There was a goalie duel in Tulsa last night in which neither goalie deserved to lose. Unfortunately for the Allen Americans they came up short, losing 2-1 with the winning goal coming just 27 seconds into overtime. It was the third straight loss to Tulsa and in the three losses, Allen has managed to scored just four goals.
– It was another tough loss for goalie Antoine Bibeau who kept Allen in the game stopping 37 of 39 shots. You don’t lose a lot of games with a .949 save percentage which is what Antoine had in the game. He certainly hasn’t received much offensive support with Allen averaging just 1.33 goals per game in his three losses to Tulsa.
– How much has the Allen offense dried up? In the last three games (all losses) the Americans have averaged 1.33 goals per game. In the previous five games (all wins) Allen averaged 4.60 goals per game. In the three losses, Allen’s top five scorers had a total of three goals and three assist. In the five wins the group had 17 goals and 19 assists. It is pretty clear the top players have to be the top players if Allen is going to win.
– Allen has struggled in overtime games this season. There have been four times an Americans game has been decided in overtime and their record is now 0-4. Compare that to the last two seasons when Allen’s combined overtime record was 17-9.
– Allen gave up the first goal again last night which it has done in 61% of the games this season (17 of 28). Tulsa scored at 11:50 of the first period and there wasn’t another goal until Allen tied the score at the 9:23 mark of the third period on JD Dudek’s first goal of the season. Assists went to Andrew Jarvis, who was playing his first professional game, and Jackson Leppard. Both teams had plenty of grade A chances but both goalies were outstanding. Allen lost the overtime faceoff and Tulsa never relinquished the puck before scoring 27 seconds later.
– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-fall-in-overtime/
– Here are the video highlights of the goals but also some of the great saves made by Antoine Bibeau: https://youtu.be/tGqAatJvFmk
ALLEN VS KANSAS CITY
– While Tulsa celebrated its overtime victory and takes Saturday off the Americans climbed on the bus right after the game and headed for Kansas City (275 miles) where the weekend grind will continue as they take on the Mavericks tonight (7:05 pm). Kansas City played in Iowa last night and won 5-4 in overtime so the Mavericks also had to travel back home after the game (300 miles) through a snowstorm.
– Only 19 players went on the trip so not a lot of moves coach Martinson can make. When I talked to him this morning he said Dawson Butt will be in the lineup tonight after sitting out in Tulsa. Who sits out will depend on how some players feel today. It was after 3:30 am before the team got to the hotel. Hayden Lavigne will get the start in goal today. Martinson felt the team played well enough to win but needs to do a better job of converting their good scoring chances into goals. The team will head back to Tulsa after the game tonight. It will be a tired group on the ice in Tulsa Sunday afternoon.
– The game tonight will be the third against Kansas City this season. In the two previous meetings the Mavericks beat the Americans 7-4 in Allen and 7-5 in Kansas City. The Mavericks scored first in both games, outshot Allen in both games and had the better special teams. Allen was 1-4 (25%) on the power play and Kansas City was 3-9 (33%). These will all be keys to the game tonight.
– Allen needs to get the offense back on track if they expect to win tonight. Allen’s style does not lend itself to low scoring games. The Americans haven’t won a game all season when scoring less than three goals and in 11 of their 13 wins they scored four or more goals.
– If you compare overall stats Allen scores more (3.3 vs 3.1) but also allows more goals (3.9 vs 3.2). Kansas City takes more shots (33.2 vs 28.0) and allows fewer shots (30.1 vs 35.5). Allen has the better power play (18.9% vs 16.4%) and Kansas City the better penalty kill (79.1% vs 76.9%).
– The referee scheduled tonight is Sam Heidemann (#22). He was also the referee in Tulsa last night where he called just four penalties with only one after the first period. Kansas City is the most penalized team in the league and Allen isn’t far behind. If you are betting on the number of penalties tonight compared to last night, definitely bet on the over.
– Utah beat Idaho 4-1 at home last night in a game that saw the Steelheads score first before the Grizzlies scored four unanswered goals including two shorthanded goals by Trey Bradley (one was empty net). Bradley leads the ECHL with four shorthanded goals. These teams play two more games, both in Utah, of a six game series. Right now Utah is #1 in the Mountain Division (.647) and Idaho is #2 (.578).
– Utah is the only Mountain Division team with a points percentage at .600 or above. It may talk to the parity in the Mountain Division because the North and Central divisions have three teams at .600+ and the South has two.
– Allen has struggled to replace the offense created by defensemen Les Lancaster and Matt Register last season. Les (64 points) and Matt (52 points) finished #1 and #2 in the ECHL in points by defensemen. Last season the entire defense totaled 210 points and averaged of 2.92 points per game. The 210 points was 33% of the team’s total points. This season the defense has 63 points in 28 games, an average of 2.25 points per game which is 25% of the team’s total points. An 8% difference may not sound like a big difference but over the course of a typical Allen season it represents about 60 points.
– Antoine Bibeau has played 571 minutes for the Americans, just short of the 600 minutes need to be included in the qualified (official) ECHL stats. If Bibeau gets the start tomorrow in Tulsa he will surpass the 600 minutes and be included in the official stats. His .928 save percentage would place him #5 in the ECHL. The top four are .936, .933, .933 and .903.
– The Charlotte Checkers had two more players assigned to them from the Florida Panthers yesterday. According to the AHL website, Charlotte now has a roster made up of three goalies, 10 defensemen and 16 forwards. While you can’t tell if some of the players are out with injuries or COVID, it is a large roster by most standards. Would be nice for Allen to get some help from Charlotte, especially if players are healthy scratches and aren’t playing. Charlotte didn’t play last night but host the Texas Stars at home tonight (6:00 pm EST) and tomorrow (1:00 pm EST).
DID YOU KNOW: ECHL teams with most points from defensemen this season:99 points – Utah95 points – Fort Wayne87 points – Indy77 points – Cincinnati77 points – Maine76 points – WheelingIndividual leaders:28 points: Charle-Edouard D’Astous, Utah27 points: Mike Lee, Indy25 points: Marcus Crawford, Kansas City24 points: Will Graber, Fort Wayne