It is game day and it is time for the best part of the season, playoff hockey at home. Tonight will be the chance to erase the memory of the last home playoff game which was 311 days ago. The night the Americans were leading 4-1 against Fort Wayne, with 12 minutes remaining in the game and lost 5-4 in overtime. Rather than a 2-0 lead in the best of five series, Allen headed to Fort Wayne with the series tied and the Americans never recovered, losing to the eventual Kelly Cup champions 3-1. I digress as that was in the past and most of this year’s team doesn’t even know about that game. Allen scored four goals in that game and the goal scorers were Sam Laberge, Scott Conway, Brett Neumann and Corey Mackin.
– How important is game three in a seven game series? Based on NHL history in opening round series, if Rapid City wins tonight the Rush odds of winning the series increases to 70%. If Allen wins the Americans odds of winning the series goes to 57%.
– For Allen the game is important to show they are on the right track after the two games in Rapid City. If Allen can play tonight how they ended the game on Saturday they will be fine.
– As always special teams will play a key role in the game tonight. The two referee system used in the playoffs creates more power play opportunities (see below). In the first two games of the series, Allen has had just five power plays compared to 11 for Rapid City. The Americans are 0-5 on the power play, Rapid City is 1-11. I know coach Martinson was not pleased with the disparity in power plays, especially the penalty in overtime on Saturday.
– The referees scheduled for the game tonight are Jake Jackson (#16) and Nolan Bloyer (#31). Allen has seen Bloyer just one time (in Toledo) and there were a total of five power plays. Jackson has worked five Allen games including the final two games of the regular season against Iowa. In the five games there were a total of 42 power plays, 22 for Allen, 20 for the opponents.
– A good start is essential to success. In the first two games of this series the team that scored first won. Neither team has had more than a one goal lead. At the end of five of the six periods in the first two games the score was tied. A first period lead would be huge for Allen tonight.
– 30% of the ECHL playoff games thus far have gone to overtime. Allen was very good in overtime on Saturday. Odds are you will see another overtime game between Allen and Rapid City this week.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“The lopsided shots on Saturday is something we have to deal with but I thought we outplayed them in the last part of the third period and in overtime.”
“Some of the shot differential came from the disparity in power plays (8 vs 3).
“I have made some tweaks to the power play and penalty kill for the game tonight.”
“JD Dudek will be available tonight, Eric Roy and Ryan Lohin will not and are still day to day.”
“I have said this before but it is so critical in the next three home games. For us to be successful our veteran lines have to outplay the lines they are playing against.”
“Defense is hard work whether it is on special teams or even strength. We tend to coast too much which gets us in trouble.”
– There was just one game in the ECHL last night. In a high scoring affair, Cincinnati beat Toledo 6-5 in overtime to take a 2-1 series lead against the Brabham Cup winner. Toledo had two players, both former Allen Americans, get kicked out of the game. Jesse Mychan was given a game misconduct for charging early in the third period and Cole Fraser was given a match penalty in overtime for slew footing. Fraser’s penalty proved costly as Cincinnati’s overtime game winner was scored on the power play. Two of the three games in this series have gone to overtime. The teams will play again on Wednesday and Thursday in Cincinnati.
– Here are the three games scheduled tonight:
- #2 Newfoundland at #3 Trois-Riviéres – Newfoundland leads 2-0
- #2 Rapid City at #3 Allen – Series tied 1-1
- #1 Utah at #4 Tulsa – Series tied 1-1
- ECHL Today preview: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-26
– Add another vacancy to the list of ECHL teams looking for a new head coach. Orlando announced yesterday the Solar Bears have parted ways with their coach. There are now three or four ECHL teams looking for a new coach. It is hard to believe Steve Martinson is not under contract for next season and his current contract will expire at the end of June. Talk about a distraction. Martinson could very well end up with a new job before Allen even talks to him about a new contract. C’MON MAN!
DID YOU KNOW: Too early to draw any conclusions but during the ECHL regular season, with one referee, average number of minor penalties per game against each team was 4.48. Thus far in the Kelly Cup playoffs, with two referees, the average number of minor penalties against each team is 6.27. That is close to a 40% increase in minor penalties.
The post Allen vs Rapid City Preview, Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson, ECHL Schedule, Another ECHL Coaching Vacancy, Minor Penalties Increase in Playoffs and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.