The Allen Americans climbed back to the .500 points percentage mark (9-9-3-0) last night in Wichita with a 5-3 win over the Thunder before a Wednesday night crowd of 2700 at INTRUST Bank Arena. Things have gone from bad to worse for Wichita who has now lost 11 straight games. Four of the 11 losses have come at the hands of the Americans. As if things weren’t bad enough for the Thunder, they lost their leading goal scorer and top goalie to the AHL before the game last night.
– Allen was led by Branden Troock who had a four point night including a hat trick. Wichita had no answer for the line of Combs-Butcher-Troock. The line accounted for four of Allen’s five goals, five of seven assists, and 17 of the Americans 38 shots on goal. As a team Allen had a plus/minus of +16, this line was +12. Chad Butcher had two assists in his first game since returning to the team on Sunday. He last played on November 13.
– It didn’t look good for the Americans as they gave up the first goal at the 1:55 mark of the first period and fell behind 2-0 less than four minutes into the game. However, Allen responded with three unanswered goals before the first period was over and took a 3-2 lead into the first intermission. Allen built a 5-2 lead before Wichita closed the gap to 5-3 in the third period. Allen took a penalty late in the game and Wichita pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 power play but could not score.
– Antoine Bibeau stopped 34 of 37 shots to remain undefeated and improve his record to 3-0. Wichita scored on its first and fifth shots of the game. The Thunder managed just one goal on 32 shots over the last 56 minutes of the game. Bibeau’s save percentage over the 211 minutes he has played in Allen is .919.
– Phil Beaulieu had a great game even though he had no points and just one shot. Phil was on the ice for all five Allen goals and none of Wichita’s goals for a team high plus/minus of +5.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Branden Troock (4,5,6), Jack Combs (7) and Jared Bethune (3). Here are the video highlights: youtu.be/P2nMY8ZeryU
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans with quotes from coach Martinson and Jack Combs: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-beat-wichita-5-3/
– Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder: https://www.wichitathunder.com/en/news/johnson-scores-twice-in-loss-to-allen
– It was a typical Allen vs Wichita game as the teams combined for 60 penalty minutes which included six fighting majors. Ben Carroll, Nolan Kneen and Kris Myllari dropped the gloves for the Americans.
– Allen had 21 shots in the second period which is tied for the most shots in the second period in the ECHL this season.
– The Allen power play is still trying to find consistency. The Americans were 0-6 last night which included some 5-on-3 time. In the last month the Allen power play is 5-35 for a power play percentage of 14.3%. I know the Americans work a lot on special teams in practice and there is too much talent on this team to not have a better power play. They will get the power play up to 20% consistently based on the track record in the past.
– The Americans traveled overnight back to Allen and will take today off before playing a key three game series against Idaho on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If Allen is going to make a move up the standings this is the weekend to prove they are on the right track. The Americans need to win at home (they have the worst home record in the ECHL) and show they can beat the top teams in the division, like Idaho. Allen needs a minimum for four points from the series with the Steelheads.
– Allen has been above .500 in points percentage for just one game all season. After a win in Wichita on November 5 the Americans record was 2-1-2-0 for a .600 points percentage. It is the only time they have been above .500. Allen has been at .500 several times but never won the next game to climb above. Friday night is another opportunity.
– Allen is 6-3-1-0 over its last 10 games but has not gained much ground on the field in the Mountain Division. Here are the points earned in the last 10 games by each team in the division:
16 points – Utah15 points – Idaho13 points – Allen12 points – Tulsa11 points – Rapid City10 points – Kansas City1 point – Wichita
– With the win in Wichita last night the Americans road points percentage improved to .625 which is ranked #6 in the ECHL. Allen’s road record is 7-4-1-0. Contrast that with a home record of 2-5-2-0.
– If you have been tracking ECHL transactions this week you have seen a mass exodus of ECHL players being recalled/loaned to AHL teams who have depleted rosters because of COVID and losses to the NHL taxi squads. The number will likely exceed 100 players by the end of today. Allen has been spared thus far because the Americans have just one contracted player (Bibeau) and the Allen AHL affiliate (Charlotte) doesn’t play a game until January 8. It is just a matter of time before Allen loses players to Charlotte and/or other AHL teams. All of the movement between the ECHL and AHL could be a game changer for some teams who have lost a lot of players already.
– You hear two points of view about all of the movement of players between leagues. One is the NHL and AHL products are getting watered down as they have to bring up so many players because of COVID. However, another way to look at the current situation is more positive. A lot of players from the SPHL are getting an opportunity in the ECHL while some overlooked players from the ECHL get chances in the AHL and AHL players get new opportunities in the NHL.
– Here is a feel good story from Utah’s 4-3 overtime win in Rapid City last night. A 19 year old college kid back home in Rapid City for the holidays gets a thrill by signing as an EBUG for Utah only to end up starting in the game and delivering a win. https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/rapid-city-s-brady-devries-home-for-christmas-starts-as-utah-goalie-and-beats-rush/article_0a4e0866-2e73-5a1c-905c-03a95f4c71f4.html
– I still have my two glass seats ($25 each) available for the games this weekend if anyone is interested. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also have a few dates left for later in the month.
DID YOU KNOW: You rarely see multiple hat tricks on any given night but last night was off the charts. There were only nine games played but four players had hat tricks. You have to go back to 2016 to find more than four hatties in a single night and that was on a weekend when 12 games were played. Hats off to these four players who led their team to victory last night with a hat trick.
Dylan Sadowy’s hat trick came against Iowa in Tulsa’s 5-2 win.
Branden Troock’s hat trick came against Wichita in Allen’s 5-3 win.
Alex Kile scored four goals for Maine in a 9-7 win over Worcester.
Trey Bradley’s hat trick for Utah came against Rapid City in a 4-3 overtime win. His third goal was the overtime game winner.