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Overtime Loss, Game Recap, Three Thoughts, Division Attendance and More

Thursday, April 6th
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Before I recap the game last night, I wanted to mention a couple of inaccuracies in the early version of the blog yesterday. While they were quickly corrected, I know many of you read the blog as soon as it gets posted so over 100 of you saw the incorrect information. I reported Chad Butcher was going on injured reserve, he was actually put on regular reserve and is listed as day to day. I reported goalie Oskar Autio, who signed an amateur tryout contract (ATO) Tuesday would be the backup goalie last night, but Chase Perry was the scheduled backup. My apologies to the players and coach Costello for a day I clearly ran out of talent when writing the blog at 5:00 am.

– I had a bad day yesterday morning and the Allen Americans had a bad day last night. It could have been worse as the Americans salvaged one point in a 6-5 overtime loss to Savannah. The one point kept Allen in second place in the division with 69 points followed closely by Utah, Kansas City, and Wichita who all have 68 points.

– Allen got off to a good start when Colby McAuley scored the only goal of the first period, but then the Americans struggled in the second period. Savannah scored 42 seconds into the second period to tie the score 1-1. Allen regained the lead a couple of minutes later (3:05) on Colton Hargrove’s league leading 18th power play goal. Allen’s 2-1 lead didn’t last long as the Ghost Pirates scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead. Allen managed a late period goal (18:02) to cut the lead to 4-3 at the end of the second period. After the dust settled, Savannah has won the second period outshooting the Americans 17-11 and outscoring Allen 4-2.

– It is never good trailing after the second period in any ECHL games and that is how it turned out for Allen. Going into the game last night these teams had a combined record when trailing after the second period of 10-47-2-0. Allen was fortunate to come away with a point.

– The third period started out looking like Allen was going to make a great comeback. Colby McAuley scored a power play goal to tie the score 4-4 followed by a Hank Crone goal to give Allen a 5-4 lead midway through the period. In the preview yesterday I talked about the player to watch on the Ghost Pirates was #10 Brent Pedersen. Allen had no answer for Pedersen who ended up with four goals and an assist. He scored the goal that tied the game 5-5 to send it overtime. His fourth goal of the night was the game winner 82 seconds into overtime. He single handedly sent the sparse Allen crowd of 1712 home disappointed.

– Allen’s overtime record fell to 5-2 with the loss last night to go along with a 1-1 shootout record. The Americans still have one of the best overtime records in the league. After going to overtime just six times in the Americans first 63 games, Allen has had three straight overtime games. With the win last night Savannah’s overtime record is now 4-9.

– Goal scorers for Allen were Colby McAuley (8,9) Colton Hargrove (38) Jack Combs (34) and Hank Crone (43). Hargrove had three assists and Crone had two assists.  Here are the video highlights of the Allen goals: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/4/savannah-ghost-pirates-vs-allen-americans—apr-5-2023-Pmd0sgnu

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans which includes this quote from coach Costello, “We let this one slip away. It was an important point, but we should have had two. We need to clean a few things up before Friday.” https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-americans-fall-in-ot/

– Some of my thoughts on the game last night. First, this team has to be tired. You can’t play shorthanded by two, three and even four players game after game and not expect it to wear down the players. Throw in three straight overtime games and the minutes some of these players are logging is less than optimum. You can see why it is hard to play consistent hockey. Throw in three more games this weekend in less than 48 hours including a bus trip to Tulsa and the team will be playing on fumes. Hopefully Allen will get a couple of players back for the weekend.

– My second thought has to do with trying to outscore bad team defense. Allen is one of the deadliest offense teams in the league as evidenced by the Americans having the top three in the ECHL in points. Allen is ranked #6 in the ECHL in average goals scored per game at 3.61. Idaho is #1 and the only team averaging over four goals per game at 4.07. However, if you look at the last 30+ games since the end of January, Allen is averaging 4.75 goals per game. The problem for the Americans is 40% of the time, 11 of 27 games in the last two months, Allen has allowed five or more goals.

– Third, the Allen power play was 2-2 last night and is now ranked #3 in the ECHL at 24.4% just behind #1 South Carolina (24.7%) and #2 Toledo (24.6%). The Americans 24.4% power play percentage is tied with the 2016-17 Allen team for the best power play percentage ever.  Allen’s power play will be a big help down the stretch and in the playoffs.

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Mountain Division points race could not get much closer as the regular season comes to a close. Here are the standings with games remaining in parenthesis:

  • 111 points – Idaho (5)
  • 69 points – Allen (6)
  • 68 points – Utah (5)
  • 68 points – Kansas City (5)
  • 68 points – Wichita (4)
  • 65 points – Rapid City (5)
  • 51 points – Tulsa (6)

– The playoff picture will get clarified some this weekend. Allen will get back one of its games in hand this weekend so an opportunity to put some distance on the teams right behind the Americans. Here are the weekend schedules. It will make a big difference if any team sweeps the weekend.

  • Allen: hosts Savannah Friday and Saturday, visits Tulsa on Sunday
  • Utah: hosts Idaho Friday and Saturday
  • Kansas City: visits Tulsa Friday and Saturday
  • Wichita: hosts Rapid City Thursday and Friday

– How do the Mountain Division teams rank among all ECHL teams in average attendance? Here is the list with ECHL rank in parenthesis:

  • 6871 – Tulsa (4th)
  • 5156 – Utah (9th)
  • 5134 – Idaho (10th)
  • 4316 – Wichita (13th)
  • 3567 – Rapid City (19th)
  • 3432 – Allen (23rd)
  • 3273 – Kansas City (24th)

– There are just two games on the ECHL schedule tonight, but one of them has great interest to Allen. Rapid City is at Wichita in a game critical for both terms. If Wichita wins the Thunder will move from fifth place to second place in the standings (by points). It is a bit deceiving since Wichita will have just three games remaining after tonight, compared to Allen’s six remaining games.  Here is the ECHL Today with previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/4/echl-today-april-6

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about top teams in goals scored and allowed. Allen meets the criteria of 3.50 goals scored with its 3.61 average. The Americans are far short of the goals allowed criteria of less than 3.00 goals allowed. Allen allows an average of 3.74 goals per game.

Just six ECHL teams average more than 3.50 goals per game and allow fewer than 3.00 goals per game. All are Kelly Cup contenders:Idaho: 4.07-2.10Cincinnati: 3.75-2.91South Carolina: 3.67-2.70Maine: 3.61-2.90Reading: 3.58-2.93Toledo: 3.53-2.44– Idaho is #1 in average goals scored and allowed.– All six teams on the list are #1 or #2 in points in its division except Maine (#3).

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