The Rapid City Rush found lightning in a bottle both literally and figuratively last night in beating the Allen Americans 3-2 in the opening game of the playoffs. With the game tied 2-2 midway through the third period a lightning strike knocked out power to part of The Monument Ice Arena that caused a delay of about 10 minutes. Shortly after the game resumed Rapid City scored the game winner when a shot from the point was deflected into the net to give the Rush a 3-2 lead. Allen pulled goalie Luke Peressini with just under two minutes remaining in the game for an extra attacker but never managed a shot on goal.
– Allen got off to another slow start giving up the first goal of the game just 91 seconds after the opening puck drop. It was Rapid City’s first shot of the game. It was not a good sign when you consider the record for the teams that scored the first goal thus far in the playoffs is 8-1-1. Allen spent the rest of the game coming from behind as Rapid City had leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. To the Americans credit they tied the score 1-1 on a goal by Chad Costello which was the score after the first period. When Rapid City took a 2-1 lead early in the second period the Americans responded less than two minutes later on a Chad Butcher goal. The game was tied 2-2 at the second intermission.
– The third period was controlled by Rapid City. The Rush took the first seven shots and outshot the Americans 17-10 in the period. Each team had one power play opportunity but did not convert. After Rapid City scored the game winner (15:34), Allen managed just three shots on goal the rest of the game which included almost two minutes of extra attacker time.
– Both goalies played well and had highlight reel saves. Luke Peressini stopped 39 of 42 shots for a .929 save percentage and two of the three goals he allowed were deflections. Here are the video highlights from Allen and Rapid City with some of the great saves and the goals, with the exception of the game winning goal:
Highlights from Rapid City: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2022/4/allen-americans-vs-rapid-city-rush—apr-22-2022-TFS5e6OO
Highlights from Allen: https://youtu.be/936KV8AslII
– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-drop-game-1-to-rapid-city/
– Here is a different and complete game recap for change, as it comes from the local media (Rapid City Journal) rather than from the teams: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/rush-pot-late-goal-to-take-game-1-against-allen/article_981fce9a-26ff-5401-832c-2975cf4d548b.html
GAME TWO PREVIEW
– It is hard to say game two is a must win so early in the series but the odds of winning round one will go down dramatically if Allen doesn’t find a way to win tonight and goes down 2-0. The historical odds say Allen’s chances of winning the series would be just above 10%.
– What will it take to get a win tonight?
- Allen has to reduce shots allowed. The Americans are dead last in shots allowed among all of the playoff teams, allowing 42 last night. They are actually tied with Trois-Riviéres for last as the Lions also gave up 42 shots in a 7-4 loss to Newfoundland.
- Giving up fewer shots actually starts on offense, as coach Martinson has said many times. Fewer turnovers in neutral ice and coming into the offensive zone, getting shots through shooting lanes so they don’t get blocked, getting pucks on net and making better decisions on when and where to pass all contribute to more shots for Allen and fewer for Rapid City.
- Neither team scored a power play goal last night so the special teams were not a factor. The referees tonight will be the same as last night. Odds are special teams will play a bigger role tonight.
- Allen has too much offensive power to be satisfied with two goals in a game. All three lines have the ability to score on every shift. That offensive prowess needs to deliver more even strength goals tonight.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“They had net front presence more than we did in the game. Two of their goals came on shots from the outside with guys at the net. We need to do a better job of getting in the front of the net and screening the goalie.”
“We had too many odd man rushes and breakaways where we didn’t get a shot or missed the net.”
“For us to be successful our veteran lines have to outplay the lines they are playing against.”
“We came out of the game without any new injuries, I won’t decide until I have a chance to go through the video this morning what changes, if any, I will make for tonight.”
“Peressini was good in goal with two of Rapid City’s goals being deflections. He will start in goal again tonight.”
“I still haven’t seen a replay of the winning goal, but I thought our defenseman was tripped on that play.”
– Steve Martinson is two wins away from tying the ECHL all time record for career playoff wins. He currently has 53 playoff wins.
– Last night was a good one for the home teams which were the higher seeded teams. They were 7-1 on the night. Wheeling (#3 seed) was the only road team that won, beating Fort Wayne (#2 seed) by a score of 1-0.
– The higher seeded teams won but it wasn’t easy for several of them who won in overtime:
- Florida fell behind 3-0 and had to score twice in the final 80 seconds of the game with its net empty and an extra attacker just to get to overtime. The Everblades won 4-3 in overtime.
- Jacksonville had a 4-1 lead and gave up three goals in the last five minutes of the game, including the tying goal with one second remaining. The Icemen won 5-4 in overtime.
- The strangest ending came in Toledo’s 3-2 overtime win against Cincinnati. John Albert, who scored all three Toledo goals was rimming the puck when it bounced off a stanchion, hit the goalie in the back and went in the net. A unique way to score the game winner and get a hat trick. Also a tough loss for Cincinnati and goalie Michael Houser losing in overtime on a fluke goal. You have to check this out if you haven’t seen it: https://youtu.be/ncPx6LVr-fU
– There are only six playoff games tonight. The two series that have already played two games are idle. In the North Division #1 Reading leads #4 Maine 2-0. In the South Division #3 Jacksonville leads #2 Atlanta 2-0. Jacksonville caught a big break because of arena availability for Atlanta. Jacksonville is the lower seeded team at #3 but will play the first four playoff games on home ice. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of the six games on tap tonight: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-23DID YOU KNOW: The help ECHL teams get from their NHL/AHL affiliates and sometimes other NHL/AHL teams are key when it comes to success in the Kelly Cup playoffs. In addition to players already assigned to ECHL teams, there are numerous players that are playoff eligible but are still playing in the AHL. The AHL regular season won’t finish until a week from today and 23 of the 31 AHL teams will make the playoffs. Many ECHL teams are saving playoff slots for these playoff eligible players in the AHL. The two contract players on the Allen roster are Ryan Lohin and Frank Marotte. The player on Allen’s playoff eligible list that could be added later is Antoine Bibeau:NHL/AHL contracted players submitted on ECHL playoff rosters (active & reserve) varies from 1-15. Here are the teams with the most and fewest NHL/AHL contract players on their roster. Does not include playoff eligible players still in the AHL, some of which could be added as the playoffs progress. The number of NHL/AHL contracted players on the playoff eligible list is in parenthesis:MOST15 – Newfoundland (6)9- Utah (1)8 – Trois Rivières (3)7 – Wheeling (2)6 – Florida (3)5 – Reading (6)FEWEST1 – Toledo (3)2 – Allen (1)2 – Rapid City (0)3 – Atlanta (1)3 – Maine (5)3 – Reading (6)
The post Allen Loses 3-2, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Three OT Nailbiters Last Night, NHL/AHL Contracted Players by the Numbers and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.