The Allen Americans lost to the Kansas City Mavericks last night by a score of 3-2 in overtime. A Friday night crowd of 3564 watched the Americans struggle all game to recover from another poor start. To their credit, the Americans fought back after trailing after the first and second period to tie the score and send the game to overtime. Allen earned a valuable point which allowed them to stay in fourth place in the standings after Tulsa and Idaho both posted victories. It is also important to remember Allen was missing its #1 point scorer (Chad Costello, 68 points), #2 points scorer (Jack Combs, 59 points) and #4 points scorer (Branden Troock, 56 points) last night. These three players represent 30% of Allen’s points this season (176 of 599 points). That is a lot of offense out of the lineup.
– Allen missed every key to the game and then some. Here is a recap of why Allen was fortunate to come away with a point in the overtime loss:
- Allen gave up the first goal for the seventh straight game and last night it cost them. It may seem like it doesn’t make any difference this season whether the Americans score first or not, but here are the facts. Allen’s points percentage when scoring first (48% of games) is .641 and when the opponent scores first (52% of games) it is .457.
- After taking 39 shots on Wednesday, Allen had one of the lowest shot totals of the season, managing just 20 shots in over 65 minutes of hockey. Allen had only six shots in the first period and five in the second. Shot totals for the game favored the Mavericks 34-20.
- Allen trailed 1-0 after the first period which was not a good sign given Allen’s record when trailing at the first intermission was 3-12-2-0.
- The odds were even worse when Allen trailed after the second period. That record was 3-21-5-0.
- Allen’s record in overtime games is 2-8 and it was not a good overtime last night. The Americans had no shots on goal in over five minutes of overtime. Kansas City peppered goalie Frank Marotte with seven shots before it finally scored on shot number eight.
- Both teams scored one power play goal, Allen was 1-5, Kansas City was 1-4.
– The only goal of the first two periods was scored by Kansas City midway through the first period. Allen got back into the game early in the third period (1:17) when Nolan Kneen scored his fifth goal of the season. The teams then traded power play goals, Ben Johnson put Kansas City ahead at the 5:38 mark and Ryan Lohin tied the scored 2-2 at the 11:20 mark. It was Lohin’s eighth goal in 14 games in Allen. Neither team had much offense after the Lohin goal. Allen had no shots the last eight minutes of the game and Kansas City managed just three, despite having a power play opportunity.
– The overtime was a mismatch from the start with the Mavericks getting their first of eight shots 19 seconds into the overtime. Frank Marotte made save after save as Allen lost possession of the puck over and over without getting a shot on goal. Just when it started to look like Allen may be able to hang on and get the game to a shootout, the Mavericks scored the game winner.
– Here are the video highlights: https://youtu.be/2tm8AgT-8CU
– Allen barely held on to fourth place in the Mountain Division. Here are the standings:
- .5507 – Tulsa
- .5448 – Allen
- .5435 – Idaho
– The Americans jumped on the bus right after the game and spent the night traveling to Wichita for game three of the four game week, which will be tonight (7:05 CDT). Wichita played in Tulsa last night (lost 8-2) and also had to travel. Allen had twice the distance (360 miles vs 175 miles) to travel.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“We had too many turnovers trying to make hard plays in the game.”
“We didn’t get enough pucks in deep. Their defense didn’t have to do much to stop us the entire game.”
“We didn’t have smart puck possession in the overtime.”
“All three goals against last night were gifts. Just plain bad defending on our part.”
“We had a lot of players playing sick last night. JD Dudek and Josh Winquist didn’t make the trip to Wichita.”
“We do have 20 players on the road trip. Branden Troock and Jack Combs, who missed the game last night, are with us on the road trip.
“Luke Peressini will get the start in goal tonight.”
“The type of immigration status Justin Young has limits him to 10 days or five games. He has four games now so will only play in one of the two games in Wichita. He will get an all expenses paid vacation trip to Cancun on Monday to “tag up” and get the immigration status he needs for the remainder of the season. The bad part of the vacation is he will be in Cancun a total of about three hours.”
ALLEN VS WICHITA PREVIEW
– The two games in Wichita are so important for Allen’s playoff hopes. The Thunder gave up on the season and traded many of their top players for younger players and future considerations. Wichita has lost nine of its last 10 games, including 8-2 last night and 6-1 on Wednesday, both to Tulsa. Allen’s lineup will be filled with players that aren’t 100% because of illness, injury or both, but anything less than four points this weekend will be a disappointment. The schedule favors Allen, but as inconsistently as the team has played this season the Americans don’t want the playoffs to come down to needing help from Rapid City by beating Tulsa or Utah by beating Idaho.
– It sounds like a broken record but Allen needs to get off to a better start, outshoot Wichita, win on special teams and avoid beating themselves on defensive. The “kiss” theory should be top of mind tonight. Hopefully having the #2 and #4 scorer back in the lineup (Combs & Troock) will give the team a lift.
– If you were confused by the goalie switch at the beginning of the game it was something that was in Steve Martinson’s plan all along. On Thursday his quote was, “If Luke Peressini doesn’t play in 25 games this season he will be considered a rookie again next season and would be subject to the rookie maximum salary. He has 21 games now and I will make sure he reaches 25.”
Yesterday Martinson was clear that Frank Marotte would get the start in goal.
Martinson started Peressini to get him one more game played on the way to 25. Marotte went in at the first stoppage, just as planned.
– I hear all of the discussion talking about is it points or points percentage in the Mountain Division. Here is a news flash, it makes absolutely no difference when all team have played the same number of games. Points percentage and points will yield the exact same results once all teams have played its 72nd game. Points percentage is a better stat when you are comparing teams that have played different number of games, but all of this talk about is it points or points percentage at the end of the season in the Mountain Division is quite frankly, comical.
– Tulsa is idle tonight so Allen will be back in third place with a win. In a late game. Utah is at Idaho for the third of five straight games. The series is tied 1-1 and the final two games, after tonight, will be in Utah. Allen will have a chance to help its cause again tomorrow in the rematch with Wichita because Tulsa and Idaho will be idle.
DID YOU KNOW: Here is the ECHL Stats post from today. FYI, Allen’s goal differential is -5 but is +11 since the beginning of March. Looking at the stats below it is hard not to predict the Mountain Division will struggle in the Kelly Cup playoffs. The good news is the first two rounds of the playoffs are within the division so one Mountain Division team is guaranteed to make it to the final four.
Goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is one stat that encapsulates team performance. It is also a stat that can measure strength of teams across divisions. Here is the goal differential for the top two teams in each division. History says the odds are the Kelly Cup will be won by one of the top two teams in each division. History also says one of the teams with a goal differential over +50 will win the Kelly Cup.NORTH+56 Reading+66 NewfoundlandSOUTH+56 Florida+23 AtlantaCENTRAL+65 Toledo+36 Fort WayneMOUNTAIN+8 Utah+5 Rapid City