Allen lost to Utah 5-0 last night before a crowd of 4425 at the Maverik Center. It was the second straight game the Americans were mauled by the Grizzlies after being drubbed 4-0 on Wednesday. Just when it seems it can’t get any worse for the Americans, it does. The loss last night was different than Wednesday. Allen held the top power play team in the league (25.6%) scoreless on seven power play opportunities Wednesday night. Last night the Grizzlies put the game away with three power play goals in a five minute span in the second period.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-shutout-by-utah-again/
– Here is the Utah take on the 5-0 shutout: http://www.utahgrizzlies.com/team-news/headline-news/?article_id=3593
– Here are the video highlights (lowlights if you are an Allen fan). The defensive breakdowns are pretty obvious as you watch this video.
Here are some random thoughts about the game last night, the series and Allen’s state of play recently.
– Allen has no answer for Utah’s top line of Caleb Herbert, Cole Ully and Matt Berry. The three have combined for 18 points (7G, 11A) in the two games. They have seven of the Grizzlies nine goals.
– Allen continues to take way too many minor penalties which lead to power plays. Not a wise choice when you are playing against the best power play unit in the league. The Americans dodged a bullet on Wednesday (0-7) but not last night (3-7). For the two games the Americans have had eight power play opportunities (0-8) compared to 14 (3-14) for Utah.
– Allen has taken 109 minor penalties this season which is the most in the ECHL.
– Allen has scored a total four goals in the last four games. Even in their lone win they only scored two goals. The average goals per game for the Americans has dropped to 2.44 which is ranked #26 in the ECHL. Allen has played 18 games and have already been shutout three times and been held to one goal four times.
– At their current pace Allen would be shut out 12 times this season. The most they have been shutout in an entire season since joining the ECHL was five. The Americans first three seasons in the league they were shutout a combined five times.
– Allen has now lost 10 of their last 11 games and over the last 11 games have been outscored by their opponents 42-20. They have the fewest wins and most losses of any team in the league and their winning percentage (.278) is last in the division and far behind Wichita (.438) who is in sixth place.
– What was a deep hole to dig out of has become a crater and there is no end in sight. Who would have thought getting to .500 would become a “stretch goal” for this team.
– There is no question the Americans continue to battle adversity. Coach Martinson was pleased to have a full contingent of 20 players make the trip to Utah since the team had been playing shorthanded. A trade (Pavel Jenys), an injury (Braylon Shmyr) and a suspension (Dalton Thrower) had the Americans playing shorthanded again last night.
– I remember during training camp thinking this team will have no problem scoring goals, the only question will be on defense. They were loaded with skilled players that scored over 100 points and 30 goals as juniors. For various reasons including trades and injuries many of those players from training camp are not in the lineup. The Americans find themselves with a team that is having trouble scoring and having a porous defense. That makes for the worst goal differential in the league. Allen has scored 44 goals and allowed 70 for a goal differential of -26. Allen has never had a team that finished the season with a negative goal differential. In 2014-15 the Americans goal differential was +89 and in 2016-17 it was +91.
– It is hard to find much positive when your team has been shutout twice and in the process gotten outscored 9-0. The one stat that the team can build on in the game tonight is they have kept the shot differential close. In the first game Utah out shot Allen 24-18. The 24 shots allowed by the Americans was the fewest they have allowed all season. Last night the Grizzlies had the edge in shots 39-35. Utah is 9-1-1-0 when out shooting their opponent so Allen is going to have to find a way to out shot the Grizzlies tonight.
– Allen will most likely have to score first to have any chance of winning tonight. The Americans record when they don’t score first now stands at 0-10-0-1.
– Another key tonight will be to avoid all of the stick penalties that lead to power play opportunities. You cannot expect to win giving up a bunch of power plays to the Grizzlies. On the flip side Allen probably needs to score a power play goal to win tonight, something they haven’t accomplished in the first two games.
– Allen must find a way to slow down Utah’s top line. It is not realistic to shut them down entirely but the Americans have to do a better job against this lethal trio. Caleb Herbert leads the league with 28 points (16G, 12A) and is one pace to score over 70 goals and 130 points this season. That tells you the kind of start to the season he has had. Herbert’s line mate, Cole Ully, has six assists in the two games against Allen and now leads the ECHL with 18 assists.
– With C.J. Motte in Iowa there is no relief for Jeremy Brodeur who will get the start in goal tonight. Hopefully he will get more support than in the first two games of this series. Brodeur is still looking for his first win of the season and has seen his save percentage drop to .895.
– Allen has not scored a goal in their last 124:21 of play. That is the longest scoreless streak since joining the ECHL.
– Dalton Thrower will not be in the lineup tonight as he will be serving the second game of his two game suspension. Braylon Shmyr is day to day so may return to the lineup tonight. Coach Martinson mentioned in his pregame interview last night that Garrett Clarke has arrived in Allen.
– If you read the blog post yesterday you saw the historical data shows if you are five points out of a playoff spot on Thanksgiving the chance of making the playoffs is almost nonexistent. In one ten year period in the NHL it happened only two times. Not good news for the Americans who are now nine points out of a playoff spot. Here are the current Mountain Division point standings with games played in parentheses:
25 points – Utah (16 games)
23 points – Kansas City (14 games)
22 points – Tulsa (15 games)
19 points – Idaho (19 games)
19 points – Rapid City (18 games)
14 points – Wichita (16 games)
10 points – Allen (18 games)
– There are 11 games scheduled around the ECHL tonight. The Mountain Division has Allen at Utah, Wichita at Tulsa and Idaho at Rapid City with Kansas City idle. Here is a link to the ECHL Today which has a preview of all 11 games. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2018/11/echl-today-nov-24
– After the game tonight 26.4% of the season will be in the books for the Americans. If they lose tonight they will need a record of 31-22-0-0 the rest of the season just to get to .500 and that would not be good enough to make the playoffs.
– Congratulations to Spencer Asuchak who became the all time career leader in games played for the Americans last night playing in his 248th regular season game, surpassing Tyler Ludwig’s 247. What doesn’t get talked about as much is Asuchak is also the all time leader in playoff games played with 83, seven more than second place Greger Hanson (76). If you add up all games played in an Allen uniform Asuchak is way ahead with 331 games played compared to second place 308 by Tyler Ludwig. Spencer is also the only player in team history to play for Allen in six different seasons. In second place with five seasons is Brian McMillin and Jarret Lukin.
DID YOU KNOW: Here are the number of times the Allen Americans have been shutout in each season since joining the ECHL.
2018-19: 3 (after 18 games)