Sunday, January 5, 2014

Martinson Post Game Comments, Ludwig Update, CHL Attendance Down, Stats & More

The old sports adage says in order to be the best you have to beat the best. The Allen Americans took a step in the right direction this weekend handing Rapid City their first two road losses of the season. Last night it was a 4-3 victory before a crowd of 4352 at the Allen Event Center. Goals by Alex Lavoie, Phil Fox, Tyler Ludwig and the game winner by Kale Kerbashian led the way. The Americans two wins over the Rush combined with two losses by Missouri at the hands of the Brampton Beast has tightened up the CHL standings. Allen is now just four points behind Rapid City who has two games in hand and only one point behind Missouri who has one game in hand.  The Americans have a few days to heal what appeared to be some pretty banged up bodies before taking on the Denver Cutthroats next Friday & Saturday.

Coach Martinson is pleased with five game win streak - photo by SceneByKimberly

- To sum up that game, we had a really good first period, a really bad second period, and a nice strong third period. Getting 20 shots in the first period was a great start and their goalie I thought played well. They replaced their goalie in the second period and we got a power play right away to try and go up 4-1. Rather than trying what has been working for us with one timers from Tyler Ludwig when we were 5 on 3 we tried to force the puck in the middle, it gets turned over and Rapid ends up with a penalty shot. Once they killed off that 5 on 3 Rapid City got a ton of momentum.

- Rapid is the best team we have played all year down low. They give our defense fits on their cycling. They have great foot speed and are tough to beat. You have to be on your "A" game to beat them so getting two victories this weekend was very satisfying.

- Some different guys have stepped up to help us win two games this weekend. And I am not done as my daughter has a game in the morning at 7:30 and my son has a game at 9:20.

- We won't know for sure about Trevor Ludwig until he is seen by a specialist and has surgery to repair the tendons. I looked it up and recovery time could be several months to six months as it depends on the situation. There is a chance he could be back for the playoffs but we won't know until he sees the specialist.  They had to stitch him up because the cut was so bad but they will have to open it back up and do surgery to repair the inside.

- We are trying to play smarter and take fewer penalties and we are doing better. The check by Hendrikx for which he was penalized was a beautiful hit. With seven minutes to go I was saying no big hits because you don't know how the referee will call them. It was a shoulder right to the chest and you know it is a questionable call when they called it roughing.

- On any power play you can't control what the other team does. What we have to do is read and react. If they collapse we need to get pucks to the point and get guys in front of the net. That is what has been working and we need to continue to do that. Saucer passes into the middle won't work because Rapid collapses. When you try and force the play rather than read and react you end up with turnovers and in the case tonight a penalty shot.

- I watch a lot of NHL games and when you see what they try to do on 5 on 3 you would think they had not worked on it. I say to myself the NHL coach has to deal with the same issues I have to deal with. That is why you practice over and over again so players make the right decision in the game.

- I see Scott Howes had the first four goals tonight in Brampton's win over Missouri. If he keeps going like that I guarantee he will be in the AHL. I like Scott to do well, just not against us. He is a great guy on and off the ice and we really like him. Let's just hope he stays healthy.

- Rapid City did not do anything different tactically in the second period when they took control, it was all hard work and hustle.


- Going into the series with Rapid City, Allen had an advantage on special teams and that proved to be the difference in both wins. For the weekend the Allen penalty kill held the Rush scoreless in all five opportunities. The power play scored both nights and was 3-8 in the two games. With the 3-8 this weekend Allen's power play has moved to second place in the league (behind Brampton) at 85.29 %.

- Kale Kerbashian's game winning goal last night was his fourth game winning goal of the season which leads the team.

- Tyler Ludwig had 10 shots on goal, he scored a power play goal and now has goals in four straight games. He has a total of six goals in the last four games and leads all CHL defensmen with nine goals for the season.

- Alex Lavoie with a goal and an assist last night has extended his rookie points lead again. Here are the top four rookie point scorers in the CHL.
1. Alex Lavoie -        43
2. Adam Pleskach -   31
3. Thomas Frazee -    22
4. Spencer Asuchak - 19

- Mike Berube had two assists last night and now has 12 points (3 goals 9 assists). He is on pace to have the best offensive stats of his four years in Allen. Here is a comparison:
2013-2014: 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists)
2012-2013:  9 points (0 goals, 9 assists)
2011-2012: 12 points (3 goals 9 assists)
2010-2011: 16 points (0 goals, 16 assists)

- The three stars of the game were #1 Kale Kerbashian, #2 Tyler Ludwig, #3 Phil Fox.

- In looking at the CHL results for the past week the winners were Allen and Denver as they were the only 3-0 teams this week. At the other end of the spectrum were Tulsa and Wichita who both went 0-3 for the week.

- As the CHL approaches the half way point in the season attendance continues to lag from last year. Average attendance this year is 3421 which lags last year by 285 per game. Only three teams are averaging more than last year as Tulsa is up 531 per game, Quad City 296 per game and Allen 8 per game. The two biggest losers in average attendance are Denver who is down 1619 and Wichita who is down 1160. Denver's average attendance (1371) is at historical low levels for the CHL.

- For those of you that live in the Allen area you are invited to join us Tuesday (January 7th) from 6:00 - 7:00 pm in the Heritage Ranch Clubhouse for a discussion with a couple of players to get to know them better personally and professionally. It hasn't been confirmed yet so the names could change but we are hoping to have Phil Fox and Greger Hanson join us along with Greger's wife, Andrea. It should be fun and as usual there will be a drawing for free tickets/prizes.

DID YOU KNOW: In 2005-2006 the average attendance in the CHL was 4663, all 15 teams averaged over 3000, six averaged over 5000, and Oklahoma City led the league in attendance with an average of 8609.

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