Allen took on a rested Wichita Thunder team last night and the Americans looked like the rested team early. Goals by Gary Steffes and Chad Costello in the first period and Greger Hanson with 35 seconds remaining in the second period gave Allen a 3-0 lead. Two goals by Wichita in the last two minutes of the game made the score seem closer than it was. Some fatigue plus another untimely stick penalty in the last minute of play contributed to the two goals. Final score before a crowd of 4666 at Intrust Bank Arena was 3-2. The grind continues as Allen boarded the bus right after the game for the 361 mile trip back to Allen where they will take on the Rapid City Rush today (Sunday) at 4:05 pm. It will be another tough task taking on Rapid City who did not play last night and had a day to rest. Three games in three days with all of that travel, playing teams that have rested, seems unfair but that is life in the ECHL.
STEVE MARTISON'S POST GAME COMMENTS:
- We had the game well in control so it was tough giving up those two goals at the end. Our goalie, Riley Gill, deserved better.
- The power play started out great but we got away from shooting the puck with traffic in front of the net.
- It is not smart to take stick penalties at the end of the game like happened tonight. That allowed them to pull the goalie and have a six on four power play which they converted.
- I thought both of the goalies played well tonight and made some big saves.
- The team had another good defensive game tonight which is encouraging. While I am not happy with the last few minutes of the game we were playing a well rested team at home. When you play three games in three days your opponent should also be playing three in three.
- The shots on goal (Wichita 32, Allen 17) were not correct.
COMMENTS FROM WICHITA:
Here are some quotes Jeffrey Lutz, who writes for the Wichita Eagle, obtained after the game:
"We get a power play and we get some real unbelievable looks, but everyone wants to make the big hard slapshot and we miss the net like four times ----- Coach Kevin McClelland
"I just need more guys going. It seems like it is the guys who have been here for a while, sometimes you have to cut the fat, bring in some new enthusiasm. You can't have guys not staying focused and taking three or four penalties a night. That is not bringing anything to the hockey club." ----- Kevin McClelland
"It just comes down to wins and losses. We've got to play a full sixty minutes, we can't have lapses at the start of the game and take some penalties there. They've (Allen) got a good offense, they are going to score on the power play, so we have to stay off of the kill. We just have to get better and win games"
----- Player Ian Lowe
- Allen won the special teams battle even though the official statistics show Allen was 1-7 on the power play and Wichita was 1-6. Allen's second goal was scored just after a penalty expired and RG Flath was returning to the ice and Wichita's power play goal was a six on four after they pulled their goalie.
- Stick penalties continue to plague the Americans. Allen's penalty minutes per game continues to drop and is now at an average of 20 minutes per game which places them #7 in the ECHL. However, if you look at just minor penalties (holding, hooking, tripping, high sticking, etc.) Allen leads the league with an average of 7.5 minor penalties per game.
- Allen is now tied (with Quad City & Missouri) for third place in the Central Division standings with ten points. Tulsa and Rapid City are tied for first place with eleven points. Allen has played two fewer games than Tulsa and four fewer games than Rapid City. Allen has the highest winning percentage (.625) in the division.
- Jack Combs had an assist in the game to keep his streak of scoring in every game this year alive. His fourteen points (6 goals 8 assists) has him in the top ten in scoring in the ECHL even though he has played between two and six games fewer than all of the players ahead of him in scoring.
- Gary Steffes was selected as the #1 star of the game and Riley Gill was the #2 star.
- Devin Di Diomete made his presence known in his second game with Missouri. Last night it was his mouth that caused most of the problem. After a roughing call he didn't agree with he took a two minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (disputing decision), then a ten minute misconduct penalty, and finally a ten minute game misconduct penalty (abuse of officials). His total on the night was 26 minutes to go along with the 14 minutes in his first game on Friday. With the 20 penalty minutes he accrued in the four games he played for Allen and the 40 penalty minutes in the two games in Missouri he has leaped to second place in the ECHL in penalty minutes with 60 minutes. He only trails Darryl Bootland who leads the league with 66 penalty minutes.
- Alex Lavoie had a goal, his fourth of the year as his Florida Everblades beat South Carolina 5-4 last night. Charles Lachance had a goal (his second of the year) as his Tulsa Oilers lost to Missouri 7-4. Tulsa's Adam Pleskach also scored and it was his tenth goal in ten games which leads the ECHL.
- ECHL cutdown day is today. Teams must reduce their active roster from the maximum of 21 to 20 players by 3:00 pm ET. With Jesse Messier on injured reserve the active roster for Allen is already at 20 players.
RAPID CITY PREVIEW:
- It has already been mentioned that Allen will be playing their third game in three days in three different cities. It is also the second game in a row where the opponent has rested while Allen was playing. Add the early start (4:05 pm) today and this will be a real gut check for the Americans. There should be plenty of motivation as a win today could find Allen in first place in the standings depending on the outcome of other games being played today.
- Rapid City is tied for first place in the division despite losing three of their last four games. They have lost their last two games having lost to Tulsa on Friday and Wichita (at home) on Wednesday.
- Allen needs to take advantage of home ice and come away with a victory this afternoon. Home ice hasn't been a great help thus far this season. Allen is 1-2 at home and 4-1 on the road.
- The first goal will be important especially with these two team. Their combined record when scoring first is 9-1. Rapid City has lost one game after scoring first.
- Rapid City has a distinct advantage over Allen in special teams. The Rush power play is ranked #5 in the league at 21.7% while the Americans are ranked #10 at 18.2%. On the penalty kill Rapid City is #2 at 90.5% and Allen is #18 at 81.4%.
- As is usually the case with Allen they score more goals on average than their opponent (Allen 3.88, Rapid City 3.00) but allow more goals than their opponent (Allen 3.38, Rapid City 2.75).
- The game is another homecoming for a player from Allen's championship team. Daniel Tetrault will be back at the AEC looking to defeat the Americans. An intense competitor, look for Tetrault to have a big game. Hope he does well but Allen gets the win. Always one of the nicest guys off the ice.
- Leading scorers for Rapid City are forwards Dylan Clarke and Jesse Schultz with thirteen points. They also have a talented group of defensemen that can score. Familiar names including former Allen players Daniel Tetrault and Steve Kaunisto, former Tulsa defenseman (and Brian McMillin's roommate when he played in England) Sean Erickson and newcomer Landon Oslanski who has four goals and four assists to be one of the leading scorers in the ECHL for defensemen.
- For Allen look for Jack Combs and Chad Costello to lead the way but scoring could come from anywhere. Would be a good game for Austin Smith to get his first goal.
DID YOU KNOW: According to Elite Prospects the actual name of Rapid City coach Joe Ferras is Joe Ferraccioli. A prolific scorer during the days he played in the ECHL. In 1989-1990 playing for the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, Ferras had 108 points (45 goals, 63 assists) in only 49 games.