If there was ever a gut check victory it was the 7-4 win last night over the Tulsa Oilers. For starters the team was playing their third game in as many nights which included over 1100 miles of travel. To make matters worse they had a wheel issue on the bus when returning from St. Charles (1:00 am Saturday morning) which not only delayed them but required them to get a replacement bus which was a regular coach bus, not a sleeper bus like the team bus. So when Tulsa came roaring back in the second period from a 3-0 deficit it would have been easy for this exhausted, sleep deprived team to throw in the towel. Instead they worked their butts off and scored three unanswered goals in the third period, a natural hat trick by Tyler Ludwig, to win 7-4 before a great crowd of 5372 at the Allen Event Center.
It was a dream homecoming for Brian McMillin who played in his first game after signing with the Americans earlier in the day. Brian received his championship ring in a ceremony prior to the game, had a goal, an assist, was a +3 and was named the #1 star. Welcome home Brian!
MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS:
- We had a great first period out shooting them 20-6 and got a 3-0 lead early in the second period and we are looking good and then we give up a couple of power play goals, a four on four goal and a short handed goal and I am sure you were all thinking here we go again. Tyler Ludwig must have changed his stick there in the third period. What we were trying to do is use Tyler on the off side because he has good foot speed and can bring the puck to the inside but the power play has not been clicking. We switched things around and put Tyler with a left shot guy so he can one time the puck because he is very good at that. Tyler started one timing the puck like he did last year when we had Brett Skinner dishing him the puck.
- There were a lot of positives in the game. We are not completely there yet obviously as our penalties get us into trouble. You can be physical without taking penalties. I think it is hard for our guys to know exactly what is going to be called a penalty but we have to be smart, we have to learn a little bit every game. I can't stand the stick penalties, the slashing and hooking and holding. I tell the players just don't slash the guy, just skate and take an extra step, don't take a short cut.
- I like our team and know we can beat any team in the league with the talent we have. We have to back it up but we can do it. McMillin had a nice game with a goal, assist and a +3. Keep in mind Brian has not skated in game conditions for over a month. I was trying to keep an eye on his shifts.
- I am still trying to get three lines that can score so I am juggling a little bit and trying different combinations but I am excited going forward this week. We have some big games this week with Wichita and Rapid City. The third period tonight was a big boost for us. We need to build on the positives and try to work on eliminating the negatives.
- Our first forward is coming back fine on defense but we need all the forwards coming back full speed. We work on back checking drills all the time in practice but have too many breakdowns in the games.
- We did a great job on face offs against Todd Robinson who is one of the best. Brian McMillin in particular did excellent job in winning draws.
- Our team needs to be better defensively and Brian McMillin brings a combination of a top defensive forward along with some goal scoring. You can put him in any position and in any situation. It is difficult to trade a player like John Snowden. John has worked hard and is in as good as shape as anytime in his career. He is going to a situation in St. Charles where they need offensive skill. He will get top line ice time, power play time and it will be a great opportunity for him. John did everything we asked of him while he was in Allen.
- Mark Guggenberger is playing well but is not getting the support. If you look at tonight's game Tulsa scored two back door goals where the goalie has no chance. Two of the Oiler goals went off our players. Mark has been an all star in the CHL and was the 2nd best goalie in the ECHL last year. We have to do a better job supporting him. He works hard and stays positive.
- To be successful the rest of the year we need to eliminate mistakes, take fewer penalties, and make the other team beat us with good plays. If you look at shots on goal the last few games it is obvious we are winning the puck possession battle so if we just eliminate mistakes we will be fine.
- With seven goals in the game Allen has moved into second place in goals scored in the CHL with 100. Tulsa has the distinction of scoring the most goals in the league (113) but also allowing the most goals in the league (118).
- Allen had an edge in special teams going into this game as their power play was #4 in the league while Tulsa was #6. On the penalty kill Allen was #3 and Tulsa was #9. The results favored Tulsa however, as they scored two power play goals in six chances plus a short handed goal. Allen did manage one power play goal in eight chances. It was the first power play goal in four games and the power play is now 1-26 (3.8%) in the last four games.
- Tyler Ludwig's hat trick gives him six goals for the season which places him third in the CHL among defensemen in goals scored.
- As the Americans approach the half way point in the season (January 11th) there are still seven players that have not missed a game. The ironmen are Asuchak, Berube, Kerbashian, Lavoie, Tyler & Trevor Ludwig, and Tetrault.
- John Snowden played for St. Charles last night and continued his scoring streak with an assist in a loosing cause. I want to pass along my best wishes to John and his family as they move back to the upper midwest where they have been before when John played for Bloomington and Quad City. John and Janelle met when he was playing for Bloomington and they have lots of friends in the area.
- The attendance last night (5372) was the largest in the league of the five games played. The larger crowds should be more consistent now that high school football has finished. Allen's average attendance is about the same as the average for the entire season last year and will increase in the coming months.
- The three stars of the game last night were #1 Brian McMillin, #2 Tyler Ludwig & #3 Trevor Ludwig.
- With three assists in the game Alex Lavoie extended his rookie points lead over Tulsa's Adam Pleskach to nine points. It appears to be a two man race as Alex has 39 points, Pleskach has 30 points and third place Thomas Frazee (Quad City) has 21 points.
- Wichita won again last night defeating St. Charles 3-2 for their third straight win. They have won 7 of their last 10 games and are on the move. The Thunder play St. Charles again tonight in Wichita and will be in Allen on Tuesday. Don't forget the start time on Tuesday has been changed to 6:05 pm.
- Rapid City salvaged their three game series with Missouri winning last night 7-4 after loosing the first two games. The Rush have a three point lead over the Mavericks in the standings.
DID YOU KNOW: Five former Allen Americans had points in CHL games last night. Scott Howes (2012-2013), Jim McKenzie (2011-2013), Todd Robinson (2012-2013), John Snowden (2013-2014) and Steve Kaunisto (2011-2012).