The Allen Americans beat the Kansas City Mavericks last night 4-3 in a game that was not as close as the final score but still had plenty of drama. It was a critical game for the Americans after the Mavericks tied the series 2-2 on Friday. Historically, good things usually happen for whichever team wins game five of a best of seven hockey series. With a 3-2 series lead and two home games remaining you have to like Allen’s chances in advancing.
– It wasn’t a good start for Allen as Kansas City scored the first goal of the game early in the first period. Thus far in the Kelly Cup playoffs the team that scored first has won 75% of the games. As it turned out last night was the opposite of Friday night when Allen scored first, and Kansas City scored late in the first period. Last night Kansas City scored first but Allen tied the score late in the period on Kris Myllari’s second goal in as many nights.
– Allen blew the game open in the second period outscoring Kansas City 3-0 on goals by Eric Williams, Colton Hargrove and the eventual game winner by Liam Finlay. It was the kind of fast and furious offense Allen fans are used to from the regular season. The first two goals were scored 16 seconds apart. The big four factored in all three goals. The group’s second period numbers were five points (2G, 3A).
– Kansas City fought back with two goals in the third period to cut the score to 4-3. The Mavericks third goal was scored with 12 seconds remaining in the game after the Americans seemed more interested in scoring an empty net goal than running out the clock. Allen iced the puck three or four times trying to score into the empty net. The Mavericks used one of the faceoffs to score their final goal. It was a meaningless goal other than goalie Kevin Mandolese deserved better.
– The offensive contribution of the defensemen was also notable last night. Kris Myllari score Allen’s first goal of the game after doing the same on Friday. Eric Williams scored Allen’s second goal and Zachary Massicotte assisted on Finlay’s game winner.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Kris Myllari (2), Eric Willimas (1), Colon Hargrove (3) and Liam Finlay (1). Here are the video highlights: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/4/kansas-city-mavericks-vs-allen-americans—apr-29-2023-5y0Tt4jq
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/news/americans-take-game-5-lead-the-series-3-2/
– Kevin Mandolese had another great game for the Americans. Here are his playoff stats with his ECHL rank (some are tied):
- #1 Games played (5)
- #2 Shutouts (1)
- #2 Wins (3)
- #3 Minutes played (303)
- #5 GAA (1.98)
- #5 Saves (155)
- #5 Save percentage (.935)
CHAD COSTELLO COACH’S COMMENTS
“It is great to get that win and take a 3-2 lead in the series. It was once again a pretty evenly matched game.”
“We got four goals and opened up a three-goal lead which neither team has been able to do in this series. That was big for us.”
“It was another great game by Mando who made a couple of miracle saves late in the game.”
“We have some bumps and bruises which we will use tomorrow to heal up and hope to end the series Monday night.”
” I told the guys we need to recognize how we had success in the second period. We kept it simple, we skated, we competed, and we got to the net. It was very simple, we got the puck in, we didn’t make any trick plays.”
“The Hargrove goal was a very nice rush goal but for the most part we got the puck below the goal line and worked east to west high which allowed the defensemen to get the puck through with traffic in front.”
“We are a skilled team but, in the playoffs, we have to learn throwing the puck on net, getting the rebound and then making a skillful play in tight is still showing skills. We don’t have to skate the puck all the way up the ice and skate around everybody. A good example is the Finlay goal. We threw the puck at the net three or four times, we rimmed it around to Hargrove, he catches the puck off the boards on his backhand, has vision and hits Finlay in the high slot. They made a mistake by not covering Finlay and he showed poise and waited the goalie out and roofed it.”
“It is a big plus we are getting scoring from our defensemen in this series. It is typical with playoff hockey because you have to chip the puck in more and earn net front. The defensemen are getting way more shots. In the beginning of the year we didn’t get many goals from the defense. It is great to see Myllari pitching in and Williams and those guys getting shots through.
– After five playoff games Allen has scored a total of 11 goals. Seven players have goals. Here are the goal scorers:
- 3 goals – Colton Hargrove
- 2 goals – Kris Myllari
- 2 goals – Jack Combs
- 1 goal – Liam Finlay
- 1 goal – Stefan Fournier
- 1 goal – Chad Butcher
- 1 goal – Eric Williams
– Kansas City’s two late goals kept the streak alive of all five games in the series being one goal games:
- Game 1: 3-2 Allen
- Game 2: 3-2 Kansas City
- Game 3: 1-0 Allen
- Game 4: 2-1 Kansas City
- Game 5: 4-3 Allen
– Hats off to team President Jonny Mydra and the entire Allen sales and marketing team. There are a lot of obstacles in selling first round playoff tickets. Allen was unlucky in having to start the playoffs with three road games despite being the higher seed but were lucky in getting two weekend games for games four and five at home. The net result was two great crowds. Allen averaged 4667 for the games this weekend. Last season Allen averaged just 3287 per game in the playoffs (3 games}.
– I mentioned yesterday that Wichita coach Bruce Ramsay has been given a contract extension. I found out after I posted the blog that it was a two-year contract extension.
– Two teams (Toledo and Reading) have already advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The other six series are at the point of elimination games. There are two games today. Newfoundland leads Adirondack 3-1 and is at home. Cincinnati leads Fort Wayne 3-1, and the teams will play in Fort Wayne. Here are the previews from ECHL Today: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/4/echl-today-april-30
There is a big disparity in number of NHL/AHL contracted players on ECHL playoff rosters. Ranging from almost a full team to hardly any. Having a lot of contracted players doesn’t guarantee playoff success but it sure helps. Here are the NHL/AHL contracted players on ECHL playoff rosters (active & reserve). Does not include playoff eligible players still in the AHL.18 – Newfoundland10 – Reading*9 – Toledo*9 – Indy8 – Fort Wayne8 – Maine7 – South Carolina7 – Florida6 – Utah6 – Idaho6 – Greenville5 – Jacksonville5 – Kansas City4 – Adirondack2 – Cincinnati2 – Allen*Have already advanced to the second round of the playoffs.