The Allen Americans lost to the Utah Grizzlies last night 4-2 before a pandemic limited sellout crowd of 2195 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). It was Allen’s fourth loss in its last five games. The Americans gave up four goals in each of the four losses and scored two or fewer goals in each of the losses.

 

– While the Americans battled back twice to tie the scored after giving up the first and only goal of the opening period they never led in the game, were out shot 37-26 and were blanked on the power play going 0-4. It was an uphill battle all night for Allen which they could not overcome. The stats tell the story:

7-10-1-0: Allen’s record when it gives up the first goal as it did last night.

1-10-0-0: Allen’s record when trailing after the first period. Trailed 1-0 last night.

3-13-0-0: Allen’s record when trailing after the second period. Trailed 2-1 last night.

 

– It didn’t help that the Americans were missing their top two scoring forwards, Corey Mackin (43 points) and Samuel Laberge (31 points). They contribute so much more than scoring as they play a vital role on special teams and Laberge leads the team along with Franklin in finishing checks.

 

– Goal scorers for Allen were Chad Butcher (4) and Phillip Beaulieu (4). Les Lancaster had an assist to add to his league lead for points by a defensemen which is now at 39. Matt Register also had an assist to add to his team lead in assists which is now at 32.

 

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/news/general/grizzlies-silence-americans-in-first-of-three-this-weekend/

 

– Here is the game recap issued by the Utah Grizzlies: https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/grizz-win-4-2-in-series-opener

 

– Last night was typical of Allen’s recent performance with a combination of too many easy scoring chances allowed because of defensive mistakes and not being able to score enough to overcome the defensive lapses. In Allen’s four losses in the last 10 days it has allowed 4.00 goals per game and scored 1.75 goals per game. Improvement is needed on both sides of that equation.

 

– Keys for the rematch tonight with Utah include getting off to a better start, get back on track on the power play and get back to the team defense that enabled the Americans to have an April record of 6-0-0-1 until 10 days ago. In the last 10 days the record is 1-4-0-0.

 

– Allen didn’t score a goal last night until the second period. The Americans have given up the first goal of the game in five of the last seven games against Utah. The Grizzlies had 37 shots on goal which is their second highest total against Allen in the 11 games they have played this season. Allen managed just 26 shots on goal, well below its 32.35 shots per game average.

 

– The power play was recently on fire scoring at least one power play goal in six straight and scoring at a 25% clip. The power play has cooled down the last two games with no goals in 10 opportunities. The power play needs to get back on track tonight.

 

– There will be a referee change for the game tonight. Last night referee Nolan Bloyer called just six minor penalties and let the players play for the most part. Tonight the referee scheduled is #26 Alex Normandin. He has been the referee for six of Allen’s games this season and averages 12 penalties per game. Odds are more penalties tonight than last night.

 

COACH’S CORNER

– I decided to bring back “Coach’s Corner” as a separate section of the blog each day where you can easily find Steve Martinson’s comments. Since I talk to him every morning it will be a chance to get his thoughts on game results, game previews, roster news and other items of interest all in one place.

“Corey Mackin is day to day. Coming off an illness and the fact we are playing three game in three days we will take his return one day at a time. It is possible he plays tonight depending on how he feels.”

“Samuel Laberge will not play tonight. He has an injury and is day to day but is not likely to play this weekend.”

“We are not scoring enough to make up for our weak defensive play.”

“We are getting plenty of shots but too many are missing the net or being blocked. That is the reason for the discrepancy in shots on goal.”

“We need our top players who have a history of scoring goals to step up.”

“We had the edge in puck possession last night but still lost too many puck battles. Losing puck battles is just like a turnover and when you lose a puck battle you are usually on the wrong side of the puck.”

“Utah was beating us to the net front last night.”

“Jake Paterson will get the start in goal tonight.”

 

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen was the only one of the top four teams in the Western Conference to lose last night. Wichita was involved in a wild one against Kansas City. The Mavericks had six shots in the first period and scored on four of them. Wichita trailed 4-0 after the first period and 6-3 after the second period but fought back to win 7-6 in overtime. Wichita is the best third period team in the ECHL and it isn’t even close, see stats below.

 

– Fort Wayne beat Wheeling last night 5-2 to extend its record against the Nailers to 9-2-2-1. The Komets are in the midst of six straight games against Wheeling. The Komets finish the season with three games against Wichita, three against Indy and three against Utah. The combined six games against Wichita and Utah are the only games Fort Wayne plays within the Western Conference all season.

 

– Here are the current Western Conference standings:

.677 – Fort Wayne
.670 – Wichita
.622 – Allen
.550 – Utah
.538 – Rapid City
.500 – Tulsa
.490 – Kansas City

 

– I heard from Tommy Daniels tonight will be the 800th regular season game in Allen Americans franchise history. The stat of the day is coach Martinson has won more games (1072) than the Allen Americans have played.

 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen has a positive goal differential this season in all three periods with a +7 in the first period, +5 in the second period and +6 in the third period. That is a far cry from the Americans in the past who were known as a third period team. The best example comes from the 2016-17 season when Allen’s goal differential was +14 in the first period, +13 in the second period and +61 in the third period. Here is the ECHL Stats post with the best teams this season in third period goal differential.

 

Good teams play well in the third period. Here are the ECHL teams with a positive goal differential (goals for minus goals allowed) in the third period this season. The team’s current points percentage rank is in parenthesis:
+24: Wichita (2nd)
+15: Florida (3rd)
+10: Fort Wayne (1st)
+8: Orlando (6th)
+6: Allen (4th)
+4: South Carolina (11th)
+1: Indy (5th)