Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quad Wins 2-1 on McKenzie OT Goal, Martinson Post Game Comments, Allen Special Teams Advantage

Any loss in the playoffs is a tough loss but last night's 2-1 overtime loss to Quad City was particularly difficult to take as the Mallards evened the best of seven series 2-2.  Jim McKenzie, who was released by Allen just before training camp this year and had not had a point in the first nine Quad City playoff games made the first one count as he got the game winning goal at 6:47 of the first overtime period. Allen scored the first goal of the game on an Alex Lavoie power play goal at 3:26 of the first period and despite numerous great opportunists could never get the puck in the net again. The best thing about a difficult defeat like last night is you don't have to wait long to do something about it as the two teams meet again tonight (Saturday) with a 7:05 puck drop. With the series tied 2-2 the teams will be back in Allen for game six regardless of the outcome tonight. Games six will be at the Allen Event Center Tuesday (4/29) at 7:05 pm. If a seventh game is needed it will be at the AEC on Wednesday.


- On both of the Quad City goals tonight we allowed their players in front of the net without getting sticks on them. On the replay of McKenzie's game winner it looks like he hits it in through Pitton's pad. Pitton turned to the referee immediately but the referee was not in great position to see what happened. With only one referee it is hard to see both sides of the net.

- It is frustrating as we had numerous chances in the first period to extend our lead after the early Lavoie power play goal. We could have easily been up by three goals after the first and by not capitalizing early in the game it came back to bite us.

- I thought the team played a pretty sound defensive game and Bryan Pitton certainly deserved a better fate.

- We will really have to bear down tomorrow (Saturday) night. Almost is not good enough this time of year.


- Here is part of how Bobby Metcalf ( described the game winner by Jim McKenzie:
Exactly 606 minutes, 47 seconds.
That's how long Quad-City Mallards forward Jim McKenzie had to endure without a point in the playoffs since returning to the team with high expectations after his lengthy stint in the American Hockey League. Finally, in Game 4 of the Central Hockey League semifinals at the iWireless Center, McKenzie broke through. He netted the game-winning, overtime goal to give the Mallards a 2-1 win over the Allen Americans, with whom McKenzie won the league championship last year. The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 tonight at 7:05 p.m. in Moline. "It feels good, absolutely," McKenzie said. "Just keep working hard, go to the net like Terry said. The floodgates are open now, right?" The Mallards certainly hope so after McKenzie scored six goals during the Americans' run to the cup last season. "That's an encouraging situation for us," coach Terry Ruskowski said. "I'm really hoping (the monkey is off his back)." McKenzie scored at 6:47 in the overtime, burying a centering pass from Jordan Mayer past Allen goalie Bryan Pitton to cause the entire Mallards bench to storm the ice in celebration. "I just saw (Mayer) walking out of the corner to the corner of the net and I just put my big butt in front," McKenzie said. "He threw it short side and I jammed it under (Pitton's) pad. It was one of those greasy garbage goals. They win overtimes."

-  Special teams usually win games especially in playoffs but it wasn't the case last night. Allen continued to dominate the special teams play as they held Quad City scoreless on three power play opportunities while the Americans scored on one of their two power play opportunities. Quad City has not scored a power play goal the entire series and are 0-14. Allen has three power play goals in eleven tries (27.3%). If Allen can continue to win the special team battle you have to like their chances tonight and in the series.

- You expect great goaltending in the playoffs and Thomas Heemskerk and Bryan Pitton are certainly delivering that for their respective teams. They are the top two rated goalies in the playoffs with great numbers:
Thomas Heemskerk - 1.55 (GAA) & .947 (SV%)
Bryan Pitton - 1.98 (GAA) & .935 (SV%)

- It is always easy to find fault with the referee in any game but it was nice to have a game where the referee let the guys play and settle the game on the ice. Steve Cruickshank only called five minor penalties and none in the third period or overtime. The referee for the game tonight is Tudor Floru who has one of the higher penalties called per game averages among the referee corp. It may be a totally different out come tonight.

- Denver can advance to their first ever Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final with just one more win over Arizona.  Their first chance is tonight at the Denver Coliseum and so far this season, they are 1-0 in series-clinching games.

- Playoff attendance continues to lag far behind the figures from last year. The average thus far this year is 3091 compared to last year when the average was 3629. Much of this difference can be attributed to who made the semifinals this year as the four teams were ranked #5 (Allen), #6 (Quad City), #8 (Arizona) & #10 (Denver) in attendance during the regular season.

Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans do not have any player in the top 20 in penalty minutes for the playoffs this year.

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