Monday, February 24, 2014

Martinson Post Game Comments, Goalie Eric Levine Returns to Allen & More

It was "Faith & Family" night at the Allen Americans and for those that kept the faith through the recent tough times the hockey family gave them a reward in a 6-2 victory over the Quad City Mallards  before an enthusiastic crowd of 4329, topped off with a concert by former American Idol contestant, Jason Castro after the game. The Mallards certainly had an excuse for the loss having played four games in five days all on the road, arriving in Allen at 4:00 am for a 4:00 pm start while Allen had a rare Saturday off. It has been six weeks since the Americans have had a four goal victory where they were in control the entire game which made for a fun game to watch.


- It was so nice to be in the third period and know if the Mallards got a bunch of power plays we would still win the game. It was nice to get a couple of power play goals but it is the same old thing where Quad City is given eight power plays (Allen had five) and when you watch the game you wonder how you can get eight power plays out of that. It is really frustrating when you have a game like that and you just hope you have the offense to overcome all the power plays that they had. I am not going to give up in showing the league video when I think the facts show the wrong call was made. I am not going to wear out on this issue and will keep sending things in even if I don't get a response. If I am reading the tapes wrong I wish the league would educate me on how I am reading them wrong.

- Jamie Schaafsma had a great goal on an individual effort and Bryan Pitton had another great game in goal. He has really stepped up and will be the primary goalie going forward.

- Bruce Graham arrived in town tonight and will be at practice on Monday. Kale Kerbashian didn't make it past the first shift and aggravated an injury he has been dealing with and Phil Fox got dinged up so I may have to activate Graham for the game on Tuesday in Missouri. Will have to see how everyone is at practice.

- Bootland's surgery went well and best case scenario is he will be back in a couple of weeks and we would be lucky if he gets back that quickly. He has to be real careful not to get hit in that spot so we will be cautious.

- The penalty kill was better tonight giving up only one goal in eight opportunities.  I was frustrated with the one goal the Mallards got on the power play because we got out muscled in front of the net  which has been our down fall lately.

- Brian McMillin was great on the penalty kill blocking shots. Brian is really playing some strong hockey the last few weeks and we need his leadership by example. On the goal he scored you could hear Brian yell that he was open and Lessard listened. I have been playing Brian with Lavoie & Lessard to give them a veteran guy that can calm things down in the zone and provide  more defensive play.

- I thought we shot the puck well tonight and we got traffic in front of the net which is something we did not do enough of during the losing streak.

- I am bringing in Eric Levine as the second goalie. He is a rookie that has played well in the SPHL (Peoria). He was in camp with us this year and had a great collegiate career (Robert Morris University). We liked what he did in training camp.

- Bruce Graham will be a big help on the power play. I haven't given much thought to who will play with him on his line. At this point I just hope we have enough bodies to play. I think Hansen might work well with Bruce but I have really never seen Graham play so I will have to practice him and see who he has chemistry with. He can pass but he is also a goal scorer so you want guys on his line that can get him the puck. Fox or Bootland may work well with him but we will have to wait and see.

- Mark Guggenberger was released because for what he was making I was not happy with what he was doing. I tell players all of the time you have to pull your weight and he wasn't getting the job done so it was time to make a change.


- Lots of stars in a 6-2 victory but the official stars were Tyler Ludwig #1 with two goals and an assist, Alex Lavoie #2 with three assists, and Jamie Schaafsma #3 with two goals.

- Tyler Ludwig now leads all CHL defensemen with 15 goals.

- The second goal by Jamie Schaafsma was one for the highlight reel and proves what is always said about him that he can create his own offense. After going through two guys at the blue line with some fancy stick handling and drawing a penalty on the way to the net, almost being dragged down from behind, he somehow got the puck past the goalie. Talked to Jamie after the game and he had his hand on the stick backwards when he score the goal. Great effort!

- Brian McMillin had a goal for the third game in a row and has had the game winning goal in the last two games. He is already in playoff form.

- Jon Zion  had a goal and an assist  to continue his scoring streak which now stands at eight games. He has eleven points (3 goals 8 assists).

- Mentioned in the blog yesterday it would be nice if the referee was in the background and not noticeable during the game given the recent games he has had with Allen. Nothing could be farther from the truth as both coaches were unhappy. Mallard coach, Terry Ruskowski received a game misconduct penalty midway through the second period and Allen ended up on the short end of the penalty calls. For the record the last six times we have had this referee he has given more power plays to the opponents than to Allen. The totals for the six games is 42 power plays for the opponents and 23 power plays for Allen.

- Dallas Stars player Antoine Roussel, who is friends with Alex Lavoie and Jonathan Lessard was at the game last night and tweeted, "Great Game, Great Win, Great Team"

- Aaron Dell got his first AHL start last night for the Abbotsford Heat. Aaron recently signed a PTO with the Heat and had his first AHL action on Saturday when he played 27 minutes in relief and did not allow a goal. He got the start last night and played well, giving up only two goals as his team was shutout by the Chicago Wolves 2-0. So in these two games he has a GAA of 1.39 and save percentage of .929 which should get him more playing time. Congrats to Aaron and Kelly.

- Had a chance to meet Quad City super fan "Quacky" at the game yesterday. She has been with the Mallards on this entire road trip and was ready to get home. An active member of the CHLforums message board and defender of all things Mallard's it was good to put a face with a name.

Goalie Eric Levine Returns to Allen

- Eric Levine was the last goalie cut in training camp this year and has been playing well for the Peoria Rivermen in the SPHL. After losing seven of his first eight games he has gone 10-5 since. His overall record is 11-8-4 with a GAA of 2.70 and save percentage of .912. A sports psychology major in college he uses what he has learned in the classroom in his approach to playing professional hockey. Here is an article from a couple of weeks ago written by Lindsay Kramer from that talks about Eric's journey this year:

The only thing that Syracuse Crunch fill-in goalie Eric Levine is asking of pro hockey is a chance.
And he's pretty liberal with his definition of that word.
The rookie has tasted pro hockey at every significant level of the sport this season.
He went to training camp with Nashville of the NHL last summer. He stopped in to Allen (Texas) of the Central Hockey League and Louisiana of the SPHL this preseason. He's also visited Toledo of the ECHL, Quad City of the CHL and, last weekend, Syracuse of the AHL.
Levine brought his hockey gear to all of those teams, but for all the use it got he might as well have just dressed in a tuxedo. The only place he's actually played this season is with Peoria of the SPHL, where he is 10-7-4 with a 2.72 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.
Yet instead of seeing himself as the player on the outside with his nose pressed against the glass, Levine relishes the opportunity to sit in a wide range of various classrooms.
"It's a double-edged sword. Sitting on the bench is never fun anywhere,'' said Levine, who was returned from Syracuse to Peoria on Sunday. "As a first-year guy, I'm still learning about the game. Every level I've been in, the style of play is different. I've been trying to watch for what adjustments I have to make.
"When I was watching the game in Syracuse, I was trying to imagine how I would play in those situations. You only have one shot as a callup. When I go up there, I don't want it to be a one-and-done type of thing. When you get called up, you are thrown into the mix. I try to have a very functional callup.''
Levine's longest pro stretch came with Syracuse last year. He joined the Crunch as a practice goalie for two months once his career at Robert Morris University ended, but never got into a game.
"It's not going to be a sprint for me. It's going to be a long process,'' he said of his career. "If you make the most of your opportunities, eventually you will get a chance. The worst thing you can do is not be prepared for something. You are kind of paying your dues right now. That's where I'm at. One of these days I will be in a Crunch game and get to show what I can bring.''
Levine is chronicling his journey on an entertaining Twitter feed, @knobsave. He said he took that handle because of he's been known to frustrate teammates in practice with his knack of deflecting shots with that part of his paddle.
"For me, it always seems to pop up,'' he said. "The forwards hate it. They would lose their mind. They would think they should score on me.''

DID YOU KNOW: In the last five months Eric Levine has been part of every professional league in North America: Nashville (NHL), Syracuse (AHL), Toledo (ECHL), Quad City & Allen (CHL) and Peoria (SPHL).

1 comment:

  1. Sheesh, what an underachiever. He didn't make a stop in the FHL?