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Allen Wins 8-5, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, Rubber Match Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, ECHL Hottest Teams

Saturday, February 25th
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There were 14 games in the ECHL last night, eight of them ended with a combined total of five or fewer goals. However, if you like offense, Allen vs Utah was the game to watch totaling 13 goals. Allen beat Utah 8-5 last night before a big crowd of 6941 at the Maverik Center. Huge goal totals have become a pattern for the Americans. Allen has been involved in games with 14 combined goals once this season and 13 goals twice. All three high scoring games have been in the last seven games. It is probably not the formula for long term success, but it is entertaining and fun to watch. Any road win is great and last night the win vaulted Allen into third place in the Mountain Division. There is little time to savior the victory when you consider the point difference from third place (Allen) and sixth place (Rapid City) is a mere four points. Allen’s goal is to win every series and with the Utah series tied 1-1 the rubber match tonight will be critical.

– It wasn’t a good start for Allen last night as Utah scored the first goal of the game at the 5:12 mark of the first period. As the period wound down with Utah leading 1-0 all I could think about was the Grizzlies haven’t lost a game all season when leading after the first period. The problem was solved when Grant Hebert scored with 50 seconds remaining in the first period, so the game was tied going into the first intermission.

– There was an explosion of offense in the second period. A total of six goals were scored, four by Allen, which is one short of the most second period goals scored in the league this season. Hank Crone and Aidan Brown scored early to give Allen a 3-1 lead, but Utah responded to cut the score to 3-2. Two more goals by Allen (Colton Saucerman &Colton Hargrove) gave Allen what seemed like a comfortable lead (5-2), but the Grizzlies scored with 31 seconds remaining in the period to cut Allen’s lead to 5-3 at the second intermission.

– Even though stats show teams leading after the second period win 85% of the time, the Americans two goal lead didn’t feel safe. There was a brief sigh of relief when Liam Finlay scored a shorthanded goal early in the third period to reestablish Allen’s three goal lead (6-3). Once again Utah fought back with two unanswered goals to cut the score to 6-5 with over nine minutes remaining in the game. Allen finally put the game away on Hank Crone’s second goal of the game and Stefan Fournier’s first as an Allen American in his first game. The final score was 8-5.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Grant Hebert (6), Hank Crone (29,30), Aidan Brown (12), Colton Saucerman (4), Colton Hargrove (29), Liam Finlay (26),  Stefan Fournier (8). Here are the video highlights: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/2/allen-americans-vs-utah-grizzlies—feb-24-2023-s63p3ZEX

– Game recaps from both teams:

Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-outscore-utah-8-5/

Utah Grizzlies: https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/americans-defeat-grizz-8-5-on-grizz-fight-cancer-friday-night

CHAD COSTELLO COACH’S COMMENTS

“The game tonight was another one of those games when we had everyone on the team contributing.”

“Perry played well for us. He had some bad puck luck but battled hard for the win.”

“Our third line played great. We have three lines that are capable of scoring every time down the ice.”

“To be successful we need to continue to improve and play at a high level consistently.”

“Everyone got to see some highly skilled goals from us tonight. They were a lot of fun to watch.”

– Some thoughts and stats from the win:

  • As usual the “Four Sure Gang” all had points: Hargrove (1G, 3A), Crone (2G, 1A), Combs (0G, 2A) and Finlay (1G, 0A).
  • Allen was scary good offensively and the addition of Stefan Fournier to the third line with Hebert and Robidoux will make that group a scoring threat every game. The line accounted for two goals (Hebert & Fournier) and four assists. A third line that can score and is hard to play against will be invaluable down the stretch.
  • Aidan Brown returned to the lineup for the first time since January 8th and made is presence known immediately, scoring an unassisted breakaway goal.
  • Hank Crone’s two goals made him the first ECHL player to reach the 30-goal mark.
  • Crone’s three points gives him a total of 70 which leads the ECHL in scoring by two points over teammate Jack Combs.
  • Crone has an 11-point lead in the rookie scoring race (70 vs 59)
  • Colton Hargrove’s goal last night extends his goal per game scoring average to 25 goals in the last 25 games.
  • Jack Combs’ two assists last night extended his points streak to 16 games. It is the longest points streak in the ECHL this season with the exception of his teammate Colton Hargrove’s 23 game point streak.
  • Crone extended his road point streak to 14 games, the longest in the ECHL this season.
  • Hargrove extended his road point streak to 13 games, the second longest in the ECHL this season.
  • Liam Finlay had the game winning goal last night and now is tied for the ECHL lead with seven. The odd stat is Finlay has his seven game winning goals in Allen’s last 12 wins.
  • The “Four Sure Gang” has scored the game winning goal in 12 of Allen’s last 14 wins (86%). For the entire season the group has scored the GWG in 18 of 24 wins (75%).

– The combined 13 goals last night were seven more goals than Allen and Utah have averaged in the previous seven games this season. It is not the only stat that was unusual. In the first seven games Allen and Utah played this season the average combined penalties per game were 18 and the average penalty minutes were 50. Last night was a season low combined seven penalties and 14 penalty minutes.

– Both teams scored one power play last night. Allen was 1-2 and Utah was 1-4. The Americans penalty kill unit added a shorthanded goal to give Allen the special teams edge.

– The rubber game of the series tonight is obviously important for both teams with the standings so close you can go from third to fifth place or vice versa in one night. in the first two games of the series Utah won 5-3 on Wednesday and Allen won last night 8-5. The totals for the two games give Allen the edge ion goals (11-10) and shots (76-66). The big difference has been on the power play. In the first two games of the series Allen is 4-7 (57.1%) on the power play. Utah is 2-8 (25%) but also gave up a shorthanded goal.

– The referee tonight is the same as the first two games of the series, Trevor Wohlford. There were a combined seven penalties for 14 minutes last night. Wednesday Wohlford called 10 penalties for 22 minutes. The law of averages would say tonight will bring more penalties and penalty minutes than the first two games. Especially when you consider if the Grizzlies lose tonight, it will leave them with a record of 1-5-0-0 against Allen in the month of February at home.

– As always, the three keys of scoring first, outshooting Utah and winning the special teams battle will be important tonight. A reminder Allen is 16-6-1-0 (.717) when they score first and 8-19-0-0 (.296) when the Americans give up the first goal. When it comes to shots, Allen is 11-4-1-0 (.719) when it outshoots the opponent and 14-21-0-0 (.400) when the Americans get outshot.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

FORWARDS

  • 67 Crone-7 Hargrove-29 McAuley 
  • 21 Combs-17 Butcher-15 Finlay 
  • 44 Fournier-77 Hebert-32 Robidoux
  • 19 Bethune                   25 Brown

DEFENSEMEN

  • 4 Myllari-23 Saucerman 
  • 24 Skelly-49 Massicotte 
  • 22 Gally-3 Gagnon 

GOALIES

  • 31 Peressini 
  • 35 Perry (backup)

OTHER COMMENTS

– Belleville made a trade with the Toronto Marlies yesterday for goalie Dylan Ferguson. Allen fans will remember Ferguson when he played for Fort Wayne and led the Komet to the Kelly Cup in 2021. He played every minute of the playoffs with the exception of the third period of the second game in the second round against Allen.  Justin Kapelmaster played the third period when Fort Wayne came back from a 4-1 deficit to win the game in overtime.

– Ottawa and Belleville have been decimated by goalie injuries this season. Between the two rosters there are nine goalies. Belleville is last in the North Division and will likely miss the playoffs. It is possible Allen could get a goalie assigned later in the season.

– The ECHL trade deadline is quickly approaching. There can be no trades after March 16. What will definitely pick up is the signing of players just finishing their college or junior careers. This is not affected by the trade deadline.

–  Idaho continued its march to the best record in ECHL history with a 2-0 shutout over Maine last night. The Steelheads have points percentage of .814 compared to the all-time record of .806 set by the Louisiana IceGators in 2001-02.

– There will be a blog tomorrow but it will be a short one and not published until late afternoon. I am going crow hunting early in the morning to get ready for the crow I am going to eat when Allen makes the playoffs. I am going to get some extra crows in case Allen earns home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs by finishing second. In that case there will be a double helping of crow to eat.

DID YOU KNOW: The rich get richer! The top four teams in the ECHL (by points) also have the top four records over the last 10 games. A drive toward the Kelly Cup?#1 Idaho: 83 points, 7-1-1-1#2 Newfoundland: 75 points, 7-3-0-0#3 Cincinnati: 70 points, 8-1-0-1#4 Toledo: 68 points, 9-0-0-1Teams with six wins in the last 10 games with league rank and current points:#5 Jacksonville: 68 points, 6-3-1-0#8 Greenville: 65 points, 6-4-0-0#13 Orlando: 57 points, 6-3-1-0#14 Fort Wayne: 56 points, 6-4-0-0#17 Allen: 51 points, 6-4-0-0

The post Allen Wins 8-5, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, Rubber Match Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, ECHL Hottest Teams appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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