The Allen Americans lost to the Wichita Thunder 4-3 in overtime last night at the Allen Event Center before the largest crowd of the season, 2259. It was an up and down game for the Americans starting with a downer. Allen gave up the first goal of the game just 59 seconds after puck drop. That was the likely kiss of death given Allen and Wichita have a combined record when scoring first of 19-2. However, the Americans came roaring back scoring three unanswered goals (Asuchak, Bleackley, Franklin) before the first period ended and took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. Things looked bright at that point since Allen had a perfect 8-0 record when leading after the first period.

 

– The second period proved to be Allen’s undoing as Wichita out shot the Americans 15-6 and outscored them 2-0 to tie the score 3-3 at the second intermission. The second period has been the weakest for Allen all season. They have outscored their opponents 22-12 in the first period but have been outscored by their opponents 21-19 in the second period.

 

– There was reason for optimism starting the third period as Allen has excelled outscoring their opponents 23-10 in the third period. The third period was a standoff with no penalties, lots of opportunities by both teams but no scoring.

 

– The game ended at 4:05 of overtime when Jesse Mychan lost his stick momentarily in the offensive zone which set up a 3-on-1 rush for the Thunder. Game over!

 

– Goals scorers for Allen were Spencer Asuchak (3), Conner Bleackley (4) and Zane Franklin (3). All three Allen goals came in a five minute period in the last part of the first period. Here are the video highlights and a link if you can’t open the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jplcGAQslys

 

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap/thunder-get-the-second-point-in-a-4-3-overtime-win-over-the-americans/

 

– Here is the game recap from the Wichita Thunder: https://www.wichitathunder.com/news/echl-news/wichita-wins-ot-game-vs-allen.html

 

– The teams got on their buses right after that game last night for the 365 mile trip to Wichita where they will finish the three game series tonight (7:05 pm CST). This will be the last time these teams play until after April 3. Allen could open up an eight point lead over the Thunder with a win in Wichita.

 

– Allen has to find a way to get off to a better start tonight. They have given up the first goal in the first two games and last night it took just 59 seconds for Wichita to get on the scoreboard.

 

– Neither team managed a power play goal last night, Allen was 0-2, Wichita 0-4. With the game tonight being the third game in four days between these teams, the fact both team are tired and they had to travel overnight, you have to expect there will be more rather than fewer power plays in the game tonight. Which team makes the adjustments to their power play and executes the best will win the special teams battle and likely the game.

 

– Allen’s power play has been better on the road (20.9%) than at home (15.6%). It is just the opposite for Wichita who is worse at home (8.3%) than on the road (16.7%). Allen’s road penalty kill (86.1%) is not as good as Wichita’s home penalty kill (90.7%).

 

– Matt Register had two more assists last night. He has at least one assist in five straight games. Matt has 16 points (2G, 14A) in 16 games. His 1.00 points per game average leads all ECHL defensemen.

 

– Jesse Mychan kept his point steak alive with an assist last night. Jesse has a point in five straight games with a total of eight points (2G, 6A). Jesse is tied for second in goals in the ECHL with nine.

 

– Wichita’s #18, Gordie Green, has been the leading scorer for the Thunder against Allen this season. In four games he has seven points (4G, 3A) which includes the game winning overtime goal last night.

 

– Here is the preview of the game tonight issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-day-preview-allen-at-wichita-3/

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– It may say how close the ECHL is in this strange pandemic season as the top four teams in points (Allen, Indy, Florida and South Carolina) all lost last night. Even more strange is they all lost at home.

 

– Had a question about how to calculate the percentage that is shown in the standings which will be used instead of points to determine the playoff teams since all teams will not play 72 games. To start with that percentage is referred to as both winning percentage and points percentage which causes some confusion. I have used both terms over time but the precise definition is points percentage and it is simply what percent of a teams total possible points have they earned.

 

– Here is an example using the Allen Americans current record of 13-4-1-0. If the Americans had won every game (18 total) they would have earned 36 points. What they have earned as reflected in the points column in the standings is 27 points, 2 x 13 = 26 for the wins plus one point for the one overtime loss. You then take the 27 points earned and divide by the maximum points they could have earned (36) and the percentage is .750. which is what is reflected in the “PCT” column in the standings.

 

– Allen’s average attendance after their pandemic restricted sellout last night of 2259 is 1919 which ranks them #8 of 13 teams. The average attendance ranges from a high of 3256 (Jacksonville) to a low of 931 (Wheeling). The ECHL average is 2207.

 

– The Iowa Wild opened their season at home last night losing to the Texas Stars 8-4. Tyler Sheehy played in the game, had no points, three shots and was one five players that didn’t have a negative plus/minus.

 

– The AHL is going through the same COVID startup issues as the ECHL experienced. I have seen five or six games impacted through postponement, cancellation or switched opponents in this opening weekend. If the ECHL is an indicator it will get worse for the AHL and then improve significantly.

 

– If you follow the ECHL transactions you noticed that Bryan Moore, who was recently traded to Wichita by Greenville, has been suspended by the Thunder. It is obvious he has failed to report to Wichita so the suspension is a way to remove him from the roster and retain his ECHL rights.

 

– I had a chance to check in with coach Martinson this morning and he verified that as expected, Justin Kapelmaster will get the start in goal tonight. When I asked Martinson the one thing the team needs to do better tonight he didn’t hesitate, “avoid odd man rushes” which accounted for three of the four goals last night.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW: In the first ECHL season (1988-89) there were just five teams and four of them made the playoffs. The #1 seed (Erie) lost to the #4 seed (Carolina) 4-0 in the first round. The #2 seed (Johnstown) beat the #3 seed (Knoxville) 4-0 in the first round. In the finals, called the Riley Cup at the time, the fourth seeded Carolina Thunderbirds won the cup beating the Johnstown Chiefs 7-4 on the road in game seven. Check out a few of the facts from the finals as the underdog Carolina Thunderbirds won the first ECHL championship.

– Carolina lost the first two games by a combined score of 14-2

– Game four was postponed because the Carolina rink ice melted because of compressor problems.

– After several fights in game six ECHL Commissioner Pat Kelly suspended three Carolina players for game seven.

– Playing on the road in the deciding game seven with just 11 skaters, Carolina beat Johnstown 7-4 to win the first Riley Cup.

 

The top three spots for most penalty minutes in an ECHL final series is still held by the three players from Carolina who were suspended for game seven. A record that has held since 1989:

95 PIMS – Steve Plaskon

68 PIMS – Michel Lanouette

58 PIMS – Bill Huard