Last night, the second game of the three game series in Rapid City ended with an identical score as game one, a 4-2 loss for the Americans. The score was the same but the games were different. As a matter of fact, last night the Americans met the keys of the game but still lost. Allen scored the first goal of the game though it didn’t come until the 7:57 mark of the second period. The other key to the game was to win the special teams battle. Mission accomplished as Allen was 2-4 on the power play and perfect on the penalty kill (0-3). The Americans have not allowed a power play goal to Rapid City for nine straight games.

 

– Allen rarely loses a game when they score first, score two power play goals and are perfect on the penalty kill but that was the case last night. The Americans were shutout when even strength. In the two losses to the Rush in this series Allen has scored just four goals but only one was at even strength. That is not good enough to be successful. The Americans were out shot last night in every period and 36-26 for the game.

 

– Goal scorers for Allen were Colby McAuley (7) and Spencer Asuchak (12). Asuchak has a goal in three straight games and has scored five goals in the last five games.

 

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/news/general/empty-net-goal-spoils-americans-third-period-rally/

 

– Here is the game recap from the Rapid City Rush: https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2021/4/garlent-s-hat-trick-downs-allen-win-streak-at-four-games

 

– Here are Steve Martinson’s comments when I talked to him this morning:

“Too many times we had offensive zone possession but generated no shots.”

“We had too many offensive zone turnovers on low percentage/soft plays.”

“We need to get more shots. When you are not scoring you need to get more shots on net and look for rebounds. That is how we scored the two power play goals.”

“Greasy goals are what we need to look for tonight.”

“We are not defending hard enough to overcome our lack of scoring.”

“We need players that have scored goals in the past that have not been scoring to step up tonight.”

“Jake Paterson will start in goal tonight.”

“I will probably make a change at forward for the game tonight because a player is dinged up and needs a rest.”

 

GAME THREE PREVIEW

– The formula to salvage a win out of this series with Rapid City is even strength scoring. One even strength goal in six periods of hockey won’t win many games even if special teams are going well. Allen is 3-6 (50%) on the power play in the two losses and (0-7) 100% on the penalty kill so you can’t expect more from special teams. The game tonight will require Allen to improve when the teams are playing 5-on-5 which is the majority of the game. Rapid City has outscored Allen 7-1 in the first two games when the teams have been playing 5-on-5. Allen leads 3-0 on special teams in the two losses.

 

– Allen’s recent power play success has improved its overall ECHL power play rank to #2 (19.8%). The road power play is also ranked #2 at 22.3%.

 

– The Americans need to generate more than 26 shots if they expect to win tonight. Allen has a decent record when being out shot by its opponent (13-8-2-1) but it is rare to get only 26 shots, be out shot by 10 and win a game.

 

– The referee scheduled tonight is the same as the first two games of the series, #29 Logan Gruhl. He called only six minor penalties in game one and seven last night. Wouldn’t expect a lot of power play opportunities for either team tonight.

 

– Rapid City has been one of the best teams in the ECHL over the last five weeks. The Rush have beaten Allen four of five times they have played during that time. Rapid City’s overall record since March 6 is 12-3-1-1. Allen’s record over that same period is 11-6-1-1.

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Western Conference standings had another shakeup last night with teams at the top (Allen & Wichita) losing and teams at the bottom (Tulsa and Kansas City) winning. Rapid City’s win over Allen moved the Rush into a tie for fourth place and the final playoff spot. Here are the current standings with each team’s record over the last 10 games in parenthesis. You can see why the standings remain close with no team winning more than six games.

.679 – Fort Wayne (6-3-1-0)
.656 – Wichita (6-4-0-0)
.641 – Allen (6-3-0-1)
.531 – Utah (4-4-1-1)
.531 – Rapid City (6-3-1-0)
.510 – Tulsa (3-4-2-1)
.510 – Kansas City (5-5-0-0)

 

– Look for more movement in the standings after the games tonight as crunch time is fast approaching. Most teams have fewer than 25 games remaining in the season. In the games tonight Allen is at at Rapid City, Tulsa is at Wichita, Kansas City is at Utah and Fort Wayne is at Indy. Here is the ECHL Today with previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/4/echl-today-april-17

 

– With his next goal Corey Mackin will join the Allen Americans 20 goal club. Less than 30 players have scored 20 goals in a season in the history of the franchise. If he stays healthy Corey has a shot at 30 goals this season which is an exclusive club. Seven players have scored 30 goals in a season. The most exclusive club is the 40 goals club. The only members are Chad Costello and Gary Steffes who accomplished the feat the same season (2014-15). It was Allen’s first year in the ECHL and the year the Americans won their first Kelly Cup.

 

– Allen’s road record has fallen to 13-12-0-0 which is a points percentage of .520. Rapid City and Utah are the only teams in the conference with a worse road points percentage than Allen. FYI, last season Allen’s road points percentage was .677. The Americans home points percentage last season was .742, this season it is .786.

 

DID YOU KNOW: If you are an offensive defenseman nothing shows why you should want to play in Steve Martinson’s system more than the stats below from the ECHL Stats post this morning. Les Lancaster would also be on this list with his .775 points per game average but he doesn’t qualify because he has only played in 80 ECHL games.

 

Since 2016-17 just seven ECHL defensemen have played a minimum of 100 games and averaged more than .700 points per game. Here are the ECHL defensemen with the best points per game average over the last five seasons (minimum 100 games) with their last ECHL team:

 

.837 – Matt Register, Allen
.825 – Alex Breton, Allen
.810 – David Makowski, Allen
.791 – Kevin Schultz, Wheeling
.756 – Simon Dennis, Toledo
.751 – Eric Knodel, Reading
.744 – Nolan Zajac, Reading