The Allen Americans ended their two game losing streak last night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Utah Grizzlies. A win is a win and any time you can add two points in the standings is a good night, especially at home, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get back to the Allen team that started the season with a record of 12-3.
– Maybe the die was cast when Allen scored the first goal of the game. The Americans had given up the first goal in four straight games prior to last night. It took until 1:27 of the second period but they managed their first and only goal of the game (until the shootout) when Corey Mackin scored shorthanded. Allen is almost unbeatable when scoring first with a record of 11-1.
– If you watched the game and look at the box score there are several things that stand out. The first being the fact Utah was playing with a short bench. They just had two of their best players loaned to their AHL affiliate (Colorado) so the Grizzlies played last night with 14 skaters instead of the 17 allowed. Despite being shorthanded the Grizzlies outshot the Americans 32-25 including a lopsided 15-6 in the third period when Allen should have been the fresher team. Coach Martinson’s comment to me was, “Utah’s forwards had more energy in the third period than we did.” Jake Paterson made a spectacular save on what should have been a sure goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game. It was definitely a game saver.
– Utah’s only goal came on the power play. The Americans have allowed a power play goal in seven of their last eight games. The penalty kill percentage over that time is a meager 70.8%.
– Allen was scoreless on the power play (0-2) and have not scored a power play goal in the last three games. However, the Americans have had few power play opportunities the last three games going 0-5.
– Neither team did much in the overtime period with each getting just one shot on goal. It was another story when the game went to a shootout. The shootout didn’t even go three rounds as Allen’s shooters, first Conner Bleackley and then Corey Mackin both scored and Jake Paterson stopped Utah’s first two shooters to the secure the win. Allen caught a break as the Grizzlies switched goalies for the shootout which has to be tough for the goalie that sat on the bench the entire game and overtime to come in cold for the shootout. Haven’t seen any comments about the reason for the switch but injury is the only plausible reason you would make a change.
– Allen is now 2-0 in shootouts (both against Utah) and has the best conversion percentage in the ECHL at 60% (3-5) and are also tied for #1 in shootout goals allowed with zero (0-5).
– Here are the video highlights with the goals, the fights, the shootout and the Paterson’s remarkable save. Remember, you can find the video at this link if you have problems opening it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PWpLYmvqnA
Here is the game recap issued by the Utah Grizzlies: https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/allen-defeats-utah-2-1-in-a-shootout
– The Americans now prepare for a trip to Kansas City where they will play the Mavericks on Saturday (7:05 CST), Sunday (4:05 CST) and Monday (1:05 CST). Allen then returns home to play the Mavericks twice more (February 19 & 20). The Allen roster is down to 20 players with two goalies, eight defensemen and 10 forwards but that includes forward Colby McAuley who is on injured reserve. Martinson has players coming but not sure if anyone will be available for this weekend. You can be sure he is on the phone talking to players, agents and coaches.
– The Allen Americans released Braylon Shmyr yesterday. Braylon returned to Allen this season after playing for the Americans as a rookie in 2018-19 when he had 44 points (20G, 24A). Shmyr was injured in training camp and spent the first two months of the season on injured reserve. He played in three games since he returned to the lineup and had no points. In talking to coach Martinson he knows he has forwards coming soon and he wanted to release Shmyr now rather than later because teams are looking for forwards and Braylon will be claimed off waivers.
– Conner Bleackley made a great pass to Corey Mackin for Allens only goal last night. The two also scored the Allen goals in the shootout. Bleackley has played in 12 games since signing in Allen and has yet to have a negative plus/minus game. He leads the team in plus minus (+11), Matt Register is second at +9.
– Three of the top six Allen players in points per game are no longer with the team as they have been recalled by their AHL team; #1 Joe Garreffa (1.18), #5 Tyler Sheehy (.92) and #6 Jake McGrew (.73). Now #2 Corey Mackin (1.00), #3 Jesse Mychan (.95) and #4 Matt Register (.94) are carrying the load. Register leads all ECHL defensemen in points per game (minimum 10 games).
– Wichita signed former Allen forward Bryan Moore last week but he refused to report. The Thunder have now signed another former Allen forward, J.C. Campagna.
– The Americans had the smallest crowd of the season last night with 1246 attending the game. When you combine it was a rare Tuesday night game, the Dallas Stars were playing and the weather forecast was iffy it was a tough combination of factors. Allen’s average attendance after eight home games is now 1835 which places them #9 of the 13 teams playing. Look for the average attendance to increase as the season progresses.
– Here is my post from ECHL stats today. Quite a tribute to Allen that of the five players in ECHL history that have won three or more championships, two of them have won championships in Allen.