The Allen Americans have found a lot of ways to lose this season, after all they have lost 11 of 16 games including six of seven at home. For me the 4-1 loss to Rapid City on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 2348 at CUTX Event Center was the most disappointing of the season. Yes, more disappointing than opening night 7-0 shutout loss to Wichita. The disappointment isn’t because the team played poorly, quite the opposite, it was a game where the Americans played good enough to win.
– Allen went into the game with the strongest roster of the season after a great week of practice. Rapid City arrived in Allen having lost four of its last five games and the Rush starting goalie had a record of 1-7 including a loss to Allen on November 20 where he gave up five goals on 23 shots for a .783 save percentage. He showed why he is a contract goalie stopping 36 of 37 Allen shots for a save percentage of .973.
– The Americans dominated from the opening puck drop and had a 6-0 shot advantage in the first three minutes of the game with several grade A scoring chances but they couldn’t put the puck in the net, something that haunted Allen the entire game. The first period ended scoreless despite the Americans having a shot advantage (13-10) and the better scoring opportunities.
– The bubble burst in the scoreless game early in the second period when Rapid City scored on a deflection in front of the net. It was the first of four goals in the period. Allen tied the score 1-1 when Eric Roy scored on a 5-on-3 power play but Rapid City responded with two goals exactly one minute apart (16:55 & 17:55) to take a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. The only goal of the third period was an empty net goal to make the final score 4-1.
– The disappointment was the fact Allen outshot Rapid City in every period and 37-24 for the game. That is a rare occurrence this season. Prior to last night the Americans had outshot their opponent just twice in 15 games and won both. The 13 shot advantage margin last night was the largest of the season and Allen’s 37 shots on goal was 11 shots above its average. Yet the Americans could manage just one goal and that came on a 5-on-3 power play. You knew it was going to be a frustrating game when Allen had a 2-on-0 breakaway in the second period and didn’t even get a shot on goal.
– The power play could have made the difference but only managed the one goal in seven opportunities. Rapid City was 1-4 on the power play. The Americans avoided giving up another shorthanded goal thanks to a great save by Frank Marotte on a breakaway.
– I have heard so many times from fans, players and coaches that the team is getting “closer” to getting this season turned around and I agree the game last night showed that. However, the hole that the Americans have dug for themselves will soon be too deep to dig out of even with great play going forward. It is not going to get any easier this week as the Americans play Wichita three times; Thursday and Friday in Wichita, Sunday in Allen. Wichita has been the best team in the league the last three weeks. The Thunder lost in Tulsa yesterday but prior to that had won eight of nine games and the lone loss was in overtime.
– Here is the Allen Americans game recap: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-fall-to-rapid-city/
– Here is the Rapid City game recap with the headline, “Rush Cruise Past Americans, 4-1: https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2021/12/rush-cruise-past-americans-4-1
– Here is a link to the video highlights: https://youtu.be/oZ5t4eqZGAk
“It was the best game we have played this season and lost but we still have a lot of work do.”
“I will continue to make changes on the power play. We have spent a lot of time in practice working on the power play but we have to improve.
“Today will be a gym day for the players and we will have a long practice tomorrow.”
“We got caught in a line change that led to one goal and Rapid City had too many men on the ice on another goal but we need to generate more offense than one 5-on-3 goal.”
– Wichita goalie, Evan Buitenhuis,, left the Thunder game in the second period yesterday after getting crosschecked in the crease according to the Wichita game recap press release. However, the official call in the boxscore was goalie interference. It is unclear if Buitenhuis left the game because he was injured or because the score at the time of the penalty was 4-1 in favor of Tulsa. It would be a big blow for Wichita if Buitenhuis is injured as he has started all 17 games for the Thunder this season which is a franchise record for consecutive starts. He has already played 951 minutes in goal and the Wichita season is only 25% completed.
– With the loss yesterday Allen’s record fell to 5-8-3-0 with a points percentage of .406. Iowa, with a points percentage of .342 is the only team lower than the Americans. Allen’s home record is 1-4-2-0 for a points percentage of .286 which is the lowest in the ECHL.
– A couple of elite ECHL teams this season are struggling at home. Newfoundland has a road points percentage of 1.000 (9-0-0-0) and a home points percentage of .556 (5-4-0-0). Florida is .833 (6-0-2-1) in the road and .300 (2-6-0-2) at home.
– Alex Lavoie has joined a new team in Sweden going from Västerås IK to Mora IK in the same league (HockeyAllsvensken). Alex had nine points (5G, 4A) in 19 games before the move to the new team.
– Here are points earned over the last 10 games by the Mountain Division teams with current points percentage in parenthesis:
17 points – Wichita (.618)13 points – Tulsa (.656)13 points – Idaho (.605)10 points – Rapid City (.475)9 points – Utah (.583)7 points – Kansas City (.417)7 points – Allen (.406)
DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 3-0-1-0 when leading after the 2nd period this season and 0-6-1-0 when trailing after the 2nd period.How important is a 2nd period lead?The Combined record of all ECHL teams when leading after the 2nd period is 164-19-7-6. There are 12 teams that haven’t lost when leading after the 2nd period. Those with the most wins are:12-0-0-0: Newfoundland9-0-0-0: Toledo8-0-0-0: Fort Wayne8-0-0-0: Kalamazoo8-0-0-0: TulsaThe combined record of all ECHL teams when trailing after the 2nd period is 23-153-8-3. There are eight teams that have earned no points when trailing after the 2nd period. Those with the most losses:0-10-0-0: Kansas City0-9-0-0: Cincinnati0-8-0-0: Indy0-7-0-0: Worcester