The Utah Grizzlies finished a weekend sweep of Allen on Sunday afternoon, beating the Americans 4-3. While the game was closer than the first two the similarities were very familiar. Allen scored first and held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before Utah scored three straight goals including yet another shorthanded goal. With a 4-2 lead for the Grizzlies after the second period the die was pretty much cast, as Utah has not lost all season when leading after the second period, a record that now stands at 18-0-0-0.
– To Allen’s credit it did close the gap to 4-3 in the third period and had some good chances after the pulling goalie Hayden Lavigne, but the Americans could not get the equalizer.
– The win yesterday made it a clean sweep for Utah (5-0-0-0) against Allen this season. The teams will not see each other again in the regular season. Allen scored first in all five games and yet lost all five. The Americans now have the worst record in the ECHL when scoring first (.439) and is the only team under .500. The Americans were outshot in all five games and the margins were not close in most of them. The shot margins favored Utah by 24, 14, 4, 18 and 14. It is hard to win games when being outshot by these margins. The Americans are once again last (#27) in the ECHL in average goals allowed per game at. 3.82.
– Enough from me about all that went wrong in Idaho. If you are interested in the details here are the game recaps from both teams:
– Allen’s goal scorers were Jackson Leppard (8,9), and Chad Butcher (3).
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
I had a chance to catch up with coach Martinson very early this morning as the team was waiting for the flight back to Dallas. Here are his comments about the game, the roster and the coming week.
“Utah was just better than us this weekend. They work hard and they work fast. They have some highly skilled defensemen with high hockey IQ’s and they gave us trouble.”
“The shorthanded goals came from Utah’s forwards taking off when there are 50-50 puck battles because they know their defensemen will win the puck battle.
“Too many times our players are on the offensive side of puck battles rather than being on the safer defensive side. We don’t seem to learn from our mistakes.”
“Utah did a better job of reading plays faster and playing the percentages better than we did.”
“We struggled getting hard shots on goal from the point. We missed Kneen and Beaulieu who both have good shots from the point.”
“We gave Utah’s defensemen too much time with the puck at the point.”
“We played short on Sunday with Skeoch suspended for two games and Gould injured. On the check that resulted in Skoech’s suspension, I saw it the same as the referee, as a legal check. On Gould, we won’t know his status until after we get home and have him checked out. It is possible he could play at some point this week.”
“Phil Beaulieu will be back in Allen today and will be back in the lineup on Wednesday.”
“I signed forward Kolten Olynek out of the University of Western Ontario because he is the type of player that will play hard on the puck, is a good penalty killer. He spent five years in juniors (WHL) before going to college so he is a rookie but is 25 year old mature player.”
“We will take the day off today and be back at practice tomorrow getting ready for the four games this week.”
– Charlotte doesn’t play again until next Friday so you would expect if Spencer Asuchak is going to be sent back to Allen it would happen today. If you don’t see anything in AHL transaction today, it probably means he stays for the games next weekend.
– Nolan Kneen scored his first AHL goal in Charlotte’s game yesterday in a losing cause but was selected as the #3 star of the game. Kneen has now played six games since being loaned to Charlotte and has four points (1G, 3A) and is +2. It looks to me that Kneen has played his way to an AHL contract. Charlotte has a double NHL affiliation (Seattle & Florida) so you never know what will happen when injured defensemen return.
– Allen has now lost three straight games and seven of the last eight. They have fallen back to a .500 points percentage which is #19 in the ECHL. Just two weeks ago Allen’s points percentage was .580 ranked #11 in the league. The Americans have a chance to get things turned around quickly with four home games this week. First up is Rapid City on Wednesday, the Rush is just ahead of Allen in the standings. Then it is three games against Newfoundland. The Growlers came off a long hiatus and beat Kansas City 9-4 on Friday but then lost to the Mavericks 4-2 on Saturday and Tulsa 5-1 on Sunday. Newfoundland started the season with a 9-0 road record but is 1-2-1-0 since. In their last 10 games, Newfoundland is just 3-5-2-0. As Steve Martinson said to me when I mentioned to him the team had lost all the momentum it had gained during the winning streak with the recent losing streak, “We need to start another winning streak.”
– Toledo is the only remaining ECHL team with a points percentage above .700. There are just seven teams above .600, only one in the Mountain Division. Here is the list. If past is prologue, the Kelly Cup champion comes from this list.
- .735 – Toledo
- .680 – Newfoundland
- .671 – Jacksonville
- .667 – Utah
- .645 – Reading
- .622 – Florida
- .611 – Trois-Riviéres
– Jacksonville didn’t wait for the league to investigate or take action against player Jacob Panetta, who was accused of making a racial gesture toward South Carolina’s Jordan Subban in a game on Saturday. The Icemen released Panetta yesterday. Panetta has responded to the incident that got him kicked off the team. Here is that story: https://www.news4jax.com/sports/2022/01/24/released-jacksonville-icemen-player-responds-to-racial-accusations-that-got-him-kicked-off-team/
DID YOU KNOW: All season I have been following Allen’s power play efficiency when you consider the number of shorthanded goals the Americans have allowed. This morning I decided to look at the numbers for the entire ECHL.
Power play percentage is the primary way teams are measured on how its power play is performing. However, another way to look at the best power play teams is net positive which subtracts shorthanded goals allowed from power play goals scored. Currently 11 ECHL teams are above +20 and 16 are below +20. Here are the teams with the best and worst net positive power play goals:BEST+29: Rapid City+27: Newfoundland+27: Iowa+25: Kansas City+25: WheelingWORST+9: South Carolina+11: Allen+11: Atlanta+12: Norfolk+13: TulsaIowa is a good example on the best list because the Heartlanders are ranked #18 in power play percentage but have allowed just two shorthanded goals. (29 power play goals, minus two shorthanded goals allowed equals net positive +27).Allen is a good example on the worst list because the Americans power play percentage is ranked #15 but they have allowed a league leading 14 shorthanded goals, which gives them the second worst net positive number in the ECHL. (25 power play goals, minus 14 shorthanded goals allowed, equals net positive +11).