It was a wild night in the Mountain Division last night. Utah clinched first place and Wichita clinched last place, but the battle in the middle for the final two playoff spots was not decided. For Allen, Idaho and Tulsa it will come down to the last game of the season tonight to decide the two teams that will make the playoffs. The game winners last night were Allen, Utah, Tulsa and Kansas City. The losers were Rapid City, Idaho and Wichita.
– Here are the Mountain Division standings after 71 games. The top two spots and bottom two spots are now locked in:
- 85 points – Utah
- 81 points – Rapid City
- 78 points – Tulsa
- 77 points – Allen
- 75 points – Idaho
- 69 points – Kansas City
- 63 points – Wichita
– With a 3-2 overtime win over Iowa last night the Allen Americans are back in control of their own destiny. If the Americans win or lose in overtime tonight, they are in the playoffs. If Allen wins and Tulsa loses in regulation in Rapid City the Americans will finish in third place. If Allen loses in regulation tonight it can still make the playoffs if Idaho also loses.
– There were a lot of ups and downs and good and bad for Allen in the game but the most important thing is the Americans found a way to win with their back against the wall. Here is a recap of the ups, downs, good and bad:
- Allen scored the first goal of the game on its first shot of the game
- Allen was outshot 10-4 in the first period
- Allen led 1-0 after the first period (record with 1st period lead is 15-3-2-1)
- Allen had nine minutes of power play time in the second period including a five minute major and failed to score.
- Allen did not allow a goal in the first two periods of the game.
- Allen gave up numerous odd man rushes and breakaways, including three during the five minute major penalty, all to ECHL leading goal scorer, Kris Bennett.
- Allen led 1-0 after the second period (record with a 2nd period lead is 19-0-1-1).
- Allen was outshot 14-3 in the third period (a season record for fewest shots in a period).
- Allen tied the score 2-2 late in the game (16:43) on its sixth power play of the game.
- Allen won the game at the 1:57 mark of overtime with its second power play goal on its seventh power play opportunity.
– If you look at the glass half full Allen scored the first goal of the game, held Iowa scoreless for the first 47 minutes of the game, came back to tie the score 2-2 late in the game on a power play goal and won in overtime on a second power play goal.
– If you look at the glass half empty, Allen needed overtime to beat a last place team that had little to play for. Allen was out shot 39-25 despite having a one sided (7-2) advantage in power play opportunities. Iowa played the last half of the third period and overtime with four defensemen after two received game misconducts.
– The bottom line is when they had to find a way to win, the Americans were up to the task. A big part of the win goes to Luke Peressini, who was way better than his great .949 save percentage. He stopped numerous grade A scoring chances. It wasn’t a surprise Josh Winquist scored the OT game winner. Allen has won three games in overtime all season (3-8), but the Americans are 2-1 in overtimes in the last two weeks and Winquist has both game winners.
– The goal scorers for Allen were Colby McAuley (11), Ryan Lohin (10) and Josh Winquist (16). Here are the video highlights: https://youtu.be/jwWEr_PJrJ8
– Here are the game recaps:
- From the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-need-overtime-to-beat-iowa/
- From the Iowa Heartlanders: https://www.iowaheartlanders.com/en/2021-22-news/iowa-forces-ot-with-2-goals-in-third-period-but-drops-3-2
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“On the disallowed goal in the second period the referee ruled the goalie had the puck covered before Asuchak pushed it into the net.” https://sporfie.app.link/MJIGRNqegpb
“It was a good comeback and great to get the win but we are not playing to the level we are capable of playing.”
“We had way too many turnovers at the blue line which gave Iowa good plays on the rush. We are too slow transitioning from offense to defense when we turn the puck over at the blue line”
“The software we use had the shots at 37-28 which isn’t good enough when you consider all of the power play time we had.”
“Counter attacks favored Iowa 22-12. That represents a lot of missed shots for us and more shots for them.”
“This series is between an experienced team and a rookie team. Our experience needs to kick in for all three periods tonight.”
“Ryan Lohin is doubtful for the game tonight after taking an elbow to the head. We have had players suspended this season for hits to the head even when there was no injury. In this case a player is injured from a hit to the head and there is no suspension.”
“Luke Peressini was our best players again last night. He will start in goal tonight.”
“We have to cut down on the turnovers and avoid beating ourselves if we expect to win tonight.”
“I released Tyler Poulsen yesterday because it was the last day a released player could be picked up and play for another playoff team. Plus, if he doesn’t get picked up and we get an injury tonight, he can be re-signed and added to our playoff roster.”
GAME THREE PREVIEW
– The game last night was as exciting as a non-playoff game can get. Hopefully, the momentum from the overtime win will carryover to tonight. The keys to the game haven’t changed:
- A good start is essential, Allen has scored first in games one and two. Scoring first and leading after the first period will go along way.
- Allen needs to improve its shot total. That is a combination of reducing turnovers, counter attacks, shots that get blocked and shots that miss the net.
- Allen scored on its sixth and seventh power play of the game last night. The odds are they won’t get seven power play opportunities tonight. Have to get a power play goal early.
- The motto for the game tonight is “win and your in” and you can’t over emphasize the will to win in a game like tonight.
– Since the beginning of March, Josh Winquist has four game winning goals, no other player has more than two.
– Lost in all of the drama of the game yesterday was the release of Allen forward, Tyler Poulsen. He played 33 games in Allen and had 11 points (7G, 4A). Poulsen missed six weeks with a broken foot. He played in one game in February and one game in March. Poulsen brought speed to the lineup and was always finishing his checks. He just got caught up in a numbers game as injured players returned to the lineup.
– Other than the Mountain Division just two playoff slots remain to be determined. In the North Division, Maine and Worcester are battling for the final playoff spot and in the South Division Greenville or Orlando will take the fourth playoff spot. Maine and Greenville are in the lead.
– Here is the ECHL Today with the previews of all the games, and the scenarios for teams making the playoffs, winning the division and winning the Brabham Cup. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-16
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the reduction in average penalty minutes over time. Here is Allen’s average penalty minutes since joining the ECHL:
- 13.63 – 2021-22
- 13.83 – 2020-21
- 12.02 – 2019-20
- 23.49 – 2018-19
- 19.60 – 2017-18
- 19.89 – 2016-17
- 16.51 – 2015-16
- 22.83 – 2014-15
How much has the game changed? 15 years ago 64% (16 of 25) of ECHL teams averaged 20+ penalty minutes (PIMS) per game. This season one team (4%) averaged more than 18 PIMS per game. Here is a sample of ECHL average PIMS per game over time.13.44: 2021-2214.89: 2018-1913.97: 2015-1617.37: 2012-1318:50: 2009-1021.45: 2006-07