Said yesterday the Allen vs. Denver game was a toss up and the best thing to do was sit back and enjoy two of the best teams in the league play hockey. The game last night, in which Allen won 3-2 in a shootout was fun to watch on many different levels. Here are just a few:
- The flow of the game was great in large part because of the referee. With only two penalties in the last 25 minutes the players got to settle the outcome rather than the referee. The third period and overtime was the best two way hockey we have seen at the AEC so far this year.
- It doesn't show up in the box score but the checking line led by Jarret Lukin shut down the top line in the league which isn't easy to do. Gale, Schwab, & Bembridge had one assist in the game and that was on the power play.
- Meanwhile, the second best scoring line in the league (Bootland, Lavoie & Lessard) had two goals and two assists.
- Great goalie play on both ends of the ice. The stop Denver goalie Kent Patterson made on John Snowden on the back door play late in the game was as good as you will see. David Brown was great in the shootout against some real snipers from Denver.
- How about the game winning goal by Darryl Bootland in the shootout, no fancy dekes, slick moves or corner shots, just a point blank slap shot that Patterson never saw.
Here is some of what Steve Martinson had to say after the game:
- I thought we were really physical in the first period to set the tone. It is not fun to play against us when we are hitting like that all the way through the line up.
- We had our worst penalty kill game of the year (2 goals in 6 attempts) which is what kept Denver in the game. On the first goal we had a guy out of position trying to do too much and on the second one we were trying to be too cute. With the strength of their first line we didn't want to give them too many power plays.
- You have to be pleased when you get 47 shots on goal as was the case tonight. (The Americans out shot Denver 47-28).
- I tried Schaafsma at the point tonight as our power play has not done well as of late and he gives us a shifty guy who can do a little of what Brett Skinner did for us last year.
- After the last game I had a talk with a couple of the players about improving their play and I thought they responded well tonight. It was an all around good team effort. It was the best game we have played all year.
- I am 99.9% certain Phil Fox will be activated and play in the Tulsa game on Saturday night. He looked great before his surgery. He scored at a higher rate with the Brahmas last year than anyone on the Americans (other than Scott Howes) and should add some additional punch to the offense.
- With Fox coming off of IR it will be necessary to put another player on IR. I don't plan on making any changes to the defensive group so Trevor Hendrikx will not play this weekend (unless there is an injury).
- I have been very pleased with the play of Garrett Klotz. His physical presence on the ice has been great, he talks to whoever needs to be talked to on the other team and is always positive on the bench and in the locker room. He is 6'5" 240 lbs. and probably has 6% body fat so not a lot of guys want to mess with him. He had a tough start to his career. As a 20 year old he was fighting the toughest, most experienced fighters in the AHL. Since joining the team he hasn't taken a penalty yet other then the fighting penalty. Garrett has a lot of upside.
- The young guys (Lavoie, Lessard, & Asuchak) have stepped up and delivered like we expected they would. Lavoie & Lessard are friends from back home, worked out together during the summer and have great chemistry on the ice.
- I wanted to have two tough wingers on the line with Alex Lavoie to protect him and after some early in the season experimentation putting Lessard & Bootland with him has really worked out well. Bootland has a great shot and is scoring like he did at the beginning of last year when he was healthy. He came into camp in great shape. Lessard is like a torpedo on the ice. He has a lot of speed but will also run guys over. He has taken more than a few guys by surprise with his physical play.
- Cory Tamblyn is an example of a guy who has carved out a role on the team as a defensive specialist playing against the other teams top line and on the penalty kill. He made the team by being in great shape and working hard in training camp. It is nice to see guys like that have success.
- At home, where the Americans get last change, it is easy to match up our checking line with the other teams top line. On the road, where that is hard to do, Tamblyn will get some time playing center, which is his natural position.
- I am sure both goalies would like more games but it is nice to have two goalies that are both playing well. We will continue to use them both in games. At this point we have two #1 goalies.
- The helmet rule does not apply once the fight has started. In the fight Klotz was in on Wednesday the other player pulled off Klotz's helmet during the fight. That is not a penalty.
- Mike Berube has goals in the last two games after not getting any goals last year. Guess that "C" is good luck. Mike had nine points last year (0 goals 9 assists) in 51 games. This year he already has three points (2 goals 1 assists) in only 7 games.
- Both David Brown and Bryan Pitton have the exact same GAA at 2.59
- Happy birthday to Darryl Bootland who turns 32 today and Jamie Schaafsma who turns the big 30 today. It crossed my mind that if you combined Bootland's beard and Schaafsma's hair you would have Duck Dynasty's Mountain Man who is appearing at the game on Sunday.
- If there was a statistic on most penalties drawn Alex Lavoie would lead the team by far. His quick, shifty moves draw a lot of penalties.
- Heard from Matt Canavan that there will be no more championship ring presentations at the AEC as the players are anxious to receive their rings so they will be shipped.
- Because the distance to Tulsa is less than 400 miles (it is about 270) the collective bargaining agreement allows for same day travel so the Americans will leave for Tulsa around noon and return immediately after the game. Makes for a long day. Tulsa, who lost again last night (4-3 to Missouri) is in last place in the league with two points and has yet to win a game. They made several player changes in the last couple of days waiving Thomas Beauregard and Tomas Klempa and signing Adam Pleskach. Tulsa is way better than their record shows so the Americans better show up ready to play.
- Charles Lachance who was waived by Allen last week, picked up by the Tulsa Oilers for one game and then waived signed a three game tryout contract yesterday with the Mississippi River Kings (SPHL). Charles was caught up in a numbers game with the Americans but if given a chance to play will do well in Mississippi.
- Lots of streaks remained intact last night including:
Bootland increased his scoring streak to 7 games
Lavoie increased his scoring streak to 6 games
The Americans continued their streak of having all home games (3) end in a shootout.
The streak of one goal games continue. All seven games thus far this season have been one goal games with the exception of the game with Quad City which was a two goal game because the Americans scored an empty net goal with five seconds remaining.
DID YOU KNOW: While Tyler Ludwig got the 100th point (regular season) of his pro career last night in his 214th game it took his dad, Craig Ludwig, over 300 games and almost six years to get his 100th point. Admittedly all of Craig's first 100 points were with the Montreal Canadiens.