The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff Coverage is presented by Kalwei Law Firm
I could spend time today talking about average goals per game, GAA, special teams percentage and a bunch of other statistics but none of that matters at this point. Working out all summer, the drudgery of training camp, the long 72 game regular season, over 25,000 miles worth of time on the bus, all the time away from family, 24 playoffs games and it all comes down to one game to win the Kelly Cup for the Allen Americans. All of the hard work and effort comes down to this one game and the chance to be an ECHL champion in the first year in the league. Nothing could be more exciting and fulfilling. It is what every player in the league aspires to but few get the opportunity to accomplish.
Both the Allen and South Carolina franchises deserve accolades for an outstanding season. From the quality of the teams to the coaching staffs to the front offices they should be very proud regardless of the outcome of game seven. It is always difficult to lose in a game seven after the extraordinary effort these teams have put forth to get to this point. The game today will be the 99th of the season for the Stingrays and 97th for the Americans.
Both teams are ready to go as they have been preparing for this game since October. They are two teams full of confidence and expecting to win. It all comes down to which team will do a better job of executing and performing under pressure with a huge spotlight on them. The best team will win. I would say good luck to both teams but in this game it is not about luck as the play on the ice makes the luck.
The Allen Americans have been in this must win position many times in the last three years under coach Steve Martinson and they have always played their best in big games. I see no reason for today to be any different. The Americans are a perfect 7-0 in games where they could be eliminated since Martinson has been the coach and in his nineteen years of coaching (8 championships) he has never lost a seven game series at home. However, nothing that has happened in the past is relevant other than preparation for what happens today.Coach Martinson always says our best players have to be our best players in big games and I look for that to happen in game seven.Champions are not made at the fitness center or on the ice but through something deep inside them. You have to want it so bad you spend every minute focusing on success. You have to want to succeed more than you want to breathe. Strength does not come from external performance, strength comes from belief.
It should be quite the spectacle at the Allen Event Center with a standing room only crowd, the drummers as raucous as ever being loud and proud, the best dance team in the ECHL (Ice Angels) in top form, fans from around the Central Division coming to support the Americans, a big contingent of fans from South Carolina, former players and staff, friends and family of the players, owners, ECHL brass, and of course those 1500-2000 diehard fans that are always at the games even midweek in January in crappy weather. The press box will even be standing room only as everyone wants a piece of this game seven pie.I am already nervous and all I am going to do is watch so thought I would post a few of the time-honored cliches we have all heard about the “big game” for you to enjoy:- Tonight is for all the marbles
– There is no tomorrow
– The fat lady will sing tonight
– Anything less than a championship is unacceptable
– Second is the first loser
– Tonight is for bragging rights
– It all comes down to which team wants it more
– It’s gut check time
– Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing
– There is no I in TEAM
– If you’re not first, you’re last, tonight is the night
I will end this post the same as past years because it really captures what professional sport is all about at any level and what the Allen Americans represent. A bunch of men playing a game, strangers coming together for a common goal, willing to do anything for each other.
“Win today and we walk together forever.”
—Philadelphia Flyers Coach Fred Shero wrote this on his famous chalkboard before the Flyers’ 1974 Stanley Cup finals victory.GOOD LUCK TODAY BOYS. MAY YOU WALK TOGETHER FOREVER AFTER TONIGHT!