.
Have to admit last night was the best mood I have ever seen from Steve Martinson after a loss. It just says he sees a lot of potential from this team.
Congratulations to Aaron Gens who Steve Martinson selected as an alternate captain and was wearing the “A” last night. He joins co-captains Gary Steffes and Chad Costello as the on ice leadership team. All three guys have emphasized over and over again that there are many leaders on this team and it is not that important who wears the “C” & “A”.
Congrats also to Trevor Ludwig who has been selected as captain of the Missouri Mavericks. It is quite an honor to join a team for the first time and be recognized for your leadership skills immediately. Those three championships over the last three years earn some instant respect. Trevor joins Jamie Schaafsma (Fort Wayne) in the Allen alumni club that have become captains of their new team.
There were 11 games in the ECHL on opening night with Tulsa having the biggest crowd at 7685. The average for the 11 games was 4918 so Allen was just under the average at 4745.
The Allen Americans had great success against Tulsa last season with a record of 12-4-0-1 but you can throw that out the window as the Oilers have a new coach (Jason Chrisite who coached the Ontario Reign last year) and a new affiliation with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL) and Manitoba Moose (AHL). The affiliations, which Tulsa did not have last season, have resulted in a new pool of young players becoming available to the Oilers.
Leading scorer for Allen against the Oilers last year was Chad Costello which is no surprise as he was the leading scorer against most teams Allen played. Chad had 31 points (15 goals 16 assists) in 17 games. The leading scorer for Tulsa against Allen last year with seven goals and 11 assists, T.J. Caig, is not with the team as he is playing in Scotland this year.
Tulsa lost their home opener last night to Wichita 3-2 in a heart breaker as the Thunder got the game winning goal with just over a minute left in the game and just nine seconds after Tulsa had come from behind to tie the score 2-2.
DID YOU KNOW: Can’t say it is a trend but all three CHL teams that joined the ECHL last year that played established ECHL teams last night lost. Missouri lost to Alaska, Rapid City lost to Utah and Brampton lost to Manchester (moved from Ontario).
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