It was quite the night for the 2022 Allen Americans home opener. A new coach, a new team, a huge crowd, a goalie duel, great defense, a fight, a penalty shot and an overtime win.
– The Allen Americans defeated the Wichita Thunder 2-1 in overtime last night before a crowd of 5529 at the CUTX Event Center. The attendance was the second largest home opener in franchise history, only exceeded by the first game ever at the brand-new Allen Event Center on November 7, 2009, which drew a sellout crowd of 5808.
– If you are an avid hockey fan it is hard not to like a game like last night. It had a little bit of everything. Here is a recap of the game in bullet point form:
- Allen scored first, the only goal of the first period. Hank Crone scored his second goal of the season assisted by Zach Pochiro and Colton Hargrove.
- Wichita tied the score on a penalty shot at 19:01 of the second period to tie the score 1-1.
- There was no scoring in the third period.
- Jack Combs, the veteran with the best career points per game average in the league (minimum 100 games played), scored the game winner just 30 seconds into the overtime period on a great pass by Kris Myllari.
- Both goalies, Luke Peressini (Allen) and Evan Buitenhuis (Wichita) were outstanding in goal making numerous high-quality saves.
- Nico Blachman, playing his first game for the Americans, had his first fight and acquitted himself very well.
- Both teams had a 100% penalty kill percentage, Allen killing five penalties, Wichita three.
- Allen outshot Wichita in every period and 36-22 for the game. The Americans are ranked #8 in shots allowed this season (26.7) after finishing #26 last season (35.3)
– Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder: https://www.wichitathunder.com/en/news/liwiski-tallies-first-pro-goal-in-overtime-loss-at-allen
– Here is a link to all of the ECHL video highlights including Allen vs Wichita last night: https://www.echl.com/en/tag?id=5bb763bdd3bc0f20ed973ef0&name=ECHL%20Video
– Post game comments from Chad Costello, Jack Combs and Nico Blachman who met with season ticket holders after the game:
- “That was an exciting game, hopefully they are all not like that or I am going to age pretty quick”…Chad Costello
- “I am really excited to be head coach of this team, the fans are super important to me, Allen is important to me and it is a blessing just to be here. I love our team and hope you do too. It is an awesome group of guys and a group of great young men.”…..Chad Costello
- “Thank you for having me in Allen, I am extremely grateful to be here and be part of this first-class organization. I am glad we got a win for you tonight.”…..Nico Blachman
- “On my fight he cross-checked me and I cross-checked him, so I asked him to go, and he said yes. Always good to create some energy on opening night at home.”…..Nico Blachman
- “That was fun! Thanks for all of the support with a sellout crowd in our first game. I thought we could have had a couple of more goals, but we kept sticking with it and got the win in the end, so I’m pretty pumped and hope it is a great year. We are super excited.”…..Jack Combs
- “On the OT goal they turned the puck over at the blue line and I saw Myllari streaking down the other wing, and I gave it to him and I tried to skate as fast as I possibly could, though it probably didn’t look like it. Mayllari gave me a great pass and I was fortunate to slip it in there. It was a huge win, and we are pumped to win for you guys.”…..Jack Combs
- “The game is so fast now; I think we have a good mix of players that think fast and players that skate fast. If you watch the NHL, sometimes the games don’t look as crazy as ours because their brains are working at such a fast pace. They know where to be before a player at a lower level. Foot speed and brain speed is very important, and we have a good mix.”…..Chad Costello
- “We talk about physicality all of the time. As a group I think we are very skilled, but we want to be the stiffer hockey team most nights. Every game so far we have led in hits. The last game in Wichita we were over double in hits. We are a much better team when we hit.”…..Chad Costello
– If all the players reported as expected this morning, with nothing more than bumps and bruises, the Allen lineup will be the same this afternoon (2:05 pm) as it was last night, with the exception that Logan Flodell will get the start in goal.
– The referee for the game this afternoon will be the same as last night, #22 Sam Heidemann.
DID YOU KNOW: Some stingy defenses and great goalie play in the 12 ECHL games last night:4 shutouts: Johnson FLA, Kupsky IDH, Cormier KAL, Starrett, KC4 teams allowed just one goal: NFL, MNE, IND, ALN3 winning teams scored just 2 goals: FLA, KAL, ALNScores of the 12 games:Kalamazoo beat Toledo 2-0Florida beat Jacksonville 2-0Kansas City beat Rapid City 3-0Idaho beat Utah 4-0Allen beat Wichita 2-1 (OT)Newfoundland beat Trois Rivieres 3-1Indy beat Reading 3-1Maine beat Norfolk 6-1Worcester beat Adirondack 4-2Cincinnati beat Iowa 5-2Greenville beat South Carolina 9-3Savannah beat Fort Wayne 6-5 (OT)You add it all up and the 12 losing teams last night scored a total of just 16 goals, for an average of 1.33 goals per losing team.