The Allen Americans handed Kansas City their second regulation loss at home all season last night. The Americans beat the Mavericks 2-1 behind a great performance by goalie Luke Peressini who stopped 36 of 37 shots (.973 save percentage). The Mavericks lone goal was a power play goal at the 13:55 mark of the third period.
– The win was another step forward for the Americans as they try to move up the standings. Here are a few of the stats that show the progress the Americans have made recently. Still a very long way to go but the Americans are heading in the right direction:
- The back-to-back wins in Kansas City was the first time Allen has won two straight games since November 12 & 16.
- The back-to-back wins in Kansas City were the first time all season the Americans have won back-to-back road games.
- With the win last night Allen improved its record over the last month to 6-5-0-0, a points percentage of .545.
– One of the keys to the game was a good start. Mission accomplished as Allen scored the first goal of the game (Jack Combs) and only goal of the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Allen’s record when leading after the first period on the road is 4-1-0-0. Allen padded its lead scoring the only goal of the second period (Ryan Gagnon) to take a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Another good sign as the Allen record with a second period lead on the road is 5-1-0-0. Peressini kept Allen in the game in the second period when the Americans were outshot 16-4.
– Allen had two power play opportunities early in the third period but could not capitalize. Wichita had a power play opportunity later in the period and did capitalize to cut the score to 2-1. Allen had to fight through another penalty in the last minute of the game to preserve the win. The Thunder pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 power play for the final 53 seconds.
– Goal scorers for the Americans were Jack Combs (18) and Ryan Gagnon (4). Chad Butcher had a great pass on the Comb’s goal and Hank Crone did the same on the game winning goal by Gagnon. Here are the video highlights which I would label as mostly Kansas City highlights. The home team posts the highlights to the ECHL website. They left out the Combs goal, the Hargrove fight and many great saves by Peressini. https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/1/allen-americans-vs-kansas-city-mavericks—jan-6-2023-olRgazqU
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-win-tight-battle-in-kc-2-1/
– I had a chance to check in with coach Costello after the game:
- “I am really pleased with the effort from the guys tonight. We are learning how hard we need to compete to win.”
- “We had a lot of players contribute tonight and our team defense along with a great game in goal from Peressini led us to a win.”
- Grant Hebert ‘s equipment is lost, that is why he was not in the lineup tonight and won’t play in Tulsa.”
- “I am not sure what lineup changes there will be for the game in Tulsa other than in goal.”
- “Logan Flodell will get the start in goal.”
– The team headed for Tulsa right after the game where Allen will take on the rested Oilers, who did not play last night’ tonight. It is a scheduled 7:30 puck drop. Allen has played the Oilers three times this season, all in Tulsa. The Americans are 1-2 against the Oilers. The one victory was the last time the teams played (December 23) when the Americans won 5-2.
– Tulsa and Allen are close in the standings and close statistically. Allen averages 2.9 goals per games and allows 3.7. Tulsa averages 3.0 goals per game and allows 3.8. Allen has played better recently. In the last 11 games Allen is 6-5-0-0, Tulsa is 3-6-2-0.
– Tulsa has struggled on the power play at home with a percentage of 16.1% (10-62). On the road the Allen power play is 19.5% (15-77). Allen has struggled recently on the penalty kill. The lone goal Kansas City scored last night was a power play goal. It was the seventh straight game the Americans have allowed a power play goal. Special teams will be a key in the game tonight.
– From the game preview yesterday:
You often hear the saying in critical games like tonight the best players have to be the best players. Hank Crone has 11 points (4G, 7A) in the last seven games and had a goal and two assists on Tuesday, Jack Combs has 12 points (5G, 7A) in the last eight games and had two assists on Tuesday. Colton Hargrove had two goals and 11 shots on Tuesday and has points in seven of the last eight games including a shorthanded goal. If Allen is to win tonight these three players will play a key role.
All three came through last night. Combs scored the first goal while Crone and Hargrove assisted on the game winning goal by Ryan Gagnon. Hargrove led the team with five shots and also had a fight. Hopefully they can all keep their points streaks going tonight in Tulsa.
– Consistency has been an issue with Allen all season. Given the schedule where Allen has to travel to play a rested team in Tulsa tonight and travel again to play a rested team at home tomorrow, it will be hard to continue the two-game win streak. However, if the Americans find a way to win tonight in Tulsa and extend their win streak to three games for the first time all season it will be a big statement about this team.
-The Mountain Division standings are once again getting tighter with four teams having a points percentage below .500. Here are the current standings:
- .855 -Idaho
- .625 – Wichita
- .517 – Kansas City
- .485 – Rapid City
- .444 – Tulsa
- .400 – Utah
- .397 – Allen
– Jack Combs scored his 18th goal of the season last night and is one goal behind the ECHL leaders. As you can see below in the “Did You Know” section Jack leads the ECHL in the highest percentage of team goals. Jack has scored 18 of Allen’s 85 goals which is 21.2%. Hank Crone is also in the top 10 of players with the highest percentage of the team goals at 17.6%. Allen is the only team with two players in the top ten. Together, Combs and Crone have scored 39% of Allen’s goals.
– 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-7
– Chad Butcher played his first game for Allen on December 9. He has played in 11 games and has 11 assists. I don’t think it is a coincidence Allen started playing better with Butcher in the lineup. The Americans had lost seven straight when Butcher played his first game in Reading. He assisted on the game winning goal and has averaged an assist per game since. Allen is 6-5-0-0 since Chad joined the team. He also leads the team in plus/minus at +8. Butcher kind of flies under the radar, maybe because he has no goals, but he has been an assist machine for the Americans. After just 11 games he is #5 on the team in assists and just two assists from third place.
DID YOU KNOW: ECHL players with the highest percentage of their team’s goals this season:21.2% – Jack Combs, Allen20.0% – Eddie Matsushima, Tulsa19.3% – Patrick Grasso, Adirondack18.3% – Nikita Pavlychev, Greenville18.2% – *Carter Turnbull, South Carolina18.2% – *Max Newton, Reading17.7% – Eric Neiley, Atlanta17.6% – *Hank Crone, Allen17.6% – Jeremy McKenna, Kansas City17.6% – Brayden Watts, Wichita*Rookies
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