Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quest for 2nd Hits a Snag, Martinson Post Game Comments, Lavoie & Ludwig Honored, Playoffs

The Allen Americans quest for second place hit a snag last night as an inspired Quad City Mallards team shut down the Allen offense, scored a power play goal with three minutes left in the game and came away with a 2-1 victory before a crowd of 3801 at the Allen Event Center. Mallard coach Terry Ruskowski, who became a grandfather on Tuesday and may be named CHL Coach of the Year today had this to say, "That was nice, all of a sudden we started playing hard ... when you work hard good things happen." Coming into the game Quad City had lost seven of eight games and winning goalie, Thomas Heemskerk, had lost his last nine starts. The win gives Quad City (70 points), a three point lead over Tulsa, Brampton & Arizona who are all tied for the last three playoff seedings with 67 points.


- The difference in the game tonight was special teams. We got only one power play goal in seven attempts and they got the power play with three minutes remaining in the game and that was the difference. Their first goal was technically not a power play goal but it came just after the power play ended.

- I thought the team was flat and had no jump tonight. It looked to me like they were still serving drinks like they did on Monday at the celebrity waiter night for charity.

- I never expected we would come out and score only one goal tonight the way we have been playing. (Allen has averaged over 5 goals per game recently). We started out getting the edge in shots but we just didn't have the jump we normally have and that is a bit frustrating.

- I am not sure what causes a game like tonight where we don't have much energy. We had a pretty easy practice yesterday but I didn't like the way some guys looked at practice. I don't think we were prepared to play our "A" game tonight and it came back to bite us.

- We are no longer in control of our own destiny but we can still finish second and we have to be ready to play on Friday against Denver.

- I feel good about the team going into the playoffs. Tonight we were better defensively until the end of the game. It is unusual for us the have a night where we play well defensively but then we don't score. I like our team in the playoffs but we sure fell short tonight.

- Bootland hasn't skated much recently so he will get better, we will have to see if Zion can play this weekend but not sure at this point. Alex Lavoie will not play against Denver but he could return for the playoffs.

- I thought Yanakeff played good in goal. We liked the way he looked in practice and he was strong in the game. He certainly didn't hurt us. Normally if our goalie has us within one goal in the third period we are going to win the game. It just didn't happen tonight. Pitton will start the game on Friday but Yanakeff will step into the game at some point to get qualified for the playoffs. The CHL rules say he just has to be suited up but I am not taking any chances so at some point Yanakeff will get into the game on Friday and Saturday.

- The team will get together tomorrow morning at 10:00 am and assess the situation. We will have some guys skate but for most of the team we will probably rest tomorrow. We will have a few guys on the ice and we will see how many shots Pitton wants. If we do decide to skate with the entire team it will be for only about twenty minutes.

- The playoff roster is due to the league office by 3:00 pm on Monday. There are a lot of factors that go into the makeup of the playoff roster. You can't have a bunch of injured guys sitting on your playoff roster. I am going to look at who is healthy, decide on whether we want to go with eight defensemen from our regular roster and then go with two forwards as our amateurs or whether we go with one forward and one defenseman. One of the considerations is who is available for the amateur slots. I would prefer to wait on adding the amateurs until a little later but our health situation may force me to add them sooner.

- Another concern of mine going into the playoffs is our penalty killers. Kerbashian is a penalty killer and with him out we may not have enough penalty killers up front. The penalty kill has not been great lately. I have tried some different guys up front and we have struggled recently.

- Steve Tarasuk made some good plays with the puck. I think he is going to help us. He hasn't skated much in the last couple of weeks so he will get better. He is heads up, finds people and makes good passes and he can move his feet. It is always harder to add defenseman this time of year when you are looking at amateurs as experience really helps on the blue line.  Tarasuk gives us that experience.


- Coach Martinson mentioned his concern with the penalty kill going into the playoffs and the statistics show what is is talking about. Over the last six games the Americans have allowed seven power play goals and their penalty kill percentage is only 72% (7-25). The Allen power play on the other hand has been excellent up until last night when the power play was only 1-7. In the five game prior to last night the power play was scoring at a blistering rate of 32% (8-25).

- Jamie Schaafsma joined the 20 goal club last night and Allen now has six players with at least 20 goals this season which ties the franchise record.

- Congratulations to Alex Lavoie CHL Rookie of the Year and Tyler Ludwig CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year. They were both named yesterday and are the first Allen players to win the award. There are so many awards handed out this time of year that it is sometimes confusing when you see all of the press releases but the most prestigious of all of the awards are the year end awards voted on by the coaches, communication departments, and the media. To win two of these individual awards for players along with Kacee Coberly winning the Equipment Manager of the Year is really special for the Allen franchise. Job well done!

- Playoff seeding is still three games away and the standings could not be closer. Allen, Rapid City and Denver all have a chance to finish second and Tulsa, Brampton, & Arizona are all tied for the 6th, 7th, & 8th spots with 67 points. But, if the playoffs started today:
Missouri (1) vs Arizona (8)
Denver (2) vs Brampton (7)
Allen (3) vs Tulsa (6)
Rapid City (4) vs Quad City (5)

Courtey CHL Memes

Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW:  Tyler Ludwig is the first Allen player to win "Most Outstanding Defenseman" while playing for Allen but teammate Daniel Tetrault won the award in 2001-2002 while playing for the Austin Ice Bats.

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