The Allen Americans lost to the Wichita Thunder last night by a score of 6-1 before a huge crowd of 11,004 at the INTRUST Bank Arena. It was arguably the worst loss of the season for the Americans at a time when they should be playing their best hockey. For the #3 ranked team in the league to lose to the #24 ranked team in the league by a score of 6-1 just should not happen. The only thing positive about the embarrassing loss is the Americans won’t have to wait long to do something about it. Just 21 hours and 31 minutes after the final buzzer sounded in Wichita and a 365 mile bus trip to think about the loss, the puck will drop at the Allen Event Center for the rematch (7:05 pm).
– It took just 94 seconds for Wichita to get on the scoreboard last night. It was the ninth time in the 11 games these teams have played this season the Thunder scored the first goal of the game. By the time the first period was over the game was pretty much over as Wichita had a 4-0 lead. Allen’s Alex Breton scored the only goal of the second period to close the gap to 4-1. That was as close as the Americans got as the Thunder added two unanswered goals in the third period to make the final score 6-1.
– The poor performance was more surprising because Allen’s record against Wichita this season going into the game was 7-0-3-0. The Thunder had not been playing well lately losing nine of their last 11 games including four straight.
– Not that it had anything to do with the loss but the Americans were shorthanded, playing one player short. They would have been two players short but Iowa reassigned Mitch McLain who met the team in Wichita.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-give-up-four-in-the-first-and-lose-to-wichita-6-1/
– Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder: https://www.wichitathunder.com/news/press-release/thunder-snaps-skid-with-6-1-win.html
– Here are the video highlights:
– Coach Martinson didn’t have much to say after the loss. “Didn’t see that coming. It is hard to believe after playing three games in three days last weekend and playing so well in the 2-1 overtime win in Tulsa on Sunday we would come out tonight and do this. We were bad in our defensive zone coverage and had a bad effort overall.”
ALLEN VS WICHITA REMATCH PREVIEW
– The good news for Allen is Tyler Sheehy will be back in the lineup tonight after missing the last six games with an injury. Overall Sheehy has missed 15 games (injury and callups) this season but still leads the ECHL in scoring. His presence is noticed in all phases of the game; even strength, PP and PK. Not sure how much playing time he will get in his first game back since February 14 but he is definitely a difference maker.
– The first goal of the game last night was a power play goal by Wichita. It was their only power play of the game. Allen had three power play opportunities and failed to convert on any of them. Allen has allowed a power play goal to Wichita in their last seven head to head matchups. If Allen expects to win tonight they have to do better on special teams. Hopefully, Sheehy will help win the special teams battle.
– Look for Dereck Baribeau to get the start in goal. Dereck did not make the trip to Wichita but typically the goalie that stays home works with goalie coach Chris Johansen. Avoiding the quick trip to Wichita and the 12+ hours on the bus should have Baribeau ready for the game tonight.
– Having Mitch McLain back with the Americans is also a big plus. Mitch is a Steve Martinson type player who is tough, greasy, has a lot of skill and is a leader. Mitch is from Minnesota and in his last year of high school led his team with 64 points (35G, 29A) in just 25 games. In his last year in juniors (Langley Rivermen) he led his team in scoring with 60 points (24G, 36A) in 57 games. In college (Bowling Green) he led his team in scoring and penalty minutes as a junior and goals as a senior. He spent the entire last season (2018-19) with the Iowa Wild and finished with 10 goals and 10 assists. Mitch was captain of his junior team for two years and his college team as a senior. His accolades include All-American and All-Academic honors. Not sure how long he will be in Allen but with his skill and style of play he will quickly become a popular player.
– If you watched the video highlights you saw Allen did have goal scoring chances but just could not finish. You also saw the many defensive breakdowns on the Wichita goals. The Americans out shot the Thunder 33-31. Allen has an 11.9% shooting percentage compared to 10.2% for Wichita. If Allen can out shoot Wichita tonight you have to like their chances of winning the game.
– The five goal loss last night was the third time this season Allen has lost a game by five or more goals. If you are looking for a positive sign here it is. On October 18 Allen lost to Utah 10-4. The next night Allen beat Utah 5-4 in overtime. On January 13 Allen lost to Utah 6-1. The next night Allen beat Utah 6-5 in overtime. On February 28 Allen lost to Wichita 6-1. The next night they play Wichita and ?????.
– Allen didn’t get any closer to clinching a playoff spot last night. While the Americans were losing, Tulsa beat Rapid City 6-3 to move ahead of the Rush by one point (61 vs 60). However, Rapid City has three games in hand over Tulsa. The teams play again tonight in Rapid City.
– Utah and Idaho both gained ground on Allen even though they played each other. Idaho came from behind to tie the score 1-1 early in the third period and won the game in overtime. Utah earned one point and is now six points in back of Allen. With their win, Idaho is now nine points behind Allen. Utah plays Idaho again tonight in Boise.
– In the battle for the Brabham Cup, Allen and Newfoundland lost ground last night with losses while Florida gained ground with a win. South Carolina was idle. All four teams are in action tonight. Here are the winning percentages with games remaining in parenthesis:
.768 – South Carolina (16)
.728 – Florida (15)
.707 – Allen (14)
.694 – Newfoundland (18)
– Allen has a total of three goals in their last two games but still lead the ECHL in average goals per game. The Americans are the only ECHL team averaging over four goals per game (4.02).
DID YOU KNOW: How important is having Tyler Sheehy in the lineup for the Allen Americans? With Tyler out of the lineup (15 games) Allen’s winning percentage is .533 (7-5-3-0). With Tyler in the lineup (43 games) Allen’s winning percentage is .756 (30-8-3-2).