Colton Hargrove’s late goal, his second of the night and ninth in the last seven games, propelled Allen to victory last night in Wichita as the Americans beat the Thunder 4-3 before a crowd of 6316 at INTRUST Bank Arena.
– The Americans met all three keys to the game. Allen scored first (Hank Crone), outshot Wichita in all three periods, 35-25 for the game and won the special teams battle. The Americans were 1-4 on the power play, Wichita was 0-5.
– Allen took the lead at the 5:05 mark of the first period on Hank Crone’s 17th goal of the season and doubled the lead a couple minutes later to 2-0 on Hargrove’s first goal of the game. The 2-0 lead didn’t last long as Wichita responded 29 seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1 and scored a second goal with four minutes remaining in the period. Blowing a 2-0 lead in the first period on the road is typically not a good sign, but not the case last night.
– After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period the Americans never trailed in the game. After Wichita tied the game 2-2 the Americans responded with a goal 20 seconds into the second period when Hank Crone scored his second goal of the game. Once again Wichita tied the score (3-3) and that is how the second period ended. Neither team was able to score in the third period until Hargrove skated around the back of the net and beat the goalie at the left post to score the game winner with 86 seconds remaining in the game. Goalie Chase Perry, starting his first game for Allen since arriving on Wednesday, had to make a couple of great saves after Wichita pulled its goalie to preserve the victory.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Colton Hargrove (12, 13) and Hank Crone (17, 18). Colton Saucerman assisted on three of the four goals and Zach Pochiro assisted on both Hargrove goals. Here are the video highlights with all of the goals and some great saves by both goalies: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/1/allen-americans-vs-wichita-thunder—jan-13-2023-uhrHrUZv
– Here are the game recaps from both teams with more details:
– Here are the quotes from the Americans recap press release plus a few I got from coach Costello when I touched base after the game.
“We have to keep it going! We know how good we can be when we play a full 60-minute game. We tend to fall asleep at the wheel every now and then when we get a lead, so if we can limit that and stay consistent with our effort then we will be a very hard team to beat”……Colton Hargrove
“I thought we played a complete road game tonight, and we outplayed them from the start. Our penalty kill was great. This is a tough building to play in but we stepped up our game tonight and got it done”…..Hank Crone
“A huge road win by the guys tonight. I thought the first period was one of our best of the season. It was great to see Chase Perry win in his first game. Big game tomorrow for our team”…..Chad Costello
“We came out very sharp tonight. I feel bad breaks let them back into the game after we took the 2-0 lead in the first period”…..Chad Costello
“We had lots of players contributing to the win tonight. It was nice having Finlay back in the lineup. Perry did a nice job in goal and made some big saves at the end after they pulled the goalie”…..Chad Costello
“The game tomorrow is a big one for our team as we have to keep building and stacking up wins”…..Chad Costello
“Luke Peressini will get the start in goal tomorrow, otherwise our lineup will be the same”…..Chad Costello
– Coach Costello talked about how important the rematch tonight with Wichita is for the Americans. When you consider Allen has not won more than two games in a row all season and desperately wants to move up in the standings, getting a third straight win tonight would be a big step in showing improvement. The Americans have won two games in a row just four time all season with two of them coming in the last 10 days. Can Allen get over the hump tonight? Here is what happened the prior three times Allen won two straight games:
Allen won back to back games against Wichita (October 22, 29) before losing to Wichita 2-1 at home on October 30.
After winning two straight (at home against Utah and on the road against Cincinnati) on November 12 and 16 the Americans lost on November 18 in Cincinnati 4-1.
Prior to the win last night, the Americans last two game win streak was January 3 and 6 in Kansas City. The Americans had a chance to make it three straight in Tulsa on January 7 but lost 3-2.
With a win against Tulsa on Wednesday and Wichita last night, the Americans will have a fourth chance to make it a three-game win streak when they take on the Thunder tonight.
– If Allen can match its performance of last night with a good start, outshooting Wichita and winning the special teams battle they will have an excellent chance of winning tonight.
– Had a couple of roster related questions lately. One was about goalie Logan Flodell. Because he is on an AHL contract the official transaction shows him being recalled by Belleville and assigned to Norfolk. However, Allen is involved because it holds Flodell’s ECHL rights. How these deals typically happen when an AHL contracted players is with an ECHL team has a few steps. First, the ECHL team talks to their affiliate to get agreement to move the player. Next the ECHL team finds another ECHL team interested in the player and comes to agreement on trading the player’s ECHL rights. This could be for a player, a player to be named later or cash. Once the two ECHL teams come to agreement the player is recalled to his AHL contracted team and reassigned to the new ECHL team. In Flodell’s case, Chad Costello traded his ECHL rights to Norfolk for future considerations. The other question I have received has to do with fans hearing coach Costello and/or Tommy Daniels hinting about some other roster change. My reporting is that will indeed happen with an announcement next week. Stay tuned!
– With one more game for Allen to play this week (tonight), Colton Hargrove has to be in contention for ECHL Player of the Week. In the Americans two games this week Colton has five points (3G, 2A) and back-to-back game winning goals. Since New Year’s Eve, Hargrove has scored a goal in all seven games except one. He has nine goals in those seven games.
– Last night Hank Crone had two points and Jack Combs had one as they continue to lead Allen in scoring and are in the top five in the ECHL. They are two of six ECHL players with 40+ points. Crone’s 44 points, 18 goals and 26 assists are all ranked #5 in the ECHL. Combs has 40 points ranked #6, 19 goals ranked #3 and 21 assists ranked #17. Crone is #2 in rookie points, goals and assists. Crone is on pace to finish the season with 96 points and Combs is on pace to finish with 87 points. Last season the ECHL scoring champion had 82 points.
– In the Mountain Division last night in addition to Allen’s 4-3 win over Wichita, Rapid City beat Tulsa 3-1, Utah beat Idaho 5-3 and Kansas City beat Iowa 4-2. The same teams will play again tonight. If you look at points, Allen, Tulsa and Utah are all tied with 27, but the Americans have played two more games than Tulsa and one more than Utah. Here are the division standings by points percentage with games remaining in parenthesis:
- .833 – Idaho (39)
- .614 – Wichita (37)
- .548 – Kansas City (42)
- .514 – Rapid City (37)
- .435 – Tulsa (42)
- .422 – Utah (40)
- .409 – Allen (39)
– With the win last night Allen is above .500 over its last 10 games with record of 6-4-0-0. It is a really good record when you consider only three ECHL teams have won more than six of its last 10 games. Since Allen ended its seven-game losing streak (December 9) the team’s record is 8-7-0-0 which is a points percentage of .533. Clearly a team improving, not where they need to be but moving in the right direction.
– Idaho has been the best team in the league but the best division in the ECHL is the South Division. The top team (South Carolina) has the #2 points percentage in the league (.767). Teams in second through fifth place have points percentages between .614 and .657. The South Division has five teams above .600 compared to the Mountain and Central with just two and the North with three. It won’t help in the playoffs since each division gets one team to the semi-finals.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about teams with the best and worst road records. Allen is one of a handful of ECHL teams with a better road record than home record. The Americans road record is 8-11-0-0 (.421) compared to a home record of 5-8-1-0 (.393).
Winning on the road is key to success. Here are the four best and worst ECHL road teams (points percentage and record):
BEST.853 (14-2-0-1) Idaho.781 (12-3-1-0) Maine.733 (9-2-3-1) Cincinnati.643 (13-7-1-0) IndyWORST.111 (1-15-0-2) Norfolk.158 (0-13-6-0) Iowa*.286 (3-9-2-0) Adirondack.286 (4-10-0-0) Kansas City*Iowa’s 19 straight road losses is the 3rd longest single season road winless streak all time.FYI, the home record for Idaho (.813), Maine (.469) and Cincinnati (.688) is worse than their road record.