Spencer Asuchak’s second shorthanded goal in a week, late in the third period last night led an Allen comeback and forced overtime but the Americans lost 3-2 to the Idaho Steelheads. Allen had no answer for Idaho rookie, Yauheni Aksiantsuik, who scored all three Idaho goals and now leads all ECHL rookies in goals (8).
– It was another poor start for Allen as Aksiantsuik scored his first goal just 24 seconds after the opening puck drop. Allen replied at the 3:57 mark of the first period on Jackson Leppard’s fifth goal of the season. That was the extent of the goal scoring until midway through the second period when Aksiantsuik scored his second goal on the power play. Idaho’s 2-1 lead after the second period was a bad omen as Allen has lost all six games this season when trailing after the second period.
– The third period was scoreless until the Americans were killing their eighth penalty of the game and Asuchak scored an unassisted shorthanded goal to tie the score 2-2 and send the game to overtime. Aksiantsuik, the sixth round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2020, ended the game at 2:45 of overtime to complete his hat trick and send the sellout crowd of 5178 home happy.
– Allen was able to scratch out a point which it sorely needed but still has some work to do. Recently, every time the Americans play well defensively and keep the goals allowed low, their offense fails them. Last night Allen did a great job in holding Idaho to just two regulation time goals but it took a heroic shorthanded goal to get a tie and one point. The Americans managed only 20 shots on goal, Idaho had 32.
– Part of the reason for the low shot total was Allen spent almost an entire period on the penalty kill. The Americans gave up a season high eight power play opportunities to Idaho but to their credit, Allen allowed just one power play goal. It is hard to generate offense when spending so much time killing penalties.
– Allen’s power play was 0-4 last night after going 0-3 in game one of the series. Idaho had a power play goal in both games which they proved to be the difference.
– Allen has been a good 3-on-3 overtime team with a record of 17-9 over the last two seasons. After last night’s loss Allen is 0-3 in overtimes this season.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap/game-recap-americans-lose-in-overtime-3-2/
– Here is the game recap issued by the Idaho Steelheads: https://www.idahosteelheads.com/en/articles/aksiantsiuk-hat-trick-steals-show-in-steelheads-3-2-ot-win
– Here is the link to the video highlights: youtu.be/uDJRDMryJQE
– It is imperative Allen scratch out a win tonight in the third game of the series against Idaho. It is easy to say the team is playing without some key players but each loss digs the hole deeper that Allen must crawl out of. With 20% of the season already in the books, you can’t keep saying the team will be okay when everyone gets healthy.
– The difference between winning and losing is such a fine line. A few more shots, a few less turnovers, a little better special teams play is all it will take to come out the winner. After the game tonight Allen will have a week off until it plays Rapid City at home on Sunday, December 5. It will be time to recover, get healthy and practice. It would be nice to have a win tonight going into next week.
– The referee scheduled tonight is Riley Yerkovich (#7) who was the referee in the first two games of this series. In game one, each team had three power play opportunities. Last night Utah had eight power play chances, Allen had four.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“We played better defensively and were closing in on players quicker.”
“We need to improve our time of possession in the offensive zone. That is a stat that has gone down over the last couple of weeks with players out of the lineup.”
“The power play is still not operating like I would like to see. We will make additional adjustments for the next game.”
“I will make a lineup change for the final game but haven’t decided the mix I want to have between defensemen and forwards.”
“It’s tough when you have to kill so many penalties (8) and have so few power play opportunities. Officially we had four but one was for 20 seconds.”
– Spencer Asuchak is Allen’s all time leader in shorthanded goals. His shorty last night was his second of the season and 11th with the Americans. The shorty last night extended Asuchak’s point streak to nine games, the second longest point streak in the ECHL currently. He also leads the Americans in scoring with 17 points (5G, 11A) in 14 games.
– The game last night was the fourth straight sellout for Idaho and the fifth in seven home games this season. The Idaho Central Arena has a capacity of 5095 for hockey and the Steelheads average attendance this season is 4864.
– Newfoundland beat Maine 4-2 on the road last night. The Growlers road record is now 8-0 which is top ten all time for consecutive road wins. The longest road win streak ever was set in 2015 by South Carolina who won 13 straight.
– There were a couple of one-sided games in the ECHL last night. Trois-Rivières beat Reading by eight goals (9-1), the second largest margin of victory this season. Worcester beat Adirondack by seven goals (8-1) which is the third largest margin of victory this season.
– Allen has a team plus/minus of -89 which isn’t a surprise given its record. Just one player has a positive plus/minus. Defenseman Darian Skeoch is +3.
– One way to look at how Allen is losing ground in the Mountain Division standings is in points earned in the last 10 games. Total points this season is in parenthesis:
14 points – Idaho (20)
14 points – Utah (18)
13 points – Wichita (15)
12 points – Tulsa (13)
8 points – Rapid City (14)
7 points – Kansas City (13)
7 points – Allen (11)
– There are 11 games on tap tonight in the ECHL. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of all of the games. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/11/echl-today-nov-27
DID YOU KNOW: Special teams are so important to success. In the ECHL Stats post today I looked at the team’s with the best penalty kill percentages. Allen’s penalty kill percentage this season is ranked #20 at 78.9%. The Americans have never finished a season with a penalty kill percentage below 81.4%. In their Kelly Cup championship seasons the Americans penalty kill percentage was 86.4% (2016) and 87.5% (2015)
In the last three ECHL seasons, no team has finished with a penalty kill percentage above 88%. Thus far this season, four teams have a penalty kill percentage above 88%: