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Allen Loses 9-3, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, Possible Suspensions and More

Sunday, May 14th
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It was the best of times and the worst of times, all in a span of 24 hours. Welcome to Allen Americans playoff hockey. Friday night a shorthanded Allen team defeated Idaho 7-2 to get back in the series. Idaho has played a total of 82 games this season and it was the worst defeat the Steelheads had suffered all season. Last night, just 24 hours later, still playing shorthanded, the Americans embarrassed themselves with the worst playoff loss in team history. Before another sellout crowd in Boise (5017) the Steelheads beat Allen 9-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. The first playoff elimination game for the Americans will be this afternoon in Boise (5:10 CDT).

– Anytime you go from a 7-2 win to a 9-3 loss in back-to-back games there is a lot that goes wrong. Friday night Allen’s compete level was off the charts, they played smart in the defense zone, were relentless in the offensive zone, had a lot of net front presence and had great goaltending. That was all missing last night. Here is how coach Costello described the game and the challenge facing the Americans today, when I checked in with him late last night:

“We got outplayed from the opening puck drop all the way to the end of the game. We got outplayed from top to bottom. Our lives are now on the line. I certainly hope our effort will reflect that in tomorrow’s game. Win a game and get the series back to Allen is the goal. Everyone involved will need to bring their “A” game and “A” effort if we want that to happen.”

– Every key to the game went Idaho’s way last night.

  • Idaho scored the first goal of the game.
  • Idaho had a 3-0 first period lead.
  • Idaho had a 5-0 lead early in the second period before Allen scored.
  • Idaho had a 7-2 lead after the second period.
  • Idaho outshot Allen in every period, 43-31 for the game.
  • Idaho was 3-5 on the power play, Allen was 1-6.

–  Allen finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second period on a Jack Combs goal to cut the score to 5-1. The faint glimmer of hope was dashed just 38 seconds later when another defensive breakdown allowed Idaho to regain its five-goal lead. Colton Hargrove added a second period goal and Chad Butcher finished the Allen scoring in the third period. The final tally was Idaho outscored the Americans 3-0 in the first period, 4-2 in the second period and 2-1 in the third period. How bad was it? Prior to last night Allen had never allowed more than seven goals in a playoff game since joining the ECHL.

– Here are the game recaps issued by both teams:

Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-fall-to-idaho-9-3-in-game-4/

Idaho Steelheads: https://www.idahosteelheads.com/en/articles/steelheads-erupt-offensively-in-9-3-win-over-americans-grabbing-three-to-one-series-lead

– Goal scorers for Allen were Jack Combs (5), Colton Hargrove (6) and Chad Butcher (1). Liam Finlay had two assists. Here are the video highlights:  https://www.echl.com/en/video/2023/5/allen-americans-vs-idaho-steelheads—may-13-2023-8W07KKST

– I wrote yesterday how it was obvious Allen made a decision that the only way the Americans were going to win in Idaho was by playing a much more physical game. Playing physical has been the hallmark of Allen’s most successful teams. However, there is a difference between playing physical and playing disciplined. Here is an update on the stats. Prior to the games in Idaho, the Americans were the least penalized team in the playoffs averaging just seven penalty minutes per game. Here are the playoff penalty minute stats for Allen:

  • 49 penalty minutes – Total PIMS for first seven games of the playoffs.
  • 48 penalty minutes – PIMS in 6-2 loss in Idaho on Wednesday.
  • 65 penalty minutes – PIMS in 7-2 win in Idaho on Friday.
  • 42 penalty minutes – PIMS in 9-3 loss in Idaho last night.
  • In three games Allen’s PIMS rank went from dead last (7.00 PIMS per game) to #3 with a PIMS average of 20.40.

– Here is where lack of discipline while playing physical has hurt the Americans in Idaho:

  • In the loss on Wednesday Allen took three 10-minute misconduct penalties.
  • In the win on Friday Allen took three 10-minute misconduct penalties including one game misconduct penalty.
  • Last night Allen took a misconduct penalty, a game misconduct penalty for abuse of officials and a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.

All of these penalties exacerbate the time on ice for what is already a short Allen bench. The Americans are a very tired club and all of these penalties that result in five-minute majors, 10-minute misconducts and game misconducts are making matters worse. Based on the rules cited in the third period penalties last night to Mikael Robidoux (game misconduct – abuse of officials) and Aiden Brown (match – illegal check to the head) they will both likely be suspended for the game today. If that happens the Americans will be playing short three skaters (14) today and that includes Spencer Asuchak returning to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension.– It will be a big challenge for Allen to extend the series this afternoon. All of the overused cliches are in effect such as win or go home (golfing), it’s now or never, our backs are against the wall. The team is exhausted from playing shorthand and that will likely only be worse this afternoon. Other cliches, such as will over skill and leave it all on the ice will be the theme for the day.– A good start will be a must this afternoon for the Americans. Allen has given up the first goal in all three games in Idaho and coming from behind against Idaho after the 9-3 loss last night will be very difficult.– After last night the Idaho power play in the last three games is 6-15 (40%). Allen will not win today if they can’t kill penalties better than that. Allen’s power play has been decent in Idaho with a power play goal in all three games and a power play percentage of 23.1% (3-13).OTHER COMMENTS– Newfoundland punched its ticket to the Eastern Conference finals last night with a 5-2 win over Reading. The Growlers won the series 4-1 and now await the winner of the Jacksonville vs Florida series. The Everblades had a commanding 3-0 lead in the series but lost the last two games at home. The series now returns to Jacksonville for game six and seven (if necessary).– The Allen at Idaho game this afternoon is the only game on the schedule today. Here is the ECHL Today with the preview. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/5/echl-today-may-14– Talk about playoff travel nightmares for the rest of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The final four will be teams from Newfoundland, Florida, Ohio plus Idaho or Texas.DID YOU KNOW: During the 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs there were nine hat tricks. Thus far in 2023, a hat trick last night was just third of playoffs and the other two came on the same night. Here are the three hat tricks thus far in the 2023 Kelly Cup playoffs:4/25 – Carter Johnson, Maine, in 7-3 win over Reading.4/25 – Derek Lodermeier, Jacksonville, in 7-4 win over Greenville.5/13 – Wade Murphy, Idaho, in 9-3 win over Allen.

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