The Allen Americans lost their home opener 4-1 last night to the Wichita Thunder before a disappointed crowd of 5301 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). If you are superstitious you can blame the loss on the specialty jersey curse or the home opener curse. I haven’t kept track of the record when wearing specialty jerseys as the Americans did last night but it is a losing one for sure. I have kept track of home openers and this outstanding franchise is now a mediocre 4-6 on opening night at the AEC. Check below for the details.
– It is hard to know where to start in describing this penalty filled game but stats don’t lie and here are a few from last night that would predict defeat.
Allen had another bad start giving up the first three goals of the game and lost the first period 2-0. The Americans record last season when they didn’t score first was 9-23-5-0 and when trailing after the first period their record was 4-17-3-1. Not great odds when you have a start like Allen did last night.
The Americans gave up 41 shots in the game and managed only 28 of their own despite having eight power play opportunities. The Americans have allowed over 40 shots in three of their four games thus far and lost them all. Allen is now dead last in the ECHL in shots allowed with an average of 41.75 per game.
Allen did a good job on the penalty kill allowing Wichita one power play goal in eight opportunities but still lost the special teams battle. The Americans were 0-8 on the power play. Allen is now 0-19 on the season and is one of only two teams (Kalamazoo the other at 0-14) that have yet to score a power play goal this season.
– The game was a penalty filled affair with 33 penalties and a total of 112 penalty minutes which is by far the most combined penalty minutes in a game this season. When the dust settled there were two roughing calls, 10 fighting majors and two game misconduct penalties. The bad blood between these teams continue and they play 11 more times in the regular season.
– Allen’s lone goal was scored by rookie defenseman Alex Breton who leads the team in points (2G, 4A), is tied for second in the league in scoring among all rookies and is also second in the ECHL in scoring among all defensemen.
– C.J. Motte took the loss for Allen but played great in goal. Motte has faced the most shots in the league in his four starts (165) and he also has the most saves (151). Coach Martinson has talked about the defensive breakdowns after all three Allen losses. Motte’s save percentage is .916. As a comparison last season the three goalies with 20 or more games played had save percentages of .917, .908 and .899.
– It was a tough game physically for both teams but Wichita doesn’t play for a week while Allen is back in action this afternoon. It was standing room only in the trainers room after the game and if you watched the game you have to assume some of the players will be out today. I am sure it will not be known until the team gets on the bus this morning who will be able to answer the call and whether the Americans will have a a full team or will have to play shorthanded in Tulsa.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
– It was after 11:00 when I left coach Martinson’s office and his concentration was already on the game in Tulsa. He shared some of the defensive breakdowns on the Wichita goals. The first two were scored on a breakaway and a two on one. We also talked about the power play and some of the tactics they were trying but did not execute. The bottom line is Martinson was already breaking down tape of the game to get ready for Tulsa. I have said this many times there is not a player in the locker room that takes losing worse than the coach and he is laser focused on what he needs to do to get a win in Tulsa.
– Martinson was getting an update from the trainer on the status of the injuries and it didn’t look good. His comment to me was how quickly you can go from having too many players to not enough players.
– It is a tall order for the Americans as they will travel to Tulsa this morning and play their third game in less than 48 hours while the Oilers have not played a game for seven days and that game was at home. The scheduling gods strike again.
– Several have asked about the disallowed Allen goal at the end of the second period that would have made the score 4-2. It was a delayed penalty on Wichita so normally the play would have continued but Joel Chouinard was hurt and laying on the ice. The referee told Martinson he stopped play immediately for the safety of the injured player as Chouinard was face down on the ice and not getting up.
ALLEN VS TULSA GAME PREVIEW
– It will be a gut check for sure for the Americans today. They are tired and really dinged up. There are eight or nine players on the 23 man roster that could be out with injuries. There will be plenty of guys playing hurt today and hopefully the Americans have a full squad.
– Allen’s record against Tulsa:
6-5-2-1 – last season
34-19-3-3 – since joining the ECHL
16-10-1-3 – since joining the ECHL in games played in Tulsa
– Tulsa’s record this season is 1-0-0-1 compared to Allen’s 1-2-0-1.
– Tulsa has one power play goal (1-6) while Allen is still seeking their first (0-19). Tulsa is 80% on the penalty kill (1-5) and the Americans are 87.5% on the penalty kill (3-24).
– It sounds like a broken record but the keys to a win today for the Americans remain the same. Get off to a good start, stay out of the penalty box, score a power play goal, out shoot Tulsa, avoid neutral zone turnovers and play defense. This is going to be a real challenge given the situation of Allen playing three games in 48 hours and Tulsa resting for a week.
– Jeremy Brodeur will get his first start in goal today and Miles Liberati should also be in the lineup with fresh legs.
– The referee scheduled today is Liam Sewell (#7). The linesmen will be Chris Provost (#50) and Addison Brush (#80).
– Allen finished their three straight games against Wichita with a win, a regulation loss and a shootout loss. Here is a story written by Matt Harding (Team Sin Bin) that talks about this three game series and the rivalry between Allen and Wichita. These teams have been going at each other for 10 years and the 2013 CHL championship series is a classic with Allen winning the President’s Cup in overtime in game seven with a great comeback. However once they joined the ECHL in 2014 this wasn’t much of a rivalry. The Americans overall ECHL record against Wichita prior to this season was 39-10-4-3 and when the teams have played in Wichita the Allen record was even better at 20-5-1-2. It is difficult to have a rivalry when one team is so dominant. However, everything changed last season. Former Allen agitator Dyson Stevenson was traded to Wichita and became captain of the Thunder. Wichita was a much better team that split 12 games with the Americans and made the playoffs. This season has proven this is a true rivalry. Matt does a good job of telling this story. Check it out: https://thesinbin.net/initial-impressions-from-the-wichita-allen-three-game-series/
– I didn’t watch the live auction after the game but did notice there weren’t many fans that stayed to participate. Not sure if they got used to the online auctions last season, didn’t stay because the game lasted so long (it didn’t end until after 10:00) or they didn’t like the specialty jersey. According to the reports I got from those in attendance the top bid was $550 (Pierro-Zabotel, Gunn, Dalton Thrower) but many of the jerseys went for $300, $350 and $400.
– In the college game that preceded the Allen game Dallas Baptist University (DBU) defeated Texas A&M by a score of 7-5. I would describe the game as chippy and chirpy.
– Allen’s winning percentage this season is now .375. Only four teams have a lower winning percentage (Fort Wayne, Wheeling, Rapid City and Maine). This team has a lot of potential and the slow start is certainly disappointing but there is no need for concern at this point. The Americans are a very young team (only two ECHL teams are younger) and it may take a while to get everyone in sync with the Martinson system. Once the team starts executing better defensively the wins will come. That may not happen this week or this month but it will happen.
– The Americans have three of the top four defensemen in the ECHL in penalty minutes. Dalton Thrower is #1 (33 minutes), Josh Thrower is #3 (22 minutes) and David Makowski is #4 (20 minutes).
DID YOU KNOW: When you consider how good the Allen Americans have been since their inception the home opener record is a mediocre 4-6. Here is a trip down memory lane even though I am sure you would like to forget many of these games.
2009-10 – Allen started on the road the first season because the Allen Event Center was not completed. The Americans played their first seven games in franchise history on the road. They returned to Allen after those first seven games 5-1-0-1. The home opener was memorable even though the Americans laid an egg, losing to Corpus Christi by a score of 4-1. Two of the goal scorers for Corpus were Chad Costello and future NHLer Ryan Garbutt. That game is mostly remembered for a melee that broke out after the game was over that ended up with 72 penalty minutes being called. A crowd of 5808 witnessed the first home game in team history.
2010-11 – Allen opened at home against Texas, scored three goals (Alexandre Quesnel, Dustin Donaghy, Judd Blackwater) in the first four minutes of the game and coasted to a 5-2 win. Similar to the year before there were 66 minutes worth of penalties called at the 18:29 mark of the third period including four fighting majors and four game misconducts. Allen got the last laugh as Erik Adams scored an unassisted, shorthanded, empty net goal with under a minute remaining to seal the victory for the Americans.
2011-12 – Allen’s home opener was against Tulsa and the Americans got beat 4-1. Jim McKenzie scored the Americans only goal with just over a minute left in the game. Most notable in that game was a Gordie Howe hat trick by Tulsa’s Gary Steffes who had a goal, an assist and a fight with Allen’s Scott Langdon.
2012-13 – Allen’s home opener was against Arizona and they shut out Sundogs 4-0. Scott Howes had two goals in the game. The other goal scorers were Adam Pineault and Darryl Bootland. Steve Silverthorn was in goal and the backup was a rookie by the name of Aaron Dell. Dell would play sparingly the first few weeks of the season but eventually take over the starting role and lead the Americans to their first championship.
2013-14 -The home opener was an exciting game but the Americans lost to Wichita 4-3 in a shootout. Ironically the two teams had played the season opener the night before in Wichita and Allen had won by an identical score of 4-3 in a shootout. The home opener was a Sunday afternoon game and Allen took a 2-0 lead into the third period only to allow the Thunder to score three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead. Tyler Ludwig got the equalizer with less that three minutes remaining n the game. The game would go to a shootout and Allen could manage just one goal (Kale Kerbashain) in seven rounds before Wichita got the game winner.
2014-15 – The worst home opener ever for Allen as they got beat by Tulsa 9-6. Greger Hanson was the lone bright spot for Allen with a whopping 11 shots on goal, four points and a hat trick. Aaron Dell was in goal for the Americans and gave up seven of the nine goals. It was Dell’s only regulation loss in the 12 games he played for Allen that season. By the end of January he was in the AHL on his way to the NHL.
2015-16 – Another home opener loss as the Quad City Mallards came to the Allen Event Center and beat the Americans 2-1. Allen’s lone goal was scored by Garrett Clarke with assists going to Justin Courtnall and goalie Joel Rumpel. You didn’t see those three in the boxscore very often let alone on the same play.
2016-17 – It was a home opener win as Allen beat Missouri 6-3. Kale Kerbashain had two goals and Riley Gill was peppered with 47 shots.
2017-18 – After two big wins on the road in Rapid City the Americans opened at home against Orlando and beat the Solar Bears 6-2. Zach Pochiro had two goals, David Makowski and Casey Pierro-Zabotel each had three points (1G 2A). This game will always be remembered as the game with less than seven minutes remaining goalie Riley Gill was injured and would be out for the season.
2018-19 – It was a 4-1 loss to the Wichita Thunder in a penalty filled game with 10 fighting majors. Allen was out shot 41-28, got behind 3-0 and could not recover despite having eight power play opportunities. The Americans went 0-8 on the power play. Rookie defenseman Alex Breton had the lone Allen goal and became the team leader in points.