Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quad Takes Series Lead, Martinson Comments, Will Home Ice Advantage Prevail, Sports Quotes For the Occasion

As I sit down to write this morning it is hard not to dwell on how close the Allen Americans came to winning all three games in Quad City. After winning the first game to get back in the drivers seat, two overtime losses now has Allen in a must win situation in games six and seven back in Allen. The 3-2 loss last night was particularly difficult as the Mallards scored both of their regulation goals in the last minute of play in the period. After giving up a goal with 33 seconds left in the opening period the Americans outplayed Quad City in the second period, outshooting the Mallards 19-5, but could not score. In the third period Allen again dominated play outshooting the Mallards 16-7  and were able to score twice on goals by Alex Lavoie and Darryl Bootland to take a 2-1. Quad City came back to tie the score with an empty net, extra attacker with 51 seconds left in the game to send the game to overtime. Mike Stinziani scored the game winning overtime goal at 16:12 of the first overtime period. 

The final tally on the three games in Quad City is one win and two overtime losses. The Mallards only scored five goals in regulation time in the three games and three of the five goals were scored in the last minute of the period. Shoulda, coulda, woulda has now turned into two must win games on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Allen Event Center.


- Another tough loss tonight but it could be worse. We are down 3-2 but we are heading home and we are not being outplayed in the games. Our task is pretty straight forward, win at home on Tuesday and set up a game seven for the series win. We were pretty good in game sevens last year.

- We had lots of posts and missed opportunities while out shooting the Mallards 35-12 in the last two periods but this is the playoffs not horseshoes so you don't get any credit for outplaying a team.

- There are no more mulligans at this point. We need to shoot better and get more traffic in front of the net. It is time to play or go home.

-  After reviewing the video I thought there was goalie interference on both their power play goal in the first period and the overtime goal but that is no excuse. We have to do a better job of controlling  what we can control and not put ourselves in a position where one call can influence the outcome of the game. 

- The discussion I had with the referee at the end of the game was about calls during the game and the play being dead.


Half Full or Half Empty?
-  It would be easy to look at the glass half empty but half full is the way the Americans will approach the upcoming games. This team has showed its resiliency time and time again and home ice advantage is the reason you play the regular season. Allen just needs to protect its home ice advantage. This team is full of experience and leaders and they will rise to the occasion. And if all else fails in being confident of the outcome of this series rely on history as Allen has never lost a playoff series on home ice in their five year history.

- Many teams have been in the situation of being down 3-2 going home for the final two games. The best thing you can have going for you is being the better team and most impartial observers would admit Allen has the better team in this series and the Mallards have been the underdogs. However, being the better team doesn't win squat unless you go out and prove you are the better team. The Americans have the opportunity to do just that on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are a few sports quotes that capture this moment:
 "Continuous effort... not strength or intelligence or being the better team... is the key to unlocking your potential"
 "The five S's of sports are stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit, but the greatest of these is spirit"
 "Winning means you are willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else"
 "Sports don't build character, they reveal it"
 "Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement"
 "To win the game you need to win the battle of the WANT"
And if all else fails remember the old philosopher Yogi Berra, who perfectly captures the situation Allen finds themselves in, "It ain't over, 'til it's over"

- Thomas Heemskerk continued his outstanding play in goal for the Mallards stopping 45 of 47 Allen shots and now has a playoff leading 1.56 GAA and .949 SV%. Here is what Bobby Metcalf ( had to say about Heemskerk and Jordan Mayer, who has four of the eleven goals the Mallards have scored in the series.
It took another dominant performance from Mallards goaltender Thomas Heemskerk and another great performance from playoff-blooming Jordan Mayer to get the Mallards to the extra period. Trailing 2-1 after giving up two third-period goals, the Mallards pulled Heemskerk with 1:28 remaining in the third period for an extra attacker. Mayer scored his team-leading seventh goal of the playoffs, putting the puck through Pitton's five-hole with 50.6 seconds left to tie the game. "It was very nerve-wracking being down 2-1," Mayer said. "It was pretty scrambled (in front of the net). I just decided to keep it low because there were bodies everywhere and it worked out." The Mallards were fortunate to be able to tie the game after suffering through an American offensive onslaught in the second and third periods. The Americans outshot the Mallards 43-26 in regulation and 47-32 in the game, but Heemskerk made save after save — 45 in total — to keep the game close. "That was a busy one tonight," Heemskerk said. "The majority in the second and quite a few in the third, but pretty busy tonight." Heemskerk couldn't make every save, though as the Americans scored twice in the third period to take the one-goal lead. On an Allen power play, rookie of the year Alex Lavoie scored on a rebound to tie the game at 1:42 and Darryl Bootland gave Allen the lead seven minutes later, capitalizing on a turnover by Jim McKenzie that gave Allen a 2-on-1 rush. Spencer Asuchak's shot rebounded off Heemskerk and with no one to clear the puck, Bootland scored. "I was really kind of distraught that we had a (one-goal) lead and we blew it and it wasn't a good situation," coach Terry Ruskowski said. "We made an undisciplined penalty and they took advantage of it and then they go up." After Mayer scored the equalizer, Heemskerk shut the door in overtime, making four saves.

- What began as a promising post season for the Arizona Sundogs when they upset top seeded Missouri ended abruptly last night in Denver as the Sundogs were trounced by the Cutthroats 7-0. The Cutthroats won the series 4-1 and now advance to the CHL's Presidents' Cup finals where they await the winner of the Allen vs Quad City series.

Courtesy CHL Memes

 DID YOU KNOW:  In the last five years the Allen Americans have 37 playoff wins, nine more than any other team.             

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