A shorthanded Allen Americans team used a shorthanded goal, a power play goal and an overtime goal to defeat Tulsa 3-2 last night before a Tuesday crowd of 1482 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The game was not as close as the final score because the Americans continue to struggle scoring goals 5-on-5. Allen hit most of the keys to the game as it scored first, outshot Tulsa 33-19, won the special teams battle and scored the game winner with less than a second remaining in overtime.

 

– Allen won last night despite missing its top two scoring forwards (Corey Mackin & Samuel Laberge),  forward Colby McAuley who has scored seven goals since returning from injury and defenseman Philip Beaulieu who had six points (2G, 4A) in his last six games. Not only a lot of scoring missing from the lineup but also a lot of toughness.

 

–  Spencer Asuchak scored the first goal of the game on a great individual effort. While killing a penalty Spencer used his speed to pick a defenseman’s pocket and with a player draped all over him somehow manged to beat the goalie for his 14th goal of the season. Asuchak has now scored seven goals in the last 11 games.

 

– Asuchak’s shorthanded goal was the only first period scoring so Allen took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. That lead was almost a lock for a win for the Americans as they have a record when leading after the first period of 17-0-2-1.

 

– Tulsa scored the only goal of the second period so the third period started with a 1-1 score. It didn’t take long for Allen to regain the lead. Just 67 seconds into the third period and seven seconds into an Americans power play Zane Franklin took a pass in the slot from Matt Register and fired home his seventh goal of the season.

 

– Tulsa captain Adam Pleskach, a long time Allen nemesis, tied the score on a power play goal midway through the third period and that was the end of regulation scoring.

 

– Both teams had good opportunities in overtime and just when it looked like the game was headed to a shootout Brett Neumann ended it with .8 second remaining. Neumann put in a rebound with a top shelf backhanded shot off a Les Lancaster one timer who was set up perfectly by a pass from Josh Lammon.

 

Here are the video highlights from the Allen Americans YouTube channel. Here is something to look for on each goal. I always watch the replays several times as there is always more going on other then the puck in the net. On Asuchak’s shorthanded goal watch for the effort he made just to get to the defenseman to steal the puck. On Franklin’s goal from the slot notice the nice pass from Matt Register. On the overtime winner watch for the great pass from Lammon to Lancaster for the one timer and how Neumann handled the rebound to get the backhander up so quickly.

 

 

 

 

– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap/hello-neumann-americans-win-in-overtime/

 

COACH’S CORNER by Steve Martinson

“The team played good defensively last night. Anytime you hold a team to five shots in a period and allow only 19 shots in 67 minutes of hockey you are defending well.”

“On Tulsa’s first goal the puck bounced of a shin pad into the net and the second goal on the power play was a broken play when our defenseman was taken down by a stick.”

“Brett Neumann scored 45 goals his last two seasons in the OHL. He made a nice shot on the overtime winner and he is just getting started with his goal scoring.”

“We were missing a lot of scoring with Laberge, Mackin, McAuley, and Beaulieu out of the lineup but it gives other players opportunity to get more ice time and see what they can do.

“Laberge, Mackin and  McAuley are all listed as day to day so hopefully some or all of them will be ready for the Wichita series on Friday.”

“I was not planning to play Sam Ruopp against Tulsa since he just arrived and hadn’t been practicing or playing. After morning skate he came up to me and said he wanted to play. He brings toughness to the lineup and he moved the puck well in the game.”

“Collin Shirley is a big body, skilled, two-way forward who led his team in scoring in the WHL and was also captain of the team. He will be available this weekend.”

“We will have some players practice today to take shots on the goalies and will have a full team practice on Thursday.”

“Justin Kapelmaster will join Cleveland (AHL) who is in Austin this weekend for three games against the Texas Stars.

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Americans now must prepare for a very important series this weekend. Allen has been battling Wichita all season for a top spot in the Western Conference. They have played seven times and Allen’s record against the Thunder is 3-3-1-0. There is a good chance these teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs. When the teams played a week ago it was not pretty as Wichita won by a score of 4-1. After the three games this weekend, Allen and Wichita will play once more (June 2 in Allen). If Allen hopes to be successful in the playoffs they have to be able to beat Wichita who will bring skill and toughness to the weekend series. Allen needs to match that skill and toughness and win the series.

 

– Was asked last night when was the last time Allen won by four or more goals. It was as much of a comment as a question as it was noted most Allen teams of the past would win by big margins frequently. Winning by four or more goals hasn’t happened much this season. Here are the four times this season Allen won by 4+ goals. Most were on the road and early in the season.

March 12 – Allen won in Utah 6-2

January 24 – Allen shutout the Oilers 5-0 in Tulsa

January 1 – Allen won 5-1 in Wichita

December 27 – Allen beat Tulsa 5-1 at the AEC

 

– I also had a question concerning the rule that requires a suspension after a player has been in 10 fights. The question was whether the slate is wiped clean for the playoffs. The answer is yes, a player will get two fights in the playoffs before being suspended.

 

– If you have a question let me know, whether it is stats related, rule related or something I can get answered from Steve Martinson. Not sure I will always be able to come up with the answer but it is fun trying.

 

– Utah is playing in Wichita tonight so the Thunder will have the unenviable task of playing four games in five days with travel. Wichita will be in Allen on Friday (7:05 pm), Saturday (7:05 pm) and Sunday (2:05 pm).

 

– Matt Register and Les Lancaster both factored in the scoring last night and built their lead in points by ECHL defensemen. Lancaster is #1 with 41 points (15G, 26A) and Register is #2 with 38 points (2G, 36A).

 

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL may end the season with no teams having a points percentage of .700 or higher. Here is the ECHL Stats post for today that shows how unusual that is:

– Fort Wayne and Wichita have the best points percentage in the ECHL right now at .677 and the 2020-21 season could end with no team above .700 in points percentage. Here are the number of teams with points percentage above .700 each season since 2014-15. In parenthesis is the top points percentage that season and the top team.
2020-21: 0 (.677, Fort Wayne & Wichita)
2019-20: 4 (.742, South Carolina & Florida)
2018-19: 2 (.764, Cincinnati)
2017-18: 4 (.778, Florida)
2016-17: 2 (.736, Toledo)
2015-16: 1 (.757, Missouri)
2014-15: 5 (.743, Toledo)
– Why has the ECHL reached more parity this season and will any team reach .700 by the end of the season?
– Also noteworthy is none of the top teams in points percentage won a Kelly Cup.