Photo – Dianne Webster
Recap – Jake Murphy
Allen, Texas – The second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs is normally seen as a stepping stone along a greater journey. On Wednesday night, the Allen Americans and the Idaho Steelheads treated the second round as the promise land. With everything on the line and a tied series at 3-3, it came down to the end-all-be-all of sports: the infamous game seven. In front of an anxious Allen Event Center, the Americans made it a memorable one, winning 3-2 in overtime. The win makes Allen a perfect 6-0 in overtime.
Naturally, with all the suspense and apprehension that comes with game seven, both teams took the ice in the first period with no intentions of making a mistake. On the other hand, neither team was necessarily timid either. Idaho’s Phillipe Desrosiers and Allen’s Riley Gill got their expected calls to man their respective nets once again. Both were tested with early offensive chances, none of which were successful.
Allen has the luxury of riding the hot goaltender. With three reliable goalies at the disposal of Head Coach Steve Martinson (Gill, Joel Rumpel, and Jake Hildebrand), it was Gill who got the Americans to this point in the series. Both Gill and Hildebrand struggled mightily in game five in Boise. A little home-cooking was all it took to get Gill back to his former self in a 4-2 game six victory, which was enough for Martinson to give him the green light in game seven.
Despite being habitually solid in net for the Americans, a recently expired Power Play opportunity left a gaping net for Kruise Reddick. Reddick’s second of the playoffs gave us the first goal on the night, but it wouldn’t take long to figure out that the Idaho opener would not be the last goal.
Very similar to game six, Allen was able to respond to the Steelhead tally in a matter of 29 seconds. Chad Costello scored his first of the playoffs on a beautiful passing play with David Makowski to tie the game at 1-1.
The back and forth scoring battle continued to ensue, as Idaho regained their lead back off the stick of Andrew Carroll, his first of the playoffs as well. The go-ahead Steelhead goal came just minutes off the heels of the Costello equalizer.
What appeared to be yet another game tying goal for the Americans came, once again, soon after the Carroll goal. At first glance, the puck appeared to creep behind Desrosiers and into the net. It was subsequently deemed by officials that the whistle had been blown before the puck had crossed the line, thus leaving Idaho with their 2-1 lead.
The final minutes of the second period consisted of a 5-on-3 Allen Power Play for 1:17. The two-man advantage consisted largely in testing the waters with the cannon-esque slapshot from the point. Despite multiple attempts, none bested Desrosiers, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the Americans at the glorious opportunity that slipped through their fingertips.
After chipping paint on the post a few times, the Americans were able to hit pay dirt on a third period Power Play on a long range one timer from David Makowski. His second of the playoffs could not have been more vital for the top offensive defenseman on the Allen roster.
As amazing as a stressful game seven is, it can only amplify in overtime, which is exactly what resulted after 60 minutes had passed with a 2-2 tie.
The heart pounding angst of overtime would soon turn into pure elation for the loud Americans crowd, as Tristan King tapped a stroke of good fortune. A hopeful ricocheted around the crease and through the legs of Desrosiers, ending the season for the Idaho Steelheads.
It was never an easy day during the opening round against Idaho, but the team component played a key role in digging down deep for success. Team captain and integral playmaker Chad Costello knew that this was a team that was built to survive the enduring playoff series. “I’ve seen our practice every day, I’ve seen our locker every day. I know we have the heart of a champion…the third period and the overtime really showed our heart.”
Allen will move on to play familiar foe, the Missouri Mavericks, in the second round. The game-winning goal scorer, King, knows that nothing will get easier as the playoffs roll on. “We’re going to bring it, it’s going to be a team effort, and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got…we’re excited for the challenge.”
With the overtime win, Allen will advance on to play the Missouri Mavericks in Round 2. Below are the dates and times of ECHL Semifinal Series.
ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs – Best of Seven Semifinal Series
Game 1: Friday, April 29th – Allen at Missouri, 7:05 PM
Game 2: Saturday, April 30th –Allen at Missouri, 7:05 PM
Game 3: Wednesday, May 4th – Missouri at Allen, 7:05 PM
Game 4: Friday, May 6th – Missouri at Allen, 7:05 PM
Game 5: Sunday, May 8th – Missouri at Allen, 4:05 PM
Game 6: Tuesday May 10th – Allen at Missouri, 7:05 PM
Game 7: Wednesday May 11th – Allen at Missouri, 7:05 PM
FAST SIGNS TEXOMA 3 STARS OF THE GAME:
1st – ALL Tristan King
2nd – ALL Riley Gill
3rd – ALL David Makowski