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Allen vs Rapid City Preview, Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson, Playoff Update, All Time Leaders in Playoff Games and More

Friday, April 29th
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– It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Rapid City Rush at the CUTX Event Center in game four of the playoffs. By the end of the day the Americans will be back in the series with it tied 2-2 or they will be holding on by a string with the Rush leading 3-1. Rapid City would have a chance to close out the series in Allen on Saturday knowing games six and seven (if necessary) will be on home ice.

– As a reminder, here are the cumulative stats after three games in the series:

  • Goals: 7 Allen vs 11 Rapid City
  • Shots:  87 Allen vs 153 Rapid City
  • Power Play: 0-7 Allen vs 3-17 Rapid City
  • PIMS: 38 Allen vs 18 Rapid City
  • Minor Penalties: 19 Allen vs 9 Rapid City

– Scoring first and playing with the lead are critical. The team that has scored first has won the first three games of this series. Allen has not held the lead after any period. Allen’s only win came in overtime. Of the nine periods thus far, Rapid City has led after four of them and the other five have been tied. How important is playing with the lead? For all teams in the playoffs, the record when leading after the first period is 14-4-2 and when leading after the second period it is 19-3-1-0. A key tonight for Allen is to take a lead and keep it.

– Special teams are always key and even more so in game prep the last two days, given Allen is scoreless in the series on the power play and the penalty kill gave up two goals on Tuesday (one was 5-on-3). Video review, meetings and practice time all had time

devoted to special teams. The Americans will likely have to win the special teams battle to win the game tonight. As Coach Martinson said, the best way to help the penalty kill is to stay out of the penalty box.

– There will be a new set of referees to work the game tonight. Casey Terreri (#14) and Alex Normandin (#26) are scheduled. Terreri worked three games in Allen during the regular season. It was the Americans three game sweep of Idaho over the New Year weekend. Allen had 12 power play opportunities and Idaho had 14 in the three games. Normandin has not worked an Allen game this season. He is also an AHL referee and worked the Kelly Cup finals in 2019.

– Allen’s defensive liabilities have been talked about in some shape or form in almost every game preview all season. It is something coach Martinson has talked about and worked on all season. The Americans have outshot their opponents in just 24% of their games this season. In those 18 games, Allen’s record is 14-3-1-0. Too often neutral zone turnovers, lack of puck pressure, getting shots blocked, missing the net and a poor forecheck have cost the Americans. There have been times when Allen has been great in these areas of the game, but it has not happened consistently. Tonight’s game will turn on how well Allen performs in these areas. Allen has always been a team that plays best when its back is up against the wall. Look for a good performance by the team tonight.

COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON

“Tonight is an important game as we can’t go down 3-1 in the series.”

“We spent a lot of time the past two days going over video with the team. We covered offensive zone and defensive zone puck possession.”

“Turnovers eliminate opportunities for us and usually create good opportunities for the opponent. Rapid City does a good job in getting back so we can’t try to go through four players on a Rush with three players. If we don’t have a play it is important to get the puck in deep and forecheck.”

“We have to stay out of the penalty box. One of the reasons for the shot differential in this series is the disproportionate power play time.”

“JD Dudek and Ryan Lohin will not be available tonight.”

OTHER COMMENTS

– A recap of the eight ECHL playoff series as of this morning. Note that none of the series are tied:

  • One team, #3 seed (South) Jacksonville is first team to advance to the second round with 4-0 sweep.
  • One team, #2 seed (North) Newfoundland has a 3-1 lead.
  • Two teams, #4 seed (Central) Cincinnati and #1 seed (Mountain) Utah lead 3-2
  • Four teams, #1 seed (North) Reading, #1 seed (South) Florida, #3 seed (Central) Wheeling and #2 seed (Mountain) Rapid City lead 2-1.

– It is still just the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs but some early observations:

  • If defense wins championships watch out for Jacksonville. In the 4-0 sweep of Atlanta the Icemen allowed just seven total goals.
  • If you think goal differential is a good predictor of success watch out for Newfoundland (+9), Jacksonville (+8) and Utah (+5).
  • If special teams win championships watch out for Reading (37.5% PP, 90.0% PK) and Utah (37.5% PP, 92.6% PK).

–  There are only four games on the schedule tonight and all four are 2-1, so no teams have a chance to advance to the second round. Florida is at Greenville, Fort Wayne is at Wheeling, Reading at Maine and Rapid City at Allen. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview on all of the games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/3/echl-today-march-23DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about current players on the all time list for playoff games played. Allen is well represented on the all time list. In addition to Costello and Asuchak, these former Allen players are in the top 40 all time in playoff games played (rank is in parenthesis):

  • Matt Register (1st)
  • Mathieu Aubin (6th)
  • Casey Pierro-Zabotel (20th)
  • Jamie Schaafsma (26th)
  • Gary Steffes (28th)

Four current ECHL players are in the top 40 all time in total playoff games played and are participating in the playoffs this season.  Here are the four players with games played and all time rank in parenthesis:80: Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne (14th)78: John McCarron, Florida (17th)76: Spencer Asuchak, Allen (23rd)69: Chad Costello, Allen (38th)– #1 all time in ECHL playoff games played is defenseman Matt Register with 131 games between 2011-2021. Register is currently in the playoffs in Great Britain and could win the championship this weekend. He won three Kelly Cups.– #2 all time in ECHL playoff games played is Rapid City coach Scott Burt who played in 104 playoff games between 1997-2011. He won three Kelly Cups.

The post Allen vs Rapid City Preview, Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson, Playoff Update, All Time Leaders in Playoff Games and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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