There are so many good things to say about the game last night as the Americans had their first four goal victory since early November beating the St. Charles Chill 5-1 in a game they controlled from the opening face off to the final buzzer. Playing before the third largest crowd of the season (2636) at The Family Arena in St. Charles, the Americans were led by the game's #1 star Jamie Schaafsma (2 goals 1 assist) and the #2 star John Snowden (1 goal 3 assists). To quote Tommy Daniels, "Mark Guggenberger had his best outing of the season stopping 29 of 30 shots." I'm sure this performance made for a more pleasant 11 hour bus ride home as the team is not expected to arrive back in Allen until around 10:00 am this morning (Saturday) and will be back at it against Tulsa tonight at 7:05 pm.
MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS:
- We played a stronger game tonight all the way around. It was good to see Schaafsma score a couple of goals.
- Our goal scoring has been fine (3rd in the league with 93) but we need better team defense and we got that tonight.
- It is important that we build off the positives from this game and carry this over for tomorrow night against Tulsa.
- Mark Guggenberger needed a strong game and he got that tonight. We need his all-star performances going forward.
- I talk a lot about the plus/minus stat and how the Americans have struggled when even strength. Another positive from the game last night as all five goals came even strength. The Americans were +25 for the game led by Mike Berube & John Snowden who were both +4. The Chill were -25 for the game.
- How great was it to hear the names of Schaafsma and Snowden so many times last night. Guys who have taken some heat for their lack of scoring early in the year have really picked it up. Since Snowden returned to the line up 13 games ago he has 14 points (5 goals 9 assists). Schaafsma has scored in four games in a row and five of the last six. In his last six games Jamie has 8 points (3 goals 5 assists) to go along with a +7.
- The power play continues to misfire going 0-4 last night and is 0-18 in the last three games. For the month of December the power play is 4-41 or 9.8%. While the power play is still ranked #4 in the league at 17.76%, in a pattern similar to last year, the power play percentage was over 25% early in the year and has been slowly declining the past two months.
- As good as the victory was against St. Charles, if the team does not come out with a similar effort against Tulsa tonight and get a victory the team will not have proven anything. They will be exhausted from the long trip home while Tulsa got to sleep in their own beds last night and will make the short trip to Allen this afternoon. Add that advantage to the 8-2 shellacking Tulsa took at home last night from the Wichita Thunder and the Oilers will be a tough team to beat. It will be a gut check for the Americans for sure but they need a big win at home under these conditions to show what this team can be.
- Brian McMillin did meet the team in St. Charles yesterday but was sent on to Allen to get settled and also get some rest. He should be ready to go and would expect to see him in the line up against Tulsa tonight. It will be nice to see #9 back with the Americans.
- Jarret Lukin is still out of the line up and will not be playing in the near future.
- Garrett Clarke was back in the line up for the Arizona Sundogs last night for the first time since breaking his jaw and suffering a concussion. The Sundogs lost to Denver 3-2.
- Another former Americans player, Scott Howes, had two goals in a loosing cause as Quad City beat Brampton 5-4. Scott has now played in three games for the Beast and scored in all three. He has five points (2 goals 3 assists). If he stays healthy look for him to get called up to the AHL.
- Missouri beat Rapid City (in Rapid) for the second consecutive night and is now only one point behind the Rush in the standings. Another back and forth battle which the Mavericks won 4-3. The Rush have only lost five games all year but three of those losses have come at the hands of the Mavericks in Rapid City. They play again tonight and this will be for first place.
- Wichita beat Tulsa last night 8-2 in Tulsa. The Thunder are starting to play better hockey as they have just finished a stretch of nine games with seven of the nine being on the road. They had a 6-3 record in these nine games. Most everyone expected to see Wichita get things turned around after an abysmal start and that might be happening.
DID YOU KNOW: The first place Rapid City Rush have the worst penalty kill unit in the CHL at 77.78%. It is the second lowest penalty kill percentage in the last five years. Only Dayton in 2010-2011 was lower at 76.69%.