Allen extended its point streak to six games (5-0-1-0) last night with a 5-3 win over Savannah before a crowd of 3268 at the CUTX Event Center. Led by Hank Crone’s third hat trick of the season and another great performance by goalie Chase Perry, the Americans took a big step toward finishing second in the Mountain Division. Allen garnered five of six points in the series with Savannah. The weekend work is not complete as the Americans travel to Tulsa this morning for a 4:05 pm game against the Oilers this afternoon:
Allen used the same recipe last night as it did in its 6-2 win on Friday. Here are the ingredients:
- Score first: Hank Crone scored the first goal of the game.
- Take first period lead: A Kris Myllari goal and Hank Crone’s second goal gave Allen a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
- Take second period lead: Hank Crone’s third goal of the game gave him a hat trick before the game was half over. Allen took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
- Make the game interesting: Savannah cut the lead to 4-2 early in the third period before Kris Myllari’s second goal of the game reestablished Allen’s three goal lead.
- Stir in some special teams: Allen was 2-4 on the power play, Savannah was 0-4.
- Insert ATO goalie for first pro experience: This was a different ingredient, but Oskar Autio played the final 4:30 of the game, stopping five of six shots.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Hank Crone (46,47,48) and Kris Myllari (8,9). Hargrove, Combs and McAuley each had two assists. Here are the video highlights with all of the goals: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/4/savannah-ghost-pirates-vs-allen-americans—apr-8-2023-SzpfHhab
– Special teams were a big part of Allen’s success against Savannah. The Americans had two power play goals in all three games for a total of 6-13 (46.2%). The penalty kill did not allow a goal in the series (0-7). Allen now has the #1 power play percentage in the ECHL (24.8%) and the #7 penalty kill (82.3%).
– Allen’s six game point streak is tied for the longest in the ECHL right now. Allen is playing good hockey at the right time. Here is an update on the maximum points the teams in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Mountain Division can earn if they win their remaining games. The team’s current points are in parenthesis:
- 81 points – Allen (73 points)
- 76 points – Kansas City (70 points)
- 74 points – Wichita (70 points)
- 74 points – Utah (68 points)
- 74 points – Rapid City (68 points)
Because Allen owns the tiebreakers the Americans need just one point from their last four games to make the playoffs and three points will clinch second place in the division.
CHAD COSTELLO COACH’S COMMENTS
“I liked our game again tonight, especially offensively. The power play was clicking again.”
“I think we can generate more greasy goals by throwing pucks to the net with traffic in front. I told the defensemen to keep shooting the puck and they did a really good job.”
“Our defensemen seems to be clicking very well and Perry was great in goal again tonight.”
“I am glad we could get Autio into his first pro game.”
“Special teams have been a huge key to our turnaround this season and was great again tonight.”
“Tomorrow is a good test for us. Tulsa has always given us fits. They always work hard and if you let them out work you it will be a game. Our work ethic has to match Tulsa’s.
“The game tomorrow is an important two points. If we can get the win, we will be in a very good position for the playoffs.”
“Roster changes for tomorrow include Asuchak getting the game off. We didn’t want him playing three games in three days just coming off injured reserve. Dalton Skelly will return to the lineup. Peressini and Perry will both be going on the trip. Peressini will get the start in goal.”
ALLEN VS TULSA PREVIEW
– Tulsa has played Allen tough this season. The Oilers have a winning record against the Americans (4-3-1-0). Tulsa was shutout at home last night 6-0 by Kansas City, so the Oilers will be in a sour mood this afternoon against Allen. The Americans are a tired and banged up team playing four games in five days and three games in 48 hours. Tulsa is in the same boat playing four games in five days, but the Oilers were at home of Friday and Saturday.
– The stats favor the Americans. Allen scores more goals (3.7 vs 2.9) and allows fewer goals (3.7 vs 3.8) than Tulsa. The winning team in the last six games between these teams (dating back to December 23) has scored five or more goals with one exception. Allen and Tulsa last played at the end of January in a three-game series. The first two games were in Allen and the Americans won 5-4 in overtime and 6-0. The third game of the series was in Tulsa and the Oilers won 7-3.
– Special teams favor Allen. The Americans road power play is ranked #4 (23.8%) compared to Tulsa’s home power play which is ranked dead last #28 (13.9%). The penalty kill percentages are much closer. Allen is rank #9 (82.0%) on the road. Tulsa is ranked #15 (81.0%) at home.
– Costello is bringing seven defensemen and 10 forwards on the trip to Tulsa with Dalton Skelly coming off injured reserve today. Six defensemen have been logging a ton of ice time going back to the Rapid City series. Adding Skelly to the mix will help get some much need rest for the defense.
– Here is the lineup for the game this afternoon:
– Had a lot of questions/comments at the game last night about the two-game suspension to Darian Skeoch for the incident on Friday night. The reason the suspension wasn’t more than two games is a review showed Skeoch didn’t not leave the bench as was charged during the game. He made a legal change, so he was not suspended for leaving the bench. That left only the aggressor penalty and he got two games for that infraction.
– I also was asked again about the coaches on the Allen bench last night in addition to coach Costello and coach Gens. The other two coaches were Chris Meriney and Chris Brown. Meriney has been with Allen for several seasons and has an expanded role this season including helping on the bench. Meriney’s title is Assistant Coach and Manager of Hockey Administration. He provides Costello with a lot of analytics and other stats and helps with video and other administrative paperwork. Chris Brown is a friend and former teammate of Costello’s. They first met when they played together in Germany (DEL) in 2017-18. Brown still plays in the DEL but returns back to the DFW area in the off season. Brown grew up in Flower Mound. He is just helping out a friend at some Allen practices and behind the bench.
– There are only four games on the ECHL schedule today. Allen at Tulsa are the only Mountain Division teams in action. It could be a big day for the Americans. With a win, Allen will punch its ticket to the Kelly Cup playoffs, and I can officially put my gourmet crow chili meal on the calendar.
DID YOU KNOW: Allen’s Hank Crone had four points last night and now has 103 points with four games remaining in the regular season. Crone is the first player to reach 100 points since 2016-17. Here are the ECHL most recent 100-point scorers in a single season:103: Hank Crone, Allen, 2022-23122: Chad Costello, Allen, 2016-17103: Chad Costello, Allen, 2015-16125: Chad Costello, Allen, 2014-15103: Ryan Kinasewich, Utah, 2009-10114: Tyler Donati, Elmira, 2009-10104: Justin Donati, Elmira, 2009-10– Costello (Allen) and Kinasewich (Utah) are current ECHL head coaches.– Crone has 48 goals with four games remaining and a chance to become to ECHL’s first 50 goal score since 2008-09 when Kevin Baker (Florida) scored 57 goals.– Long time ECHL coach, Steve Martinson, was the coach for five of the seven 100-point seasons above. He was the coach in Allen when Costello had 100 points three straight seasons and he was the coach in Elmira in 2009-10 when the Donati twin brothers both reached 100 points.