Words are hard to find for what happened at the Allen Event Center (AEC) last night as a crowd of 2530 watched Allen lose to Fort Wayne 5-4 in overtime. It was certainly one for the ages and defied all odds. For much of the game it looked like Allen would cruise to a 2-0 series lead. In game one on Friday night Allen out shot Fort Wayne 18-11 in the first period and came away with a two goal lead. Last night Fort Wayne outshot Allen 18-9 in the first period but the Americans had a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
– The second period was all Americans as they outshot Fort Wayne 16-12 and outscored them 2-0 and had one goal disallowed that many thought was a good goal. Instead of a 5-1 lead after the second period Allen had a lead of 4-1. I am sure most everyone saw this game in the win column for Allen when you consider in its 10 game win streak dating back to May 28 the Americans allowed three goals in an entire game just once let alone in one period. If truth be known, though I am sure they would never admit it, the Komets also thought the game was lost. With the score 4-1 going into the third period, Fort Wayne inserted former Allen goalie, Justin Kapelmaster, into the game presumably to give starter Dylan Ferguson a rest. Kapelmaster hadn’t played a single minute in Fort Wayne’s first six games of the playoffs. To his credit, Justin did his job stopping all eight shots that came his way but the game turned on what was happening at the other end of the ice.
– As Fort Wayne beat writer, Justin Cohn, posted after the game, The Komets had one of the most remarkable victories of their 69 year history.” The Americans self destructed defensively and Fort Wayne came roaring back. The first goal at the 7:56 mark cut the score to 4-2 but the gut punch was two goals within 54 seconds to tie the game. To add insult to injury the goal that tied the game came on the power play, the only power play of the game. Allen had plenty of opportunity to put the game away on the power play but failed to convert on seven attempts. Fort Wayne wasn’t much better missing on its first five power play attempts but came up big when it counted. Allen’s power play is now dead last in the playoffs at 8.0% (2-25).
– The way the Americans played in the third period was predictive on how this game would end. A costly turnover from behind the net gave the puck to a Fort Wayne player in the slot and the game was history. A game Allen should have never lost has now put them in a hole. With the series tied 1-1 the Americans will have to win two of three in Fort Wayne to advance.
– A lot of hard work went down the drain in that loss and it is easy to look back at the lost opportunities to win that game. That’s playoff hockey. Time to look forward.
– Goal scorers for Allen were Sam Laberge (2), Scott Conway (3), Brett Neumann (4) and Corey Mackin (3). Here are the video highlights from the Allen Americans YouTube channel:
– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/news/general/americans-blow-third-period-lead-as-komets-even-the-series/
“On the disallowed goal the officials told me the puck appeared to cross the goal line but it was because of distortion of the camera angle so they disallowed the goal. I disagreed, the puck clearly changes direction from bouncing on the ice while on its side, not due to camera parallax.”
“The defensive breakdowns in the third period and overtime were just gifts that ended up in goals.”
“When you give away a game like that all you can do is look ahead. Instead of winning one game in Fort Wayne, we have to win two.”
“We had the chance to increase our lead with the seven power play opportunities but could not convert. The one power play they scored was the difference in the game.”
– Fort Wayne wasn’t the only road comeback winner last night. In the Eastern Conference Finals, South Carolina was trailing Greenville 2-0 at the second intermission and scored three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat Greenville 3-2 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Stingrays scored the game tying goal with just over three minutes remaining in the game and the game winner with just 20 seconds remaining. The series now moves back to South Carolina for game four and if necessary, game five.
– It is times like this, after a very tough loss, a team needs veteran leadership to step up and Allen has plenty of guys that fill that role.. It is up to them to get the team focused and ready to play Monday night. When I talked to coach Martinson this morning he told be he said very little to the team after the game other than “we gave the game away” and “we need to be ready to go in Fort Wayne” to win two of three. Dyson Stevenson, one of those veteran leaders, will make the trip to Fort Wayne but it remains to be seen if he will be in the lineup or behind the bench.
– The Americans will rest up this morning and reassemble this afternoon for their flight to Fort Wayne. The Komets left right after the game on their team bus for the 1000 mile trip home. With the way the Komets came back to win the game, getting on the bus for that long ride was probably enjoyable.
– A reminder the next game is tomorrow night and the teams will play every night next week until one them wins three games. Remember, start time for games in Fort Wayne is 6:30 CDT.
DID YOU KNOW: Allen is no stranger to winning on the road on the way to the Kelly Cup. In 2016 Allen was 2-1 on the road in the second round (Missouri), 2-0 on the road in the conference finals (Fort Wayne) and 2-1 on the road in the Kelly Cup finals (Wheeling).