|Lukin, Berube and Bootland Help Raise The Championship Banner - photo by chlphotos.com|
- I know there are better pictures of the championship ring out there but wanted to share a couple I took with my phone so you can see the side view of the ring. On one side is the the players name with the Presidents' Cup and on the other side has Americans on the top, the Governor's Cup in the middle and the year on the bottom. Chip Crail (chlphotos.com) took some ring pictures which I will share later this week. Haven't asked but would assume Jim McKenzie and Todd Robinson will get their rings when Quad City (Jim) and Tulsa (Todd) visit the AEC.
- As for the hockey game itself the Americans lost 4-3 in a shootout. As was the case opening night Allen jumped out to a lead but could not put Wichita away and they came roaring back from a 2-0 deficit to take the lead 3-2 before Allen tied the score with less than three minutes to play. The Americans had several great chances in overtime but could not score. Kale Kerbashian scored in the shootout for the second game in a row but was the only American's player to score. Here is the shootout result. The colored blocks (Booras, Hendrickson & Kerbashian) indicate goal scored.
- The attendance for the home opener was 4911, a good but not great crowd. The average attendance last year was 4157 and it will be a great disappointment if the average isn't above 4500 this year.
- Don't normally complain about referees as these things even out over time but Trevor Harding, the referee for both Wichita games, seemed to struggle keeping up with the game. Thirty four infractions for twenty power plays does not make for a good hockey game. Inconsistent calls and too many calls along with too many missed infractions at the same time. The brawl that took place at the beginning of the third period was a direct result of the referee missing a cheap shot on Charles Lachance along the boards. I think both coaches would agree these were poorly officiated games. And the amount of time it took to sort at the penalties after the brawl was way too long. The consensus of the folks I talked to was the length of the game (3 hours 20 minutes) was an all time record.
- It was good to see how this team is sticking up for each other. There is no doubt the players have each others backs. The leadership shown by Daniel Tetrault on the ice against his old team was outstanding but there were a lot of players (Bootland, Berube, Kerbashian, Hendrikx) sending the message of "all for one."
- Look for additional roster moves in the coming days as the coaches try to improve the team with free agents. The number of free agents looking for jobs is very high according to some figures I saw on Twitter. Here are the numbers:
NHL - 33
AHL - 68
ECHL - 294
CHL - 92
The real key is looking at all of these players and finding the diamonds in the rough that you can sign at a reasonable price. Stay Tuned.
- A good sign of the balanced scoring predicted for the team this year is in the first two games the seven goals have been scored by six different players.
- Special teams are always a big key to success and the Americans have always excelled in the penalty kill with Jarret Lukin the best penalty killer in the league. The entire penalty kill unit has been outstanding the first two games with the penalty kill at 90% on 2 goals allowed in 20 chances. The power play has also excelled at 25% (4 for 16) which would be great if the team could keep that up.
- Talked to Phil Fox after the game and he will be on the ice for the first time since his surgery today. Just baby steps with trainer Osama Kassab supervising but another step on the road to recovery. There are home games on October 30 (Tulsa) and November 1 (Denver) and if all goes well we could see Phil back in the line up for one if not both of these games.
DID YOU KNOW: Defenseman Daniel Tetrault and Erik Adams, Community Relations and Game Operations Manager, were teammates in 2004-2005 playing for the New Mexico Scorpions (CHL). Their coach was former Americans coach Bill McDonald.