Given the fact the Americans did not meet any of the keys to the game it was quite an effort they put in on short rest to come back from a three goal deficit to tie the game 3-3 (goals by Lessard, Maiani & Schaafsma) going into the third period. Even after Denver's top line got two third period goals (both by AJ Gale for a total of four on the night) to make the score 5-3 the Americans fought back when Jamie Schaafsma scored his second goal of the night with six minutes left in the game. Despite getting a power play opportunity at the end of the game and pulling the goalie the Americans could not score with a six on four advantage and lost the game 5-4.
The best thing you can say about the 5-4 loss to the Cutthroats before a small crowd of 2744 at the Denver Coliseum is there is lots of room for improvement and the team doesn't have to think about losing very long as the are back at it again tonight with a 7:05 puck drop Allen/central time.
STEVE MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS:
- It is pretty obvious we have to do a better job against their top line and AJ Gale in particular. We don't get last change when we play here in Denver so when that top line is on the ice we have to do better than we did tonight.
- We made some bad choices on passes and shots when we were on the power play and that ended up being the difference in the game. Our power play has been so good in the playoffs but was not good tonight.
- Offensive zone stick penalties are the worst to take. We always tell the guys we have 200 feet to defend a break out so if you get beat in our offensive zone just put your head down and skate, don't take a stick penalty. They scored tonight on this type of penalty.
DENVER COACH DEREK ARMSTRONG'S POST GAME COMMENTS:
- I knew Allen would comeback after we got the 3-0 lead. They are an older team, they have won championships, they have won for a reason, they know how to win and it is a good learning lesson for us. Every game is going to go down to the wire and we have to stay in front of guys and play the right way.
- AJ Gale is pretty close to the sun as hot as he is with seven goals in the last two games. He works well with Schwab and Bembridge.
- It is just one game and you are expected to win your home games. We can play better as we got caught puck watching a couple of times and weren't watching for the empty guys.
- We will see a different Allen team tomorrow. They played a seventh game on Wednesday and had to travel. They are resilient, strong and well coached. They are built for the playoffs.
- What has been a big advantage for Allen during the playoffs proved to be the difference in the game and that was special teams. Denver scored two power play goals in five opportunities while Allen was 0-6 on the power play. It was the first time in the last six games Allen did not have a power play goal.
- The backup goalie for the game and the finals is Ross MacKinnion who arrived in Denver just a few hours before the game. Ross played college hockey at Neumann College and played primarily for the Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL) this year. Pensacola won the SPHL championship and Ross was in goal for all of their playoff games on the road to the championship. He had a playoff record of 6-1 with a GAA of 1.40 and save percentage of .937. Ross had two call ups during the season as he played two games with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) and ten games with the Tulsa Oilers (CHL). Ross actually played against Allen three times when he was with Tulsa and played well in those three games despite losing two of them. One of the games was a shootout in which Tyler Ludwig scored the only shootout goal to win for Allen. Ross's first CHL victory came at the expense of Allen in a 4-2 Tulsa win on November 24.
- Have had several questions about the goalie musical chairs over the last ten days. It all started when Will Yanakeff was injured and need to be replaced by an emergency back up goalie which is allowed during the playoffs. Allen brought in Marc-Antoine Gelinas to replace Yanakeff but as a Canadian the paperwork and approval process through immigration became too complicated so the team signed MacKinnon who is from Connecticut and he flew to Denver just in time for the game.
- Here is part of what was in the CHL news release on AJ Gale's four goal night. Gale is coming off a stretch that has seen him reach record-breaking levels with seven goals over his last two games, the most prolific two game stretch in CHL playoff history. His four goals in Game 1 of the Finals versus Allen, a 5-4 win by the Cutthroats, ties a CHL record for most goals in a single playoff game reached most recently in 2009 by Scott Sheppard (Texas Brahmas).
- Prior to last night the most goals allowed by Allen in twelve playoff games this year was four.
- Trevor Hendrikx and Cain Franson were the healthy scratches for game one. It will be interesting to see if Coach Martinson makes any changes for game two.
- There were a couple of calls in the game that seemed unusual just watching it on CHL TV. Bruce Graham was high sticked and he was called for a tripping penalty. I asked Steve Martinson about this after the game and he had reviewed the tape and felt the high stick happened first and then Graham dropped his stick which caused the Denver player to trip. It should have been a five on three for Allen. The referee said Graham tripped the player first and that caused the high stick. According to Martinson, when he told the referee at the beginning of the second period he had reviewed the tape and he got the call wrong the referee said Martinson was calling him a liar and he would not come over to the bench again. The other call that was hard to understand and this has happened several times with this referee in the playoffs is having a scrum and only penalizing one player when two are involved. If you watch NHL games they always take both guys.
|Courtesy CHL Memes|
DID YOU KNOW: In the 2013 playoffs Allen and Denver met in the first round. Denver beat Allen 2-1 in game one in Allen. The Americans then won the next four games to win the series 4-1.