It started out differently but ended up the same as the Allen Americans lost to the Idaho Steelheads last night by a score of 5-2 before a sellout crowd of 5082 at the Idaho Central Arena. Allen lost all three games of the series in Idaho by scores of 7-4, 5-1 and 5-2 which are the three highest goals allowed games all season.
– The game started out differently in that Allen scored the first goal of the game on a Hank Crone power play goal. Allen was 5-0-1-0 when scoring first, prior to last night’s loss. After the Americans took a 1-0 lead the same thing happened as happened in the first two games of the series. Idaho scored four unanswered goals and the game was essentially over. The Americans closed the gap to 4-2 early in the third period on a Liam Finlay power play goal, but Idaho extended the lead back to three goals a few minutes later to make the final score 5-2. Allen was outshot 33-12 in the first two periods and 39-20 for the game.
– Crone and Finlay scored their seventh goal last night and both have 17 points. They are now in a three-way tie with Jack Combs for the team lead in points (17). That puts the three of them tied for 15th in scoring in the ECHL. Crone and Finlay are tied for second in scoring among ECHL rookies.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-swept-by-idaho/
– Here are the video highlights with all of the goals and a save that will surely make the saves of the week in the ECHL: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2022/11/allen-americans-vs-idaho-steelheads—nov-26-2022-fwILrsbl
– Here is a recap of the three-game series sweep in Idaho:
- Allen’s point percentage went from .500 and a playoff position to .393 and last place in the Mountain Division:
- Allen was outscored 17-7
- Allen was outshot 121-82
- Of Allen’s seven goals scored, just two were even strength. Four were power play goals and one was a shorthanded goal.
– Allen returns home after a going 2-4-0-0 on its six-game road trip. The Americans don’t play again until Friday when they play three games in three days against Rapid City. Then it is back on the road for three games against Reading. It means six games in 10 days with a trip to Reading included. It is not going to get any easier for Allen.
– If you spend time talking to Chad Costello which I do most days, his focus is always on what can he do as a coach to get better. He never makes excuses and always believes he has a team good enough to play with any team in the league. If you watched the three games in Idaho, you noticed he made adjustments to the systems and line combination every game. Regardless of the obstacles he will keep grinding.
– Allen has not received much help from Ottawa, but that is primarily because Belleville has been decimated with injuries and illness. Here is the list from Belleville’s injury report yesterday:
- Jonathan Aspirot (D/LW): week-to-week
- Kyle Betts (C): week-to-week
- Cory Conacher (C/W): indefinite
- Philippe Daoust (C/LW): season ending
- Ridly Greig (C/LW): day-to-day
- Jayce Hawryluk (RW/C): week-to-week
- Roby Jarventie (LW): week-to-week
- Viktor Lodin (C/LW): illness
- Kristians Rubins (D): week-to-week
- Mads Sogaard (G): day-to-day
- Nikita Zaitsev (D): illness
– Belleville isn’t lending players to the ECHL, they are signing ECHL players to PTO contracts. They have signed forwards from Utah (Cutler) and Iowa (Boucher) in the last five days and of course Nick Albano was signed to a PTO on November 11 and has played in all eight games since reporting to Belleville. Don’t look for Albano to return to Allen anytime soon. Here is what Belleville coach, Troy Mann had to say about Albano after the the Senator’s 4-1 win over Laval last night.
“Nick has been very good for us. More of a puck mover style of defenseman. He is very very coachable; he comes in and meets with coach David Bell and he wants to get better. He works hard in practice, is a good teammate and I thought he was good tonight. Does he make mistakes, sure, every player makes mistakes, but we like what we see from him. He was good in training camp; he is an example of a player that made an impression in training camp and is getting an opportunity and a great opportunity. He will be here for the foreseeable future based on what is going on with our right shot defensemen.”
– When you consider Allen is -1 with Belleville, no players assigned to the Americans and one Allen player loaned to the Senators, it is difficult to compete with ECHL teams that have 5-10 assigned players. It is not an excuse but a reality that will only change if Belleville gets a lot healthier than they are today.
– Another complication for Allen is the long-term injuries to Spencer Asuchak, Stephan Baylis and Justin Young. Baylis hasn’t played a game all season and is nowhere near returning to the lineup. Ashchak’s return is months not weeks away. Young will return to the lineup the soonest and hopefully he will be back by the end of December. Mikael Robidoux will be eligible to return to the lineup Sunday (December 4) against Rapid City after completing his 14-game suspension.
– It may have flown a little under the radar, but coach Costello added two players from Norfolk this week that will have an impact. Joe Widmar was leading Norfolk in goals when he was acquired, and Aidan Brown was leading the Admirals in points. Widmar played 13 games in Norfolk and had nine points (5G, 4A). Brown played 14 games and had 12 points (5G, 7A). What coach Costello told me is he traded for Brown not for his scoring but because he is hard to play against and good on the forecheck. He brings a lot of grit and jam to his game in addition to his scoring potential.
– Here are the Mountain Division teams in order of their record over the last 10 games with points percentage in parenthesis:
- 8-1-0-1: Idaho (.844)
- 6-3-1-0: Wichita (.643)
- 6-4-0-0: Rapid City (.500)
- 5-4-1-0: Kansas City (.607)
- 5-5-0-0: Utah (.467)
- 3-3-4-0: Tulsa (.500)
- 3-6-1-0: Allen (.393)
– The bottom line is Allen will get better by continuing to improve, adding pieces to upgrade the roster, getting players currently out of the lineup back and getting players assigned from the affiliate. It might take a while for all of these to happen, but this team will be better going forward.
DID YOU KNOW: Four of the top five ECHL goalies in goals against average (GAA) this season are rookies:#2 – 1.74: Luke Cavallin, Newfoundland#3 – 1.97: Mark Sinclair, Cincinnati#4 – 2.02: Henrik Tikkanen, Worcester#5 – 2.09: Isaiah Saville, SavannahThe ECHL #1 goalie in GAA (1.15) and save percentage (.955) is 4th year professional Jake Kupsky, from Idaho. He has played in seven games, allowed a total of eight goals and has a league leading three shutouts.