Sorry for the lateness of the blog today. If the series loss last night wasn’t bad enough, I had internet problems this morning. I am sure for all Allen fans, but speaking for myself, the way the season ended was tough to take. You get so invested in the team, the players and the coaches it is difficult to see it come to an end so swiftly. The end of the season always creates a lot of uncertainty. I will have more to say about that in my season wrap up/thank you blog tomorrow.
It was a strange feeling watching a handshake line on home ice last night with the Allen Americans on the losing side. It had happened only one other time in the 13 year history of the franchise. The 2017 playoffs ended with a loss to Colorado (the eventual Kelly Cup champs) at home.
– For the record the final game of the 2021-22 season was a 6-3 loss to the Rapid City Rush before a crowd of 2429 at the at the CUTX Event Center. The game was a lot closer than the score as two empty net goals in the last two minutes of the game added to the disappointment.
– I am not going to spend a lot of time analyzing the game but a few things struck me while I was reflecting this morning on what happened last night and in this series. Sorry for the randomness of this list, but there were many different thoughts and stats going through my mind.
- Allen got off to another great start scoring the first goal of the game and outshooting Rapid City 11-3 in the first 12 minutes of the game.
- Allen had a 1-0 lead after the first period. It was the first time in the series the Americans had a lead after any period (except overtime).
- Allen’s record during the regular season when leading after the first period was 16-3-2-1.
- The teams traded goals in the second period which gave Allen a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.
- A second period lead was obviously going to lead to a victory in my mind because Allen was almost unbeatable with a second period lead during the regular season. The Americans didn’t lose a single game in regulation. Allen’s record during the regular season with a second period lead was 20-0-1-1.
- Five goals allowed to Rapid City in the third period equaled the Americans total goal production in the three home games (9 periods).
- Allen lost three straight home games against the same team. I don’t think that has ever happened before to the Americans.
- It took a 5-on-3 power play for Allen to finally score a power play goal against Rapid City. The Americans finished the playoffs 1-19 (5.3%) on the power play.
- Allen’s lone win against Rapid City came in a game the Americans gave up a record 63 shots.
- It seemed appropriate the series winning goal came on what has been Allen’s Achilles heel all season. A turnover at the blue line after having full possession of the puck led directly to a goal.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Chad Butcher (2), Kris Myllari (1) and Colby McAuley (2).
- Who would have thought in the 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs, defenseman Ben Carroll would have more points (4), goals (2) and assists (2) than the combined total for the line of Combs-Winquist-Troock (2 points, 1G, 1A).
– Here are the game recaps:
- Allen Americans recap: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-season-ends-with-6-3-loss-to-rapid-city/
- Rapid City Rush recap: https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2022/4/rush-beat-allen-6-3-in-game-5-to-close-out-series
– The ECHL Daily Report tells the story of Allen’s loss to Rapid City. I will let the stats do the talking with Allen’s rank among the 16 teams in the playoffs:
- #16 – Goal differential (-10)
- #15 – Power play percentage (5.3%)
- #15 – Goals scored per game (2.20)
- #15 – Goals allowed per game (4.20)
- #12 – Shots taken per game (29.40)
- #16 – Shots allowed per game (45.00)
– I would like to share a bunch of quotes from the 30 minutes I spent with the coaching staff after the the game but to be honest I have nothing. It was the quietest 30 minutes I have ever spent with Steve Martinson and the other coaches. After 25 years of coaching, Martinson still takes a loss, like this series, down to his core. Most of the time was spent doing what he knows best, breaking down video of the critical plays from the game.
– Rapid City was the only one of the four teams that had a chance to advance to the second round last night that got the job done. Newfoundland lost to Trois-Riviéres 3-2, Florida lost to Greenville 4-3 in double overtime and Cincinnati lost to Toledo 3-0. The ECHL is idle today but will pick up om Monday with five games on the schedule.
– Thomas Hodges was at the game last night basking in the glory of his new found fame after his NHL EBUG appearance. His various videos have had millions of views in the aggregate and it was nice to see him give the Allen Americans a plug in several of his interviews.
– The EIHL (Great Britain) championship just wrapped up and the championship game pitted Scott Conway and Sam Ruopp’s team (Belfast Giants) against Josh Lammon and Matt Register’s team (Cardiff Devils). They do it soccer style in Great Britain, a one game, winner take all championship. The winner was Cardiff by a score of 6-3 but that included two empty goals (one of them my Josh Lammon). Scott Conway scored a goal for Belfast.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about rookies in the playoffs. It makes me wonder what rookie Gavin Gould could have contributed in the playoffs had he not suffered a season ending injury at the end of January. Gould’s points per game average in the 23 games he played for Allen was 1.13 which is the highest on the team.
Three of the top five players in points in the Kelly Cup playoffs are rookies.#1 – Benjamin Tardif, Utah, 11 points (2G, 9A), 2.20 points per game#2 – Calder Brooks, Rapid City, 9 points (4G, 5A), 1.80 points per game#5 – Tyler Boland, Newfoundland, 8 points (5G, 3A), 1.60 points per gameA rookie leading the Kelly Cup playoffs in points is a rare occurrence. It has happened only twice in the last 15 seasons:2021 – Rookie Stephen Harper, 13 points (6G, 7A), tied with a teammate for the most points in the abbreviated Kelly Cup playoffs. For his role in leading the Fort Wayne Komets to the Kelly Cup, Harper was selected as the playoff MVP.2008 – Rookie David Desharnais, Cincinnati Cyclones, led the playoffs with 33 points (9G, 24A). The future NHL player had 11 more points than second place, another future NHL player, Adam Cracknell, who played for Las Vegas. Cincinnati beat Las Vegas in the finals 4-2 to win the Kelly Cup.