The Allen Americans lost to the Utah Grizzlies 4-1 last night before a crowd of 1723 at the Maverik Center. Once again the Americans were looking for a comeback as they gave up the first goal of the game for the sixth straight time against Utah. The Americans were als2 trailing 2-1 after the second period. Even though Allen had a big comeback on Wednesday to beat the Grizzlies, that is not the recipe for success. Prior to the five goal third period comeback win on Wednesday Allen’s record on the road when trailing after the second period was 1-10-0-0. Combine that with the fact Utah had not lost a game in regulation time at home all season when leading after the second period (10-0-1-1) the odds were stacked against the Americans last night.

 

– To their credit the Americans were able to tie the score after giving up the first goal early in the first period. Spencer Asuchak deflected a Les Lancaster shot from the point just after a power play expired but before the player was back in the play. It was Asuchak’s 21st goal of the season.  With the score tied 1-1 at the first intermission Allen fans had hope the Americans could overcome another slow start after giving up the first goal of the game. It was not to be as Utah scored the only goal of the second period to take the lead to 2-1, scored a power play goal early in the third period to increase the lead to 3-1 and added an empty net goal to make the final score 4-1.

 

– Allen’s record against Utah this season is now 10-5-0-1 with two games left to be played. The 4-1 loss last night was closer than the final score. Allen outshot the Grizzlies 34-28 and were not outshot in any period. The box score shows Utah winning the special teams battle going 1-5 on the power play while Allen was 0-3 but Allen’s lone goal was a power play goal scored just as a penalty expired.

 

– Utah got a great game from goalie Parker Gahagen who stopped 33 of Allen’s 34 shots for a save percentage of .971. Gahagen has been the ECHL Goalie of the Week the past two weeks. Parker has not played enough minutes (1200) to be included in the ECHL goalie stats but if he was he would rank #1 in GAA (2.05) and #1 in save percentage (.933).

 

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans:  https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap/americans-fall-to-utah-4-1/

 

– Here is the game recap from the Utah Grizzlies:  https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/ty-lewis-had-3-points-in-grizz-4-1-win

 

– Here are the video highlights from the Allen Americans YouTube channel:

 

 

 

– Game three of the four game series is tonight (8:10 pm CDT) with the finale on Sunday (2:10 pm CDT). Allen has to find a way to break the streak of six games that Utah has scored the first goal. When Americans score first their points percentage is .770. When they don’t score first the points percentage is just .444.

 

– Allen will have to generate more offense and reduce the goals allowed to win tonight. The magic number recently for Allen has been four goals. Over the last eight games Allen won the four games they scored 4+ goals. In the four games the Americans lost they gave up 4+ goals. It might be the case of first team to four goals wins tonight.

 

 

COACH’S CORNER

“It was a frustrating loss last night with the defensive breakdowns on the goals allowed.”

“Zane Franklin has been suspended for two games for a late hit that wasn’t called in the game.”

“Sam Laberge was injured in the second period and won’t play tonight and likely is out for the weekend.”

“Jake Paterson will get the start in goal tonight.”

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– After coach Martinson told me Zane Franklin had been suspended for two games I went back and looked at the play. Zane delivered a check along the side boards on Utah’s rookie and leading scorer Matthew Boucher. No penalty was called on the play and it looked like a clean hit though Boucher had passed the puck before the hit.

 

– Spencer Asuchak scored his 21st goal of the season last night. Spencer had eight goals in the first three month of the season. He has scored 13 goals in the last six weeks. Spencer continues to lead the ECHL in shooting percentage at 23.3%. He has 21 goals on just 90 shots.

 

–  Allen’s loss to Utah along with Wichita losing to Fort Wayne last night has tightened up the difference between first and fourth place in the Western Conference. Wichita (.656) is still in first place, followed by Fort Wayne (.651), Allen (.633) and Utah (.570) The same teams play again tonight.

 

– If you have been tracking AHL transactions you have noticed an uptick in players being loaned or released back to ECHL teams. Jack Sadek went back to Greenville from Ontario. Nick Boka was on a PTO with Ontario, was released and is now back with Fort Wayne. Wichita was sent four players from the Toronto Marlies who played with the Thunder early in the season. Three of the players are forwards and their points per game average in the games they played in Wichita (12-15) were some of the beast on the team. Their points per game average is ranked #2 (1.08), #3 (1.07) and #7 (.85). That is adding  a lot of firepower to an already strong Wichita team. My reporting is the four AHL players will be available tonight when the Thunder take on the Komets.

 

– There is a full slate of games in the ECHL tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of all seven games. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/5/echl-today-may-22

 

 

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the curse of finishing first in the regular season when it comes to the playoffs. FYI, in the Americans four championships they finished the regular season first (2012-13 CHL), third (2013-14 CHL), second (2014-15 ECHL) and sixth (2015-16 ECHL).

 

The curse of the Brabham Cup. A reminder as the ECHL regular season winds down. The winner of the regular season (Brabham Cup) rarely wins the playoffs (Kelly Cup). Just five times since the ECHL began 33 seasons ago (1988-89). And if you are not from Alaska the feat is almost impossible. Here are the five times a team has won the regular season championship and playoff championship in the same season. So be careful what you wish for if your favorite team is close but not currently in first place in ECHL points percentage.
2013-14 – Alaska
2010-11 – Alaska
2007-08 – Cincinnati
2005-06 – Alaska
1996-97 – South Carolina