As I arrived at the CUTX Event Center yesterday just before puck drop and was making my way to the press box my heart stopped. There was Chad Costello, sitting with his sons, watching an Allen Americans game from the stands. Chad has played in Allen for almost four seasons and has never missed a game. It is almost impossible to believe, considering when Costello arrived in Allen for training camp in 2014, he wasn’t sure he could even continue his pro career. In 2013-14 Chad played just 14 games and had a serious injury that came close to ending his career. After training camp, Chad felt good enough to play and the rest his history. Playing every game in a single season is rare, to do it three straight seasons is unprecedented. Chad owns many offensive records for the Allen Americans that will never be broken. Today you can add playing in 340 straight games (280 regular season, 60 playoff) to the list of Costello’s Allen records that will never be broken.
– It looked like an uphill battle for Allen in the Sunday matinee against Tulsa. The Americans were not only missing their co-captain and leading scorer Costello. Ryan Lohin was not able to play (day to day), Darian Skeoch was serving a suspension and a couple of players were so sick they had to leave the ice during the game. It was the fourth game in five days and Tulsa had handled Allen easily on Saturday, winning 4-1 while outshooting the Americans 43-21.
– It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but you got the feeling some how, some way the team was going to find away to win this critical game. It was a gutsy performance by the entire team led by another outstanding performance by goalie Luke Peressini who stopped 44 of 46 Tulsa shots for a .957 save percentage.
– Here is what didn’t work:
- Allen gave up the first goal of the game for the fifth straight game
- Allen was outshot in every period and the overtime for a total of 46-21
- Allen was 0-3 on the power play
– Here is what did work:
- Allen scored 71 seconds after Tulsa took the 1-0 lead
- Allen scored on 33% of its shots in the second period (1 goal, 3 shots)
- Allen was perfect on the penalty kill (0-3)
- Allen was perfect in the shootout (3-3)
– Allen has won several games recently when it gave up the first goal of the game. As a comparison Allen’s record when scoring first this season is only average at 18-9-4-1. The Americans record when they give up the first goal is above average but is still a losing record, 13-17-3-0. What has helped Allen recently is they have responded quickly after giving up the first goal. It happened again yesterday when Spencer Asuchak scored 71 seconds after Tulsa took a 1-0 lead. It was Asuchak’s 25th goal of the season. The most goals Spencer as ever had in a single season going back to his junior career in 2008-09 is 26. He scored 26 goals for the Americans in 2016-17.
– Luke Peressini was great all game but especially in the second period when Allen was out shot 14-3. Joe Garreffa gave Tulsa a 2-1 lead early in the period to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead. Allen didn’t manage a shot until after the mid point of the period. Peressini held off Tulsa until Branden Troock was able to tie the score 2-2 on one his big time shots from the top of the circle. It was his 20th goal of the season. Tulsa outshot Allen 7-0 in the last three minutes of the second period after the Troock goal, but Peressini stood tall.
– There were no goals in the third period even though Tulsa had the better chances, outshooting Allen 12-4. After the scoreless third period the teams headed to overtime with fourth place in the Mountain Division on the line. The team that got the extra point would be in a playoff spot. Overtime has not been good to Allen this season. The Americans have a 2-7 record in overtimes, though they won in overtime last Wednesday in Kansas City. Both teams had good chances in overtime. Tulsa was called for too many men on the ice that gave Allen a 4-on-3 power play for the final 66 seconds of the overtime. As the overtime was about to end, Allen was set up for a pass to Asuchak who was in front of the net. He was slashed twice by the defender, the second one so hard it broke his stick in half. Instead of an Allen opportunity, Tulsa had a chance with seven seconds remaining, but Peressini made his 44th save of the game.
– Allen made quick work of the shootout. For the first time in my memory the Americans went three for three in the shootout. Josh Winquist, Spencer Asuchak and Chad Butcher all converted to give Allen the 3-2 win. The Americans shootout record is now 2-1.
– Here are the video highlights: https://youtu.be/a1JIQ7u902c
– Here are the game recap from the Tulsa Oilers: https://tulsaoilers.com/oilers-grab-point-in-shootout-loss-2/
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“It was a big win for us and gets us back in a playoff spot.”
“As he has been for over a month, Luke Peressini was our best player stopping 44 of 46 shots.
“Our offensive zone time has been pretty good. We need to get more pucks to the net and avoid offensive zone turnovers without getting a shot.”
“Our lineup this week should be improved as I expect Lohin will play on Wednesday and McAuley will be ready after arriving last night.”
“We had a couple of players playing last night that didn’t feel well and they should be better by Wednesday.”
“We won’t know until later today the extent of Chad Costello’s injury.”
‘With four games in five days again this week the players will have today off and tomorrow will be a very light practice with not everyone participating.”
– J.C. Campagna was released yesterday and could be claimed by another ECHL team. Everytime coach Martinson brings in a new player another player has to be released. Campagna was a big help to the Americans when they were shorthanded in mid February. He scored goals in his first three games for the Americans and had 10 goals in his first 12 games. But his production has fallen off over the last month. In his last nine games Campagna had no goals, two assists and had a plus/minus of -8.
– There are four teams in the ECHL that have won just two of their last 10 games. Three of those teams are Allen’s remaining opponents:
- Apr 6 Kansas City
- Apr 8 Kansas City
- Apr 9 at Wichita
- Apr 10 at Wichita
- Apr 13 Iowa
- Apr 15 Iowa
- Apr 16 Iowa
– The playoff picture is slowly coming into focus. Florida was added the playoff list yesterday, making five teams qualified (Atlanta, Florida, Newfoundland, Reading, Toledo). In addition, Toledo clinched the top spot in the Central Division.
DID YOU KNOW: Average points per game is the best way to assess the ECHL’s top scorers given call ups and loans to the NHL/AHL and injuries. Here are the the top players in the ECHL in average points per game (minimum 30 ECHL games played):1.71 – Ben Finkelstein, Newfoundland1.54 – Ryan Kuffner, Iowa1.51 – Will Graber, Fort Wayne1.50 – Kris Bennett, Iowa1.47 – Patrick Watling, Wheeling1.41 – Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland1.35 – Matt Berry, ToledoAmazingly, Ben Finkelstein is the leader and is the only defenseman on this list. In 31 games he has 53 points (11G, 42A). That is a 120 point pace based on a full season for a pure defenseman.
The post Allen Wins in a Shootout, Reclaims Playoff Spot, Chad Costello Injured and Misses First Game Ever For the Americans, Steve Martinson’s Comments and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.