The Allen Americans lost to the Utah Grizzlies yesterday afternoon in a low scoring game before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 1528 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The 2-1 loss is the lowest goal total of the season in an Allen loss. The Americans have not been shutout this season.

 

– It was a familiar script in the defeat with a lack of offense including 0-4 on the power play. My unofficial count had the four power plays generating zero, one, one and two shots on goal. Even though the Americans only allowed two goals they gave up the first goal of the game, were outshot 34-28 and the defense gave up numerous odd man rushes including on the game winning goal. In a tight game in the third period it is important to stay aggressive but not gamble. Goalie Justin Kapelmaster, playing his first game in a month, came up big over and over again stopping 32 of 34 shots for a .941 save percentage.

 

– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/news/general/utah-grabs-series-win-with-2-1-victory/

 

– Allen gave up the first goal in all three games of the series with Utah. When you consider in the ECHL the team that scores first wins about 75% of the time the Americans winning one of the three games is what would be expected.

 

– There was great hope at the end of March when Allen hit the part of the schedule which had 21 home games and four away games between March 24 and May 9. Things didn’t start out well as the Americans lost a series at home to Rapid City but then Allen won six of the next seven games and the only loss was in a shootout. Allen was in first place and everything was looking up. The winning ways have not continued as the Americans have lost five of seven games since their four game sweep of Kansas City.

 

– Here is how the record stands in this stretch of 22 home games. After 14 of the 22 games Allen’s record is 8-5-0-1. The Americans have four home games against Tulsa (plus one road game) and four home games against Wichita between now and May 9. After this homestand Allen will spend the majority of the remainder of the season on the road. Starting on May 12 through the end of May the Americans play nine road games and just one home game. These nine road games are at Kansas City (2 games), Utah (4 games) and Rapid City (3 games). Allen finishes the regular season at home with three games in early June against Wichita (1) and Rapid City (2).

 

– I share all the schedule details because the regular season is quickly winding down. The season is already 70% completed and by the time Allen hits the road for nine of ten games in May the season will be 82% completed. The bottom line is if the Americans want to secure first place in the Western Conference they need to play much better in the seven home games in the next two weeks.

 

– There is a fine line between fighting for first place and fighting to make the playoffs and time is quickly running out. There is no reason with the talent on the Allen Americans they are not in the fight for the top spot going down the stretch.

 

COACH’S CORNER

“It was more of same yesterday where we are not scoring and making too many defensive mistakes.”

“We were making poor decisions on the power play (0-4) yesterday. Power play is something we continue to work on in practice.”

“With so many games and limited time you have to be careful to not do too much during practice. Saving energy is important again this week with four games including another three games in three days.

“We have two new players arriving tonight. A forward and a defenseman who are WHL alumni and played together in college.”

 

DID YOU KNOW: SHORTHANDED GOAL FUN FACTS

– The Wheeling Nailers scored two shorthanded goals yesterday in the span of 30 seconds as they beat Fort Wayne 5-3.
In the history of the ECHL there have been four shorthanded hat tricks.
– Tommy Olczyk, Indy, Dec. 23, 2017
– Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne, March 21, 2015
– Chad Costello, Colorado, Dec. 12, 2012
– Jamey Hicks, Birmingham, Jan. 27, 1998