It was the kind of game fans have come to expect when Allen plays Wichita, one of the biggest rivalries in the ECHL. A penalty filled game (71 combined minutes) that included six fighting majors, a game misconduct penalty and a match penalty. When the dust settled Wichita had stopped Allen’s three game win streak, beating the Americans 3-1 in front of 6412 fans at INTRUST Bank Arena.
– Allen came back from a two-goal deficit last week in Wichita to beat the Thunder 3-2, but that is not the formula for success against the second-best team in the division. Last night the Americans gave up the first and only goal of the opening period. Statistically that reduced Allen’s chance of winning the game to less than 20%.
– The Americans tied the score early in the second period when Colton Hargrove scored his 14th goal of the season and his 10th goal in his last nine games. It was a power play goal assisted by Hank Crone and Liam Finlay. Wichita scored late in the second period to take a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
– The third period magic that brought Allen victories twice last week in Wichita did not happen last night. Allen spent most of the period killing penalties. Zach Pochiro started off with a fighting major and match penalty for an illegal check to the head. Allen’s penalty kill was able to kill off the 5-minute penalty. Two more minor penalties led to a brief (29 seconds) 5-on-3 power play for Wichita which Allen killed, but the penalties finally caught up with the Americans as the Thunder scored an insurance goal to make the score 3-1. Allen pulled goalie Chase Perry and along with a Wichita penalty the Americans had the final 1:48 of the game on a 6-on-4 power play but could not score.
– Both teams had a player kicked out of the game, both killed off 5-minute major penalties, both scored one power play goal and the shot totals were close (38-35). The difference in the game was Allen’s inability to score 5-on-5, granted there was not a lot of even strength time in the game with all of the penalties. The Americans had some good even strength chances but could not convert. It is only the second time since the end of November the Americans have scored only one goal in a game.
– Here are the video highlights with all of the goals and the fights. The highlights also include the many grade A opportunities by both teams where goalies made great saves. These are highlights that the home team is responsible for posting to the ECHL website. While Wichita included the hit that resulted in Zach Pochiro getting a match penalty, they conveniently omitted the hit on Hank Crone that resulted in Michal Stinil getting a game misconduct penalty for elbowing. I would expect both players will get suspended a game or two for those hits: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/1/allen-americans-vs-wichita-thunder—jan-20-2023-x1jaUMkf
– Here are the game recaps from both teams:
– When I touched base with coach Costello this morning, he noted how all of the penalties, especially in the third period, made coming back difficult. He hadn’t heard yet on the suspensions. There were some injuries that will impact availability on Sunday. His last comment to me was, “We played hard, just not smart. We have to move forward to a big game in Kansas City Sunday afternoon.”
– The Americans traveled to Kansas City (200 miles) after the game last night and will have a rare Saturday off before playing the Mavericks on Sunday afternoon. While Allen rests today, Kansas City has to travel to Wichita to play the Thunder tonight. Hopefully the American can use that to their benefit. When the roles were reversed recently, and Kansas City was in Allen resting while Allen was playing in Tulsa the Mavericks spanked the Americans 8-1 on Sunday afternoon. A chance for Allen to return the favor on Sunday.
– With injuries and the likely suspension to Pochiro the Americans might be very short players in Kansas City. Remember, suspended players must remain on the active roster so their salary counts against the salary cap. The Americans played short one skater last night (16). If Pochiro is suspended and a player or two can’t play because of injuries the Americans could be down to 13 skaters.
– The Mountain Division winners last night were Idaho, Wichita and Utah and the losers were Allen, Tulsa and Rapid City. Kansas City was idle. Tonight, Kansas City is at Wichita, Utah is at Tulsa and Idaho is at Rapid City and Allen is idle. Because games played varies from 38 (Wichita & Rapid City) to 33 (Kansas City), here are the standings by points percentage with points in parenthesis:
- .819 – Idaho (59 points)
- .618 – Wichita (47 points)
- .561 – Kansas City (37 points)
- .513 – Rapid City (39 points)
- .443 – Utah (31 points)
- .426 – Tulsa (29 points)
- .414 – Allen (29 points
– There are 12 games on the ECHL schedule tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/1/echl-today-jan-21
– The Worcester Railers is in a free fall after being the best team in the ECHL the first month of the season. Worcester started the season on a nine-game win streak and won 13 of its first 15 games. The Railers have now lost 16 of their last 19 games. Worcester is still in fourth place in the North Division with a fairly comfortable lead (.539 vs .417) for the last playoff spot, but they have to get it turned around soon.
DID YOU KNOW: Some miscellaneous observations:– Home teams were 5-6-0-0 last night.– Last night the winning teams outscored the losing teams 43-16.– Maine is in third place in the North Division but is the hottest team in the league going 9-0-0-1 in the last 10 games.– Idaho has scored the most goals (152) averaging 4.22 per game and allowed the fewest goals (73) averaging 2.03 per game. The Steelheads goal differential (goals for minus goals allowed) is +79. The next highest goal differential is +40 (Newfoundland).– Iowa is 0-13-7-0 on the road, the 2nd longest winless streak in the history of the ECHL.– Jacksonville is the ECHL’s best team for games that go beyond regulation time. The Icemen are 8-1 in overtimes and 1-0 in shootouts.– ECHL average attendance is 4391 per game, up 456 per game from the 3935 average in 2021-22.