The largest crowd of the season (5661) at the CUTX Event Center watched the Allen Americans get off to a good start but then relinquish four unanswered goals to lose to the Rapid City Rush 4-1. With the loss Allen is now on the brink of elimination, down 3-1 in the series, with game five tonight at 7:05 pm.
– Allen had its best start of the series with a lot of energy and puck possession for the first half of the opening period. Ben Carroll put the Americans on the scoreboard at 6:30 of the first period with his second goal of the playoffs, which is tied for the team lead. It also matched his goal production for the entire regular season.
– At the midway point of the first period the Americans had a 1-0 lead and 7-5 shot advantage. The last half of the first period was totally different and the inconsistency that has been part of the teams DNA this season showed up. Rapid City outshot Allen 11-2 and tied the score 1-1 in the last half of the period.
– Rapid City took the lead for good early in the second period. To Allen’s credit, the Americans had a good second half of the period out shooting the Rush 10-4 but they could not get the equalizer, so the second period ended with a 2-1 Rush lead.
– Allen has not been a good come from behind team this season and coming from behind in the playoffs is tough for all teams. Teams with a second period lead have a record of 23-3-1-0 thus far in the playoffs. Rapid City scored two more goals in the third period to send the fans to the exits, knowing the Americans have now reached the win or go home stage of the series.
– Allen returned home with the series tied 1-1 after stealing game two in overtime in Rapid City. The Americans had high hopes that home ice would give them the series lead. Here is what has happened in the two home games:
- Allen has managed just two goals in six periods.
- Allen has allowed nine goals in two games.
- Allen was 0-7 on the power play (Americans are 0-12 in the series).
- Rapid City had the lead after six of the seven periods (one period was tied).
- Allen has taken 14 penalties for 36 minutes, Rapid City has taken 8 for 16 minutes.
– The conventional wisdom was Allen would be able to score enough to win at home, the question was could they defend well enough to win at home. The Americans have managed to under perform in both phases of the game. In the two home games Allen has scored an average of 1.00 goal per game while allowing an average of 4.50 goals per game.
– If you look at the final score of 4-1 it is easy to conclude the Americans were out worked and out played but if you look at the official game stats they say something quite different. Allen won 55% of the puck battles, out hit Rapid City 22-7, had more blocked shots (11-9), had 55% of the even strength puck possession and had more offensive zone puck possession. The only stat that worked against Allen was faceoffs (they won only 34%). The difference in the game was defensive mistakes that resulted in four plays with odd man rushes and Rapid City scored on all four. Rapid City didn’t give up those type of plays to Allen and when the Americans had grade A opportunities they didn’t convert.
– Here are the video highlights: https://youtu.be/f5AlCHVx9yA
– Here are the game recaps:
- Allen Americans game recap: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-drop-game-4-4-1-to-rapid-city/
- Rapid City Rush game recap: https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2022/4/rush-drop-americans-in-game-4-4-1
– All is not lost yet for the Americans even though the odds are against them. The historical percentages in seven games series in the NHL says Rapid City has a 63% chance of winning the game tonight and a 92% chance of winning the series.
– The key to getting a win tonight is building on the positives from last night while improving the faceoff percentage, the power play and most importantly the defensive mistakes that lead to odd man rushes.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“We beat ourselves last night. Defensive mistakes allowed them to have three different 2-on-1 rushes and they scored on all of them.”
“We failed to capitalizes on our chances. We have to put the puck in the net.”
“Frank Marotte will get the start on goal tonight. He has played well in the opportunities he has been given and has worked hard to keep himself ready when called on.”
“With Roy, Dudek and Lohin out and not available, there are only a couple of changes I can make for the game tonight.”
“I expect to win the game tonight and we will head to Rapid City right after the game. I reminded the players we have been down 3-1 before in the playoffs and came back to win.
– Goalie Frank Marotte has made 37 straight saves in the just over 65 minutes he has played in goal in his last three appearances.
– There are six games in the ECHL tonight, four teams can advance to the second round with a win.
- #2 Newfoundland at #3 Trois-Riviéres – Growlers lead 3-1
- #1 Florida at #4 Greenville – Everblades lead 3-1
- #4 Cincinnati at #1 Toledo – Cincinnati leads 3-1
- #2 Rapid City at #3 Allen – Rapid City leads 3-1
Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-30
– I am sure most of you have read about goalie Thomas Hodges dream come true NHL debut last night. Thomas the EBUG, played a full period for Anaheim against the Dallas Stars after both Ducks goalies got injured. Hodges has helped out Allen for years when the Americans need a goalie for practice or games. He has made several road trip with Allen but managed to get in just one game since 2016. It was a New Year’s Eve home game in 2016 and Allen was leading 8-4 late in the game. With 50 seconds remaining in the game, Allen goalie, Jamie Murray, came up with an injury (wink-wink) which allowed Hodges to enter the game. The only time an EBUG can play is if the goalie is injured. Hodges had no shots in his 50 seconds but got in the record books as a pro goalie. In addition to EBUG duties for Allen, Hodges has served as an EBUG for the following teams when they were visiting Allen and needed an EBUG:
- Idaho Steelheads
- South Carolina Stingrays
- Kansas City Mavericks
- Utah Grizzlies
- Rapid City Rush
- Wichita Thunder
- Orlando Solar Bears
– Here is a story from the Dallas Morning News about the EBUG experience Hodges had last night: https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/stars/2022/04/30/professional-for-a-period-stars-emergency-goaltender-thomas-hodges-had-a-night-to-remember/Here is a video of the night and both teams congratulating Hodges after the game: https://youtu.be/3Zq5tXLEGS8– Last night wasn’t the first time Thomas Hodges got publicity as an NHL EBUG. Back in January of 2018 he had to dress for a game after a Florida Panthers goalie was injured, but he never got in the game. Here is what I wrote in the blog about that experience:
Who would have thought the next Allen Americans player to dress for an NHL game would be Allen’s often used EBUG (emergency backup goalie) Thomas Hodges. The Plano West graduate has helped out the Americans many times over the past couple of years at practice and when they needed an EBUG because of injuries. Thomas actually played 50 seconds in the 2016 New Year’s Eve game. With Allen leading 8-4 against Utah, starting goalie Jamie Murray came up with a stiff back with 50 seconds remaining in the game. An EBUG can only play if there is an injury to the other goalie. Thomas didn’t get a save but made his pro debut which was a big thrill.
If you were watching the Dallas Stars play the Florida Panthers last night you saw Panthers’ goalie James Reimer get injured early in the first period. Because Riemer could not return the NHL emergency goalie plan went into effect. It is a pretty elaborate plan which entails the home team having an emergency back up goalie on hand who can play for either team. Last night that was Thomas Hodges who was the back up goalie for the Florida Panthers. He didn’t sit on the bench but was dressed and ready to go in the tunnel. Just think, when the Americans hang a banner in the AEC of players that made it from the Allen Americans to the NHL it will include the names Jordie Benn, Aaron Dell and now Thomas Hodges. What a great experience for the young goaltender. Here is the complete story written by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News complete with a picture of Thomas in his Florida Panthers gear. https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2018/01/23/stars-notebook-nhls-emergency-goalie-plan-put-effect-after-injury-panthersjames-reimer
DID YOU KNOW: The 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs has some stats that make you look twice. Here are a few examples.– Wheeling leads all teams in penalty minutes with 103. The Nailers have only played four games thus far but has 30 more penalty minutes than any other team.– Utah has the #1 power play at 37.5%. That is 10.2% higher than any other playoff team.– Greenville has 3 shorthand goals in four games. No other team has more than one and 11 teams have none.– Newfoundland is #1 in average goals scored per game (5.00). No other team in the playoffs is above 3.80. 10 teams are averaging less than 3.00 goals per game.– Maine is the only playoff team that has not given up a third period goal. The Mariners have outscored #1 seed Reading 7-0 in the third period.– Toledo has the only two penalty shots of the playoffs. They both happened in the same period in the same game less than three minutes apart. Cincinnati goalie, Michael Houser, stopped both penalty shots.