Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Martinson & McMillin Post Game Comments, Stats & More

Was trying to come up with a catchy beginning for the blog this morning given it is the start of a new year and the Americans won last night. Thought about "it was a banner year," since Allen did raise a nice one,  thought about "one streak ends, one streak begins," since the Americans stopped Wichita's four game win streak and have their first three game win streak since the beginning of  November,  thought about a Texas Trifecta to start 2014:
Allen Americans 5-3
Texas Stars 6-5
Dallas Stars 3-2

In the end it is just one victory as Allen scored the only two goals in the third period and the final three goals of the game to win against a much improved Wichita Thunder team before 4904 fans at the Allen Event Center. The final score was 5-3 as the Americans out shot the Thunder in all three periods and 45-33 for the game. There seems to be a different energy and confidence surrounding this team. They will get to test this new found energy and confidence this weekend as they take on league leading Rapid City who won last night to extend their CHL record for consecutive wins on the road. Their road record now stands at 12-0-0.

Coach Martinson brought along Brian McMillin to the post game press conference. Here are their comments:


- The theme of the game tonight was we had a lot of puck possession however, we turned the puck over a lot in the neutral zone, turned the puck over between the blue line and the top of the circles in their zone trying to make plays that weren't working. As coaches we were trying to say make a strong play and get the puck in deep.

- Wichita plays strictly a man to man defense, they don't play any zone defense, so if you beat a guy one on one you need to go to the net. A good example of this was the Kerbashian goal where he beat his man one on one and went to the net and there was nobody there because they were all man on man.

- As a coach you are trying to get the players to focus on getting the puck in deep but part of the fun of playing hockey is carrying the puck and making plays. The plays we were trying to make weren't bad plays however they weren't working. As a player it is more fun to make plays than play dump and chase hockey. It is a little frustrating as they want to make plays but I was saying bear down, bear down, dump the puck.

- We had much more puck possession than Wichita. So even though the score was close we said if we could stay out of the penalty box in the third period we will win the game. We had a good third period against Tulsa on Saturday and that was what the guys were talking about in the locker room. Stay out of the box, get the puck in deep, make sure we have a guy high, you could hear the players talking about this between themselves.

- We played really strong in the third period, great puck possession in the zone and when you have that much puck possession I am a big believer in the percentages and the percentages were in our favor.

- We have been getting a lot of shots like tonight (45) in games where we have kept our penalties down. What has kept our shots down in some games has been our penalties. You have heard it from me for two years now that you can be physical and also stay out of the penalty box. We play teams so many times in the CHL if a guy gets the better of you on one shift don't retaliate, we try to instill in the players to get the number and take care of the issue later.

- I think the guys are having fun winning again. When you have fun success breeds success. We were finding ways to lose games as even though we were getting shots we were taking bad penalties and giving up too many 5 on 3 opportunities. Hopefully we have turned the corner on that. We have a huge weekend coming up against Rapid City to prove to everyone that we want to be the top team in the league at some point.


- It is good to be back in Texas and get a couple of wins.

- For me to be effective and get the ice time, doing well on face offs is important especially late in the game in our zone. It is something you have to work on and you hope you are the guy they want to put out there at the end of the game.

- I have played all forward positions in my career and you have to be comfortable in playing any position. When I play right wing I can be a little more offensive because you are starting ahead a little bit and don't have as much responsibility in the defensive zone. Playing center is something I have always done so it really doesn't matter where I play. Tonight I played with Fox and Asuchak and we played mostly against the Booras line and we not only shut them down we managed to score a goal so that was good.

- On the penalty kill it depends on the situation in the game. Sometimes only two groups kill the penalty if it is an important kill or late in the game but other times three groups will kill the penalty. Brian shared with Tommy Daniels in an interview recently that he learned early in his collegiate hockey career that if he wanted ice time he would have to be a good penalty killer. His first shift ever in college was a five on three penalty kill.

- Having to play on the big ice in Europe there is a lot more puck possession and skating. My style of play has always been more of a get the puck in, grind it out and get to the net. It is harder to play that style of hockey in the league I was in because of the size of the ice and also guys don't like to play that type of hockey. It forced me to skate more with the puck and that should help me now that I am back in the CHL.


- The three stars of the game were #1 Kale Kerbashian (1 goal, 2 assists, +2),  #2 Phil Fox (2 goals, 1 assist, +3), #3 Greger Hanson (2 assist, +2).
Kerbashian was games #1 star and is now 2nd in scoring for the Americans -

- Phil Fox has become the king of the empty net goals. The team has five on the year and he has three of them. (Tyler Ludwig & Jonathan Lessard have the others).

- The power play continues to struggle going 0-4 last night. The Americans have one power play goal in the last five games going 1-30 (3.33%). After leading the league early in the season with a power play percentage over 25% Allen has dropped to #5 and is now at 17.07%.

- The penalty kill was excellent last night holding the top power play unit in the CHL scoreless in three attempts. The Allen penalty kill is ranked #3 in the league at 84.85%.

- Alex Lavoie (40 points) has stretched his rookie point lead over Tulsa's Adam Pleskach (30 points) to ten points. Pleskach has not scored in his last five games.

- With Allen, Rapid City, and Missouri all winning last night the points race at the top of the CHL has not changed. Rapid leads with 44 points followed by Missouri with 41 points and Allen with 36 points. A sweep of Rapid City this weekend is a tall order but it would put Allen right back in the conversation for top team in the league.

DID YOU KNOW: On New Year's Eve in 2010 at the Allen Event Center the Americans defeated Tulsa 10-1 and set records for most goals scored and largest margin of victory. The franchise record for most points in a game was set by two players as both Dave Bonk (3 goals 3 assists) and Judd Blackwater (1 goal 5 assists)  both had six points in the game.

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