The vast majority of nights since Allen joined the ECHL in 2014 you could chalk up a win when the Americans scored first, had a lead after the first period and won the special teams battle. Not the case last night as the Americans got blown out 6-1 by the Rapid City Rush before a crowd of 2226 at the Monument.

 

– How unusual was the game last night? Just looking at last season, Allen won 80% of the points when it scored first, had a record of 24-2-2-1 when leading after the first period and that doesn’t factor in winning the special teams battle. Yes, last night the team was missing players, was missing its coach and the starting goalie got injured but it is clear Steve Martinson has his worked cut out to get this defensive deficient team turned around.

 

– Allen scored the first goal of the game at the 3:51 mark of the first period on the power play. Spencer Asuchak scored his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Chad Costello and Gavin Gould but that was all the offense Allen could muster. Rapid City out shot Allen in every period and 44-34 for the game. The Rush scored six unanswered goals after trailing 1-0 after the first period. It didn’t help that starting goalie, Antoine Bibeau, left the game with an injury early in the second period but you aren’t going to win many games allowing 44 shots on goal. The Americans have now lost seven of eight games this season when being outshot by the opponent.

 

– Historically Allen has been a decent third period team but this season it has been the Achilles heal. The Americans have been outshot in the third period 139-95 and have allowed a league leading 22 goals in the third period while scoring only 10. Again, you will not win many games when scoring less than half the goals of your opponent in the third period. Not sure if it is a lack of conditioning but this season won’t get turned around until the team plays better late in games. Allen fans are used to seasons like 2014-15 and 2016-17 when Allen was never out of a game no matter the score. The Americans outscored their opponents 92-68 in the third period in 2014-15 and 120-59 in 2016-17.

 

– As long as Allen is the worst team in the league in shots allowed (37.82) and the second worst in goals allowed (4.82) this bleeding will not stop. The Americans are a long way from the best in the ECHL in shots allowed (Jacksonville – 24.50) and goals allowed (Tulsa – 2.11).

 

– Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans:  https://allenamericans.com/media/rush-put-the-game-away-in-the-third-as-the-americans-fall-6-1/

 

– Here is the game recap from the Rapid City Rush:   https://www.rapidcityrush.com/en/news/2021/11/rush-hammer-americans-6-1

– Here is the highlight link: youtu.be/ka7qy1H_Rzc

 

COACH’S CORNER – STEVE MARTINSON

– Needless to say coach Martinson was not pleased with the team’s performance last night. He hadn’t seen the video or breakdown of the game when I talked with him early this morning but was interested in reviewing the play where Antoine Bibeau was injured and had to come out of the game:
“Hayden Lavigne will start in goal tonight and the backup will be an EBUG.”
“We had better puck possession and speed last night but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities and had too many turnovers.”
“It was a double whammy in we didn’t covert on our offensive chances and played poor defensively.”
“I haven’t reviewed the game yet but my guess is Rapid City had a big advantage in blocked shots again and we missed the net a lot. Both contributed to the shot discrepancy.”
“I have never had a team with so many players that need to be converted to being smart defensive players. If it doesn’t start at the top you need to move the top line down to play against the other teams second or third line. It is not about how much you score, it is about whether you are out playing the line you are playing against.”
When I asked Martinson about pulling the goalie late in the game when trailing 5-1 he said, “In my experience teams that do that are more concerned with offense than defense and are just looking to get points.””We have too many players in the lineup that aren’t in position to be the best players they can be because of conditioning.”

ALLEN VS RAPID CITY REMATCH

– Allen was fortunate to get the shootout win on Wednesday being outshot 45-23. If the Americans want to come home tomorrow on a winning note they must play better defensively tonight. Giving up 89 shots in two games is not the formula for success. If Allen gives up another 40+ shots tonight it will lose. The team leadership should set one goal, play well enough defensively to outshoot Rapid City. The Americans haven’t lost this season when outshooting their opponent, unfortunately it has only happened twice in 11 games. When the Americans have been outshot this season their record is 1-6-2-0.

 

– Darian Skeoch will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out last night serving the second of his two game suspension. The ECHL approved postponing his suspension on Wednesday because Allen was short three players. The league apparently thought it was okay for Allen to play short last night (one short) since they made Skeoch sit out.

 

– Here is the game preview from the Allen Americans:  https://allenamericans.com/media/190681/

 

OTHER COMMENT

– Every team in the Mountain Division with the exception of Allen and Tulsa earned points last night. Games played varies from nine (Tulsa) to 13 (Idaho) so points percentage is the best way to look at the standings:

.722 – Tulsa
.615 – Idaho
.583 – Utah
.545 – Kansas City
.500 – Wichita
.455 – Rapid City
.364 – Allen

Something to keep in mind is Allen has struggled thus far but has still not played the top two teams in the division. Allen’s three wins have come against Wichita (2) and Rapid City (1).

 

– Newfoundland won again last night beating Reading 3-2 on the road. The Growlers remain the class of the league despite not having a home rink and not having certainty where they will play home games. Newfoundland is undefeated on the road in five games and leads the ECHL in points percentage at .818. The Growlers visit Allen for three games in January (28, 29, 30) and it will be an opportunity for Allen fans to see what will likely be the best ECHL team at the time and a certain Kelly Cup contender.

 

DID YOU KNOW:  Allen’s third period goals for and goals against since joining the ECHL:

2021-22:  10-22 (thru 11 games)
2020-21:  72-65
2019-20:  86-64
2018-19:  68-97
2017-18:  79-88
2016-17:  120-59
2015-16:  76-65
2014-15:  92-68