The Allen Americans polished off a perfect weekend with a 7-5 win over the Rapid City Rush before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 3033 at the CUTX Event Center. It certainly wasn’t a perfect game as the inconsistency that has plagued the team all season reared its ugly head again. However, the resiliency this team has shown time and time again since the first of the year delivered another victory.
– The score by period tells you all you need to know how the game played out. Allen won the first period 3-1, Rapid City won the second period 3-0 and Allen won the third period 4-1. The Americans got off to a great start with back-to-back power play goals by Colton Hargrove at the 1:29 and 4:32 mark of the first period. It was the first time in the last nine games Allen score the first goal of the game. When Hank Crone extended Allen’s lead to 3-0 at the 12:41 mark of the first period it looked like the game was going to be a blowout. In just over half of the first period the Americans had outshot the Rush 14-6 and took a 3-0 lead.
– Coach Costello describes how the team goes from its “A” game to its “C” game and that inconsistency took over at the end of the first period and into the second. After the Americans took the 3-0 lead (12:41) they had one shot the rest of the period. Rapid City started to take over the play and cut the score to 3-1 by the first intermission.
– The second period was a disaster for Allen. The Americans have been coming from behind in all of their recent wins with second period comebacks. Yesterday was just the opposite. Allen had a comfortable 3-1 lead and let Rapid City comeback and it happened quickly. Three unanswered goals in the first six minutes of the second period and Allen’s 3-0 early lead had turned into a 4-3 deficit which the Rush took into the second intermission. Winning games when trailing after the second period is rare in the ECHL. Allen’s record before last night when trailing after the second period was 3-22-0-0. Rapid City’s record before last night when leading after the second period was 17-1-1-0.
– What makes the Allen team so special is an offense that is so potent the team never feels they can’t comeback. It is the reason the team has a record of 19-8-0-0 (.704) since January 1st. It took 85 seconds into the third period for Allen to tie the score 4-4 on a Liam Finley goal and another three minutes to take the lead on Hank Crone’s second goal of the game. Rapid City came back again on an offensive zone turnover to tie the score 5-5. The game winner was scored by recently acquired Stefan Fournier off a scrum in front of the net. The referee reviewed the play for minutes before ruling it was a good goal. Mikael Robidoux scored an empty net goal to make the final score 7-5.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Colton Hargrove (31,32), Hank Crone (35,36), Liam Finlay (27), Stefan Fournier (9) and Mikael Robidoux (7). Jack Combs had three assists. Grant Hebert, Hargrove and Crone had two. Here are the video highlights with the Allen goals: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/3/rapid-city-rush-vs-allen-americans—mar-5-2023-kEzrnjwL
– Here is the game recap from the Rapid City Rush covering all 12 goals: https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2023/3/rush-drop-wild-one-in-allen-7-5
– The injury report from the game won’t be known until today but Chad Butcher left the game and didn’t return, and Aidan Brown was hit up high late in the game and was slow getting back to the bench. There wasn’t a penalty called on either play but that doesn’t prevent the league from reviewing them.
– Colby McAuley was given a five-minute major penalty in the second period for cross-checking. Anytime you get a five-minute major for cross-checking it comes with an automatic game misconduct. There is no specific suspension that comes with these penalties, but it will be reviewed and could lead to a suspension at the “discretion of the Commissioner.”
– After the game was over there was a scrum and Rapid City’s Keegan Iverson was given a grade III physical abuse of official penalty. If that sticks it comes with a minimum three game suspension.
– Allen has averaged over five goals per game over the last 17 games which is a testament to just how much offensive firepower there is on this team. On the flip side Allen is allowing too many goals if they expect to make the playoffs and have success. In the last 10 games the Americans have allowed five or more goals six times including eight goals twice. The top seven teams in the league (by points) have goals against averages that range from 2.15 to 2.95 per game. Allen is ranked #22 giving up an average of 3.70 goals per game. In the last 10 games that average is 4.7 goals per game.
– Special teams continue to play a vital role in Allen’s success. In the two wins over Rapid City the power play percentage was 50% (3-6) and the penalty kill percentage was 100% (0-8). The Allen season long power play percentage is up to 24.4% (ranked #2) and the penalty kill percentage is now at 81.9% (ranked #11).
– ECHL Player of the Week honors typically go to players that have played three or even four games. Allen played only two games this week so it will be tough for Player of the Week, but no player had a better two games this week than Hank Crone’s seven points (5G, 2A) and Colton Hargrove’s seven points (2G, 5A). Two players averaging 3.5 points per game for the week is very impressive.
– Colton Hargrove’s two goals last night get him back on his goal per game pace. Hargrove has 28 goals in the last 28 games dating back to December 31.
– Next up for the Americans is a visit to Idaho where they will take on the league leading Steelheads on Friday and Saturday. Idaho’s home record this season is 23-3-0-0 so it will be a big challenge for Allen. With Jared Bethune gone and Justin Young out injured and more injuries possible, coach Costello will be looking for players to add this week. Maybe Belleville can help out, but I would expect Costello will be casting a wide net to add to the roster before the weekend.
– The Mountain Division winners yesterday were Allen, Idaho and Utah. Tulsa, Kansas City Rapid City and Wichita lost. Kansas City lost to Idaho in overtime so did earn one point. When the dust settled after the games last night Allen was in third place just two points behind Kansas City. Here are the current standings by points percentage with points in parenthesis:
- .809 – Idaho (89 points)
- .536 – Kansas City (59 points)
- .528 – Allen (57 points)
- .509 – Wichita (57 points)
- .491 – Utah (53 points)
- .454 – Rapid City (49 points)
- .426 – Tulsa (46 points)
– The two hottest teams in the ECHL right now come from the Central Division. Toledo is on a 15-game point streak (14-0-0-1) and Cincinnati is on a 12-game streak (10-0-1-1). FYI, Allen has the longest streak in the Mountain Division (4-0-0-0).
– Hank Crone’s two goals last night give him 36 for the season with 18 games remaining. Hank is now #3 on the Allen Americans all-time list of goals in a season. He only has two of his coaches left to pass. Next up is Chad Costello (41 goals) and then Gary Steffes (44 goals). They both hit the 40-goal mark in 2014-15, Allen’s first year in the ECHL.
DID YOU KNOW: Another list full of Allen Americans players:2022-23 ECHL Player StreaksCURRENT STREAKSGoals: 8 games – Hank Crone, AllenAssists: 8 games – Jack Combs, AllenPoints: 19 games – Jack Combs, AllenPIMS: 7 games – Lukas Craggs, ToledoSEASON STREAKSGoals: 8 games – Hank Crone, AllenAssists: 10 games – Josh Winquist, Fort WaynePoints: 23 games – Colton Hargrove, AllenPIMS: 11 games – Nico Blachman, Savannah