You can't say enough about how the team performed in Rapid City coming away with four points against one of the best teams in the league. Playing with only 14 skaters many of which are banged up, it was a gutsy performance for sure. Had a chance to swap messages with Tommy Daniels, voice of the Americans, after the game and Tommy described the games as a playoff atmosphere with lots of intensity. About the game last night Tommy had this to say, "It was like a great chess match with the Americans answering every Rapid City move. Spencer Asuchak was the best player on the ice tonight and really worked hard at both ends. The Americans earned a hard two points in the toughest building in the CHL to win in."
STEVE MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS:
- The power play was outstanding going 4-9 with goals by Tetrault, Asuchak, Graham & McMillin though the official score sheet shows 4-10. The McMillin game winning goal from Lavoie, after the Rush tied the score 5-5 with less than five minute remaining on a strange shorthanded goal, was clutch.
- The team really defended well especially in the first two periods as we only gave up 12 shots. The third period was difficult especially killing back to back penalties. Rapid City scored with one second remaining on the second penalty.
- It was a gutsy performance by a lot of banged up guys, especially Jamie Schaafsma whose versatility has really helped the team lately. I plan on giving Jamie more time at defense as it will be good insurance as we start the playoffs.
- I like where we are headed right now. We are 8-2 in our last ten games and have several players that will get stronger every game as we go forward. Bruce Graham is an offensive force already but will get better, Darryl Bootland has only skated a couple of times in the last month and Anthony Maiani is still getting into game shape.
- I put Phil Fox on the 14 day injured reserve as he tore up his shoulder pretty bad. According to the doctors the recovery time is 6-8 weeks so he is done for the year in all likelihood. Phil has done everything he can to stay in the lineup through some very tough injuries this year. A true professional who I had to literally take out of the lineup as he wanted to continue to play.
- Kale Kerbashian has been activated and is flying into Denver to meet the team. Kale will provide some much needed relief to our short bench.
- Some big milestones in the game last night as Steve Martinson got his 800th coaching victory and Darryl Bootland got his 400th career point. Talk about staying power. Congrats to Marty & Booter!
- A key going into the weekend against Rapid City was to take advantage of the Rush weakness on special teams where they they are the worst in the league. A job well done as Allen was an incredible 41.7% on the power play scoring five times in twelve opportunities. The penalty kill was also outstanding allowing only one goal in eleven opportunities for a kill percentage of 91.7%. It is baffling that a team as good as Rapid City can be so poor on special teams.
- With the win last night the Americans officially clinched a playoff spot but that was a forgone conclusion. A more interesting question is where will Allen finish in the standings and who will they play in the first round. Denver scored with four seconds remaining in the game last night against Quad City and then won in a shoot out to extend their winning streak to eight games. With Allen beating Rapid City twice and Missouri being idle the race for the top four spots has tightened up. Here is how it currently looks with games remaining:
82 points - Missouri (8)
78 points - Denver (7)
74 points - Rapid City (6)
72 points - Allen (8)
After Allen there is a six point gap back to Brampton & Quad City who are battling for fifth spot. I am sure the four teams at the top of the standings would all like to avoid playing Brampton in the first round because of the travel distance and high cost involved. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
- A couple of days ago I made the case why Spencer Asuchak should be one of the five finalists for CHL rookie of the year (ROY). Last night he once again made the case for himself with two goals and an assist officially (he actually had 2 goals 3 assists) and a great all around game including being selected as the games #1 star. As a reminder he is third in scoring among all CHL rookies and leads the CHL in shorthanded goals and he does so much more for his team than score. Just because his teammate is going to win the ROY award is no reason to keep Spencer off the finalist list. As Jamie Schaafsma reminded me on twitter last night and what I should have said the other day I will say now. COME ON, MAN!
- When Bruce Graham arrived in Allen the end of February he told me he had been playing in a competitive senior league but he was not in the shape he would normally be in at this time of year. He may be getting stronger every game but his results have been great from the start. Bruce has played in seven games and has points in six of the seven games. He has multiple points in five of the seven games including the last four. He has scored goals in the last four games. Add it all up and here is what your have, seven games and fourteen points (4 goals 10 assists). He is indeed an offensive force to be reckoned with.
- Greger Hanson had an assist last night to extend his scoring streak to six games during which he has had eleven points (3 goals 8 assists).
- Daniel Tetrault picked a great time to have back to back goals for the first time all year. He not only scored a goal in both games against Rapid City he had two assists and was a +4.
- After the story I included yesterday about CHL Memes and the popularity of his work I made contact with him and he graciously agreed to allow me to post some of his work on Allen Americans Blog for those that are not on social media. I have no idea who CHL Memes is, as contact was made over social media. So in addition to "DID YOU KNOW" there will also be a daily dose of "CHL MEMES."
|Courtesy of CHL Memes - follow on twitter @CHL_Memes|
DID YOU KNOW: With eight games remaining the Allen Americans are closing in on their single season record for penalty minutes. They may not beat the all time record they set last year but it will be close:
2013-2014: 1330 (8 games remaining)