ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans return to practice this morning to prepare for three games this week (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday) in what could be the end of the season or could be the beginning of another amazing comeback.
– I played sports in high school and on some pretty competitive teams in amateur sports (volleyball & softball) as an adult. My main softball team was sponsored by a liquor store (Normandale Liquor) but ironically, I also played for a team that sold religious books (Successful Living). Tournaments most every weekend in the summer (after all this was Minnesota) from 16 teams up to the granddaddy of them all, the Bloomington Firemen’s Tournament with 128 teams. Normandale Liquor won the Firemen’s tournament a couple of times.
I share this story to make the point that when you are on successful teams at any level, your team has the confidence you can comeback and win a specific game after being behind or win a big tournament after coming through the loser’s bracket and beating the winners’ bracket team twice. There is just something about the old adage that success breeds success and when you have done it before you know you can do it again.
– Even with great success, there are sometimes, some years, some tournaments when doubt creeps in and you know the other team is better and is probably going to win. I am not trying to compare myself to professional athletes but as I watched numerous NHL playoff games this weekend I kept thinking about the situation the Allen Americans find themselves in trailing 2-0 and heading to Colorado for three games. I know the players will say all the right things publicly but you do wonder if any doubt has crept into their private internal thoughts about this series with Colorado.
– I know my mind has been racing between optimism and pessimism since the 5-2 loss on Saturday. Have to admit my thoughts have landed more on the glass half empty side but I am just a fan.
Here are some of the random thoughts I have had pulling me in both directions. Maybe these coincide with your thoughts or maybe you have others you can share:
– Allen is a four-time champion and has won 15 straight playoff series. They have the talent to win and always finds a way. Relax, if they win on Wednesday they are right back in the series.
– All good things must come to an end and admit it, Colorado is just the better team.
– Allen has the best coach in the ECHL in Steve Martinson who has 10 championships and the best goalie in the history of the ECHL playoffs in Riley Gill who has won three of the last four Kelly Cups. Experience will come through in the end.
– Colorado has a rookie coach and a rookie goalie but the team is loose, having fun, full of confidence and has a lot of trust in each other. That is a winning combination.
– Colorado has four players that spent most of the season playing for their AHL affiliate (San Antonio). Six players on the Eagles roster spent time in San Antonio for a total of 234 games. Allen has four players on the playoff roster who played for their AHL affiliate (San Jose Barracuda) and the total games played was only 15.
– In 2015, Allen was shutout 5-0 in game four by Ontario and fell behind in the series 3-1. They won three straight games to win that series. Last season Allen looked overmatched in losing game five to Idaho 7-1 and fell behind in the series 3-2. They won the final two games of the series to advance. This is just another series that starts out bad and will end up good.
– Over the last three months of the season, Allen had a home record of 17-2-2 but all 21 games were against teams that did not make the playoffs. Allen is 1-3 at home in the playoffs and have lost three straight. Allen was not as good at the end of the season and their record reflected.
– Have trust in the Allen Americans. They have responded before and they will respond again.
– Colorado has taken their play to another level and the Americans have not responded and matched that level of play.
– Allen has to play better in Colorado. They have a 30% power play that is at 10% in this series. They have scored a total of three goals in two games. This is a team that averages four goals a game. You can not hold this skilled team to one or two goals per game.
– Colorado has won five straight playoff games and has averaged 5.00 goals per game in those five games. Even if Allen can score more, they can’t keep the Eagles from scoring.
– Allen will get a lift with Bryan Moore back in the lineup for game three. He has been the top goal scorer for Allen with eight goals in his last seven games.
– Allen misses Derek Mathers in this series. The Eagles have been taking liberties with Allen’s skill players with very little response from the Americans. Colorado will play much tougher at home. Allen seems to be the softer team in this series.
– Allen no longer has the lion as represented by Derek Mathers but they have a pack of wolves and if the Eagles want to try to make the games in Colorado a contest of physicality the Americans will step up.
– Based on historical data over all major sports with 100’s of seven game series the odds don’t look good for Allen. A team with a 2-0 lead while starting the series on the road wins the series about 80% of the time. Allen is toast.
– If you do what is necessary all the odds are in your favor.
So there is my list. Some of the thoughts that have been going through my mind the last couple of days. Is the glass half full or half empty? Am I an optimist, pessimists or realist? We will soon find out.
– Just like the Allen Americans, the Fort Wayne Komets are trailing 2-0 in their series but the two losses came on the road to Toledo. Certainly not as dire a situation as the Americans find themselves in but a concern nonetheless. Here is a story written by Justin Cohn of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette where former Allen captain, Jamie Schaafsma, talks about their situation. Much of what Jamie has to say also applies to Allen as they head to Colorado. Here is a link to the story: https://www.journalgazette.net/blog/ice-chips/20170430/on-komets-captain-for-the-fans
– There are two ECHL playoff games on tap tonight. Brampton is at Manchester and Florida is at South Carolina. Both series are tied 1-1.
– The San Jose Barracuda lost 5-3 in Stockton yesterday so that best of five series will go to a winner take all fifth game in San Jose on Tuesday night. San Jose was the top seed in the Western Conference and it would be a huge upset if they lose this series to Stockton. If you are interested here is the game recap from the Stockton Heat: https://stocktonheat.com/news/heat-force-game-5-with-three-unanswered-goals-in-third/
DID YOU KNOW: Coach Steve Martinson said after the loss on Saturday and going behind in the series 2-0, “We do not want to go down 3-0 as that is something you don’t want to be looking at.” He sure knows what he is talking about. Did you know if you look at
Did you know if you look at seven-game series across all major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) when a team gets ahead 3-0 their odds of winning the series is 98.5%. According to the website Who Wins the all-time record overall sports in seven game series when one team takes a 3-0 lead is 335-5. I would say the game on Wednesday is a must win for Allen.