Thursday, April 24, 2014

Allen Wins, Takes 2-1 Series Lead, Martinson Post Game Comments, Denver Leads Arizona 3-1

In a game full of surprises the Allen Americans defeated the Quad City Mallards last night by a score of 4-2 before a crowd of 3724 at the I-wireless Center to take a 2-1 series lead. One of the surprises was the size of the crowd for a midweek game in Quad City but then again they sold tickets for three dollars to try and fill up the arena. Other surprises included the Mallards starting Ty Rimmer in goal with playoff leading goaltender Thomas Heemskirk (GAA 1.67) watching from the bench, Allen getting off to a 8-0 lead in shots on goal, holding Quad City without a shot on goal for the first twelve minutes of the game and Allen scoring two goals on breakaways in a playoff game.

The Americans jumped off to a two goal lead in the first period and special teams played a role in both goals. Bruce Graham scored a power play goal just 16 seconds into the only Allen power play of the night. Less than two minutes later the Mallards looked poised to tie the game when the Americans took two quick penalties, giving Quad City a lengthy 5-on-3 power play. Just as the first penalty was expiring Tyler Ludwig found Jonathan Lessard coming out of the penalty box for a breakaway. Lessard had an easy path to the net after Mallards goalie Ty Rimmer stumbled trying to get into position to make the save. "It was late in the period and the guy came out of the box and I was banging my stick," Rimmer said. "I looked up, went to push out and set my feet. I just caught a rut and went down and the rest is history."

There was no scoring in the second period. Allen's third goal was also a breakaway as a turnover at center ice gave Bruce Graham a breakaway and while Rimmer made the initial save, the trailing Jamie Schaafsma scored on the rebound at 14:12 of the third period. The American's fourth goal was an empty netter by Gregor Hanson with 18 seconds remaining in the game.

The Mallards host game four Friday evening and game five Saturday night.  Each of those contests will face off at 7:05 p.m.  Should a sixth game be required, the series would move back to Allen on Tuesday night, April 29.  If the series goes the distance, the Americans would host the seventh and deciding game on Wednesday evening, April 30.


- It was great to get a win in the first of the three games here in Quad City. We are pleased with the outcome but still have something to build on for the next two games. We have been missing a lot of good scoring opportunities in this series and we need to capitalize on all of the odd man rushes we are being given.

- Bryan Pitton played another excellent game for us in goal. I think the goalie play on both teams has been great in this series.

- All of the roughing power plays for the Mallards is frustrating. The referee said they would take the first player on a scrum but that is not what is happening in my opinion. They did this in the last round and are continuing it in this round. Our team has been willing to drop the gloves all year and not hide behind scrums and referees.

- Special teams were big as in the first period alone we scored on a power play, scored shorthanded and killed a 5 on 3 power play.

- All three of our lines having been making plays and creating scoring opportunities and our depth is making a difference.

- The guys will have the day off tomorrow (Thursday) to rest and heal before the two big games this weekend.

- We are being cautious with Kale Kerbashian but the plan is if all goes well he will be back in the line up on Friday.


- Mallard coach Terry Ruskowski was not happy with the defensive breakdowns that led to two breakaway goals. "I'm very disappointed," coach Ruskowski said. "I guess it shows you how much we miss (defenseman Matt) Duffy. This is playoff hockey, are you kidding me. You've got to work details, you've got to know what to do, when to do it and how to do it. It's too late for me to tell them now."

- Special teams have made a big difference in this series and the playoffs. Allen's specials teams are now rated #1 (penalty kill) and #2 (power play) in the league. Quad City is yet to score a power play goal and are 0-11 in the first three games. Allen is 2-9 (22%) on the power play against the Mallards.

- Coach Martinson always talks about how important it is to keep improving your team during the season. Not sure he envisioned the impact the late season addition of Anthony Maiani and Bruce Graham would have being as neither of them played hockey professionally this year. They both have been big contributors during the playoffs and are the teams #1 (Graham 12 points) and #2 (Maiani 11 points) scorers.

- The three stars of the game were #1 Jamie Schaafsma who had the game winning goal. He didn't quit on the Graham breakaway, which allowed him to put home the rebound. The #2 star was Bruce Graham with a goal and an assist and some great work along the boards. The #3 star was Bryan Pitton who had many key saves as he stopped 33 of 35 shots. Pitton has been one of the three stars in five of the eight games he has played in the playoffs.

- Bruce Graham not only leads the team in scoring during the playoffs he has a point in all eight of the playoff games played thus far. He has scored a goal in the last four games.

- The Denver Cutthroats took advantage of a depleted Arizona Sundogs roster winning Game 4 on Wednesday night by a 4-1 count.  The Cutthroats now move to within just one win from moving on to the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals leading the series three games to one. Adam Brown stopped 20 shots for Arizona as he was forced into action due to an injury to top goalie Andrew Engelage. The series now moves back to Denver for Game 5 on Saturday night as the Cutthroats will have the chance to advance to their first Presidents’ Cup Finals.

Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have yet to be in a one goal game during the playoffs. They have either won or lost by at least two goals in all eight playoff games.

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