Goodbye Saturday night, big crowd, specialty jersey curse. The Police/Fire came to the rescue last night as the Allen Americans beat Florida 4-3. Wearing sharp looking Police/Fire specialty jerseys the Americans did a repeat of Friday night. Allen gave up the first goal early in the first period (2:52) but fought back to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Colton Saucerman finally got the monkey off his back, and he threw it to the ice emphatically when he scored his first goal since October 22 to tie the score 1-1. The second goal of the period was scored by Grant Hebert.
|Hank Crone and Colton Saucerman celebrate the game winner and the specialty jersey curse breaker!
– It was a tight checking first period even though Florida scored on its first shot of the game and Allen scored on its second. Shot totals at the midway point of the first period were 2-2. By the end of the period the Americans had the shot advantage (10-5) and a 2-1 lead.
– The tight checking continued in the second period. The teams combined for 23 shots, there were three power play opportunities (not successful) and the period produced just one goal. Florida scored the only goal of the second period to make the score 2-2 going into the third period.
– There were plenty of ups and downs in the third period. Allen took a 3-2 lead early (1:54) in the period, but less than three minutes later gave up their fifth shorthanded goal of the season and the game was tied again, 3-3. The game winner came on a 5-on-3 power play after Florida took a high sticking penalty followed by a delay of game penalty five seconds later. Hank Crone got the game winner for Allen. The Americans out shot Florida 17-4 in the third period and came away with a one goal victory (4-3) and take two of three games from the Everblades. Winning tight games like last night will be crucial down the stretch for the Americans.
– Allen has had a series of one-sided games recently. In its last 10 games the margin of victory, win or lose, has averaged 4.1 goals per game. Allen hasn’t been involved in a one goal game in almost a month. Prior to last night, Allen’s last six wins were by scores of 5-2, 7-3, 8-1, 6-2, 4-1 and 6-0. Coach Costello commented in the middle of these lopsided wins that the true test for the team will come in how they perform in tight one goal games that are more indicative of playoff hockey. It is only one game, but the win last night showed how Allen can play in those type of games.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Colton Saucerman (3), Grant Hebert (5), Liam Finlay (24) and Hank Crone (27). Here are the video highlights. As you watch the highlights note Saucerman immediately throwing the monkey off his back onto the ice, the importance of going to the net as Hebert did on the second goal, the puck battles won on the third goal and the great pass from Finlay to Crone on the game winner. https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/2/florida-everblades-vs-allen-americans—feb-18-2023-eC9SgM5x
– Here are the game recaps issued by both teams:
CHAD COSTELLO COACH’S COMMENTS
“It was good to take two of three at home against a strong Florida team. Everyone in the lineup contributed. I am happy for our group.”
“Our challenge for the week was to win the series against a good Florida team. They are a heavy, strong team with several returning players from their championship team last season. Our team showed a lot after the loss on Wednesday.”
“My quote of the week was let’s find out just how good we are. Can we compete with these good teams. It takes everyone on the roster pulling on the rope to beat good teams like Florida. I think we answered the question.”
‘It was a tight defensive game. When we win or lose big it is hard to see how we are going to play in tight games that we will see in the playoffs. We showed tonight with all of our offensive players they capable of winning the tight games.”
“We will take Sunday off and then head to Utah on Monday for another important series next week.”
– Special teams played a huge role in Allen’s win last night. To start with Allen stayed out of the penalty box unless they took someone with them. Allen had three infractions for a total of nine penalty minutes, but seven of the nine minutes were from a fight. The Americans limited Florida to one power play opportunity which they killed. Allen had six power plays in the game and scored two of its four goals on the power play, including the game winner by Hank Crone. There is a five-way tie for the most power play points in the ECHL (25 points). Crone and Combs are two of the five.
– Colton Hargrove’s 23 game point streak ended last night but it was a sight to see. It is the longest point streak in the ECHL in the last 15 years. His total for the streak was 37 points (23G, 14A). With Hargrove’s steak ended the mantle of the longest current point streak in the ECHL goes to his teammate, Jack Combs who has points in 14 straight games.
– There is not a lot of time for Allen to celebrate its wins over Florida. The team will leave for Utah tomorrow where they will take on the Grizzlies on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You can be assured Utah will be looking for revenge after Allen beat them 4-1, 6-2 and 8-1 just two weeks ago.
– The Allen win last night was great but just as great was the fact that Wichita, Kansas City and Rapid City all lost to strengthen the Americans position in the standings. Allen is now in fourth place but just one point from third place and seven points from second place, a realistic goal for Allen if it can win consistently. Here are the Mountain Division standings by points with points percentage in parenthesis:
- 79 points – Idaho (.806)
- 56 points – Wichita (.560)
- 50 points – Kansas City (.532)
- 49 points – Allen (.500)
- 45 points – Rapid City (.459)
- 44 points – Utah (.468)
- 42 points – Tulsa (.447)
– The “Four Sure Gang” aka the “A Team” is even more bunched at the top of the ECHL goal scoring list after the weekend.
- #1 – Jack Combs, 28 goals
- #2 – Colton Hargrove, 27 goals
- #2 – Hank Crone, 27 goals
- #5 – Liam Finlay, 24 goals
– There are eight games on the ECHL schedule today including the resumption of the Worcester at Norfolk game that was suspended after the first period last night with Norfolk leading 2-0. Both Zambonis suffered mechanical issues which cause the postponement. The game will resume this afternoon but will be closed to the public because there isn’t enough time to get support staff, security and safety personnel in place.
Utah is the only Mountain Division in action. The Grizzlies are in Orlando to take on the Solar Bears. Here is the ECHL Today with all of the previews. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/2/echl-today-feb-19
– The 13th Annual Police vs Fire game was no contest as the Police came out on top 7-0. Here is the game recap: https://allenamericans.com/media/allen-police-shutout-allen-fire-7-0/
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about players getting close to or reaching the suspension threshold for fighting majors. No Allen players are close to the 10 fights that would get a suspension. According to the hockey fights website Mikael Robidoux has five fights but Robi told me at practice he is at six. Either way he will have to be judicious when he drops the gloves with 23 games remaining in the season.
According to hockeyfights.com five ECHL players have seven or more fights. Nachbaur has been suspended for one game after getting his 10th fighting major last night against Savannah.10 – Justin Nachbaur, Greenville8 – Nico Blachman, Norfolk8 – Austin Crossley, Florida7 – Adrien Buraldo, Toledo7 – Darian Skeoch, SavannahA reminder of ECHL Rule 23.7:When players reach 10 fighting majors, they are suspended for one game. Each subsequent fighting major will be a one game suspension. At 14 fighting majors the suspensions become 2 games.If the opposing player is assessed an instigator penalty, the fight doesn’t count.