In what was one of the more entertaining games you will ever see the Allen Americans defeated the Brampton Beast last night by a score of 9-2 before a jubilant crowd of 3759 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). Brampton started out like the team that had a three game win streak scoring just three minutes into the first period and building a shots on goal lead of 9-1. After Allen scored their first goal just two minutes later at the 5:27 mark Brampton played like the team that is in last place in the ECHL standings. Allen exploded for four first period goals and followed that up with three in the second period and two in the third period. Goals came from all directions on some outstanding passing and great individual effort. The two teams are back at it tonight at 7:05.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS:
- That was not a very stressful game even though I looked up at one point and Brampton had a 9-1 edge in shots on goal. They won a bunch of face offs in our zone early on so they had shots but they were not dangerous ones as the goalie could get a good look at them.
- I was commenting after the game that one of the critical coaching decisions I made was to put three forwards and one defenseman out when we were playing four on four. What happened is I read the clock wrong and thought we were coming out of the box and would have a four on three but in fact it was four on four. I put Combs out thinking it was a four on three but he made it look like a great decision as he scored of the face off.
- Jessey Astles got hurt early in the game when he ran into the boards. If he can't go tomorrow we have Nolan Descoteaux who is healthy and ready to go.
- Chad Costello has really come on in the last few games after missing most of last year with an injury. As good as Chad has been recently I don't think we have seen everything he has yet. That line could have had even more goals.
- Greger Hanson made a couple of great plays including picking up the puck behind the net, going end to end and splitting the defense for a goal which was a fun goal to watch. Then on the shorthanded goal he just out battled the defensemen. That is what Hanson does so well is win battles for the puck. He also made a great pass on the goal that Steffes scored in the third period. It was an unselfish play as he could have tried to roof a shot for his third goal but passed to his line mate instead. I really like to see when guys make plays for each other.
- Jack Combs is really strong on the puck. If you notice when he has that puck on his stick it is hard to get it from him.
- Ian Schultz I thought had a good game considering he wasn't able to skate for a week and a half. He made a great pass to Costello on one of his goals. That line (Combs, Schultz, Costello) has great chemistry.
- Austin Smith made a great play on our first goal when he cut in in front of the goal. That is something he does very well as he moves his feet and can cut in.
- Justin Baker actually got that power play goal in the third period. They gave it to Lyon but Lyon told me he never touched the puck. I call Baker the hunchback because he skates bent over all of the time but he sure is fun to watch play because he competes hard all of the time and makes some great moves. He has been a really good pick up for us this year.
- I have not spent too much time scouting Brampton as we have been concentrating more on what we need to do. One of their leading scorers (Tyler Donati) is not on the trip. I am not sure what to expect from Brampton tomorrow but we will go out with a business as usual approach. Our goal for the weekend is to get two wins and improve our winning percentage which will be .727 if we win on Saturday and that will give us one of the highest winning percentages in the ECHL. I don't go by points in the standings so much as we have played fewer games than those ahead of us.
- We probably could have been a little more physical in the game tonight but the problem with that is everyone wants to score in a game like this. With our upcoming schedule (six games in nine days) it doesn't make sense to get into a bunch of fights and wear guys out.
- It was nice to get Girard a little work tonight. I thought he made some good saves after the goal he gave up that went over his stick. He looked good during the preseason. I could have gotten him in the game a little earlier.
- I don't think our team will be complacent tomorrow night. We have a lot of guys that want to score goals and get noticed by the American Hockey League (AHL) and I have no problem with that as long as we don't cheat to try and score.
- Jesse Messier should be cleared and will be ready for next week. I know one or two of our forwards will get the opportunity to go to the AHL in the next week or so. Worcester has only one extra forward so they will give someone the opportunity to play and I support that. I always have my eye on guys that can come in if we lose players to the AHL.
- I thought Garrett Clarke played great tonight and we can always move him up to forward if need be if we lose forwards to the AHL.
- The team meeting the players had before we started this winning streak was really positive and says a lot about the group as a whole and the leadership group on the team. It wasn't like a five minute meeting and you could see a change in their game right after that meeting. Maybe they got tired of me saying stuff and didn't want to hear me anymore.
- It is always a fun night when six different players score goals and ten different players have a point in the game as the Americans accomplished last night. Goals scorers were Costello (3), Hanson (2), Combs, Baker, Smith and Steffes.
- There have been nine goals scored by one team twice this season in the ECHL. Both of them involved the Allen Americans and took place at the AEC. In addition to last night, Tulsa scored nine goals in the home opener (October 24th) beating Allen 9-6.
- Not very often you see two hat tricks in one game. Chad Costello had the traditional hat trick scoring three goals while Greger Hanson with two goals, two assists and a fight had the Gordie Howe hat trick.
- Talk about a turn around in the defensive part of the game by the entire team, in the last four games Allen has only allowed six goals. Riley Gill played just two periods last night allowing just one goal before giving way to Raphael Girard for the third period. Gill has lowered his GAA to 2.11 which ranks him #3 in the ECHL. His save percentage is .933 which ranks him #2 and only .001 behind the league leader.
- With his seventh goal of the season last night Jack Combs continues his streak of scoring in every game played thus far this year. His ten game scoring streak (7 goals, 10 assists) has him in second place in the ECHL scoring race with seventeen points.
- A little reminder that last year Brampton came to Allen for two games in December on a Friday and Saturday night. Allen won the first game on Friday only to have Brampton come back on Saturday and beat Allen 6-2.
- Had the chance to spend some time with Dave Gens who is Aaron's dad the last few days at practice. A master of timing as Dave not only avoided the extremely cold temperature back home in Baudette, Minnesota (it is literally on the Canadian border) but he chose to come and watch Aaron play five games. He was in Wichita and Missouri last weekend before coming to Allen for the Rapid City game last Sunday and then the two Brampton games this weekend. So far he is 4-0 and Aaron has played great in front of his father. Dave leaves right after the game tonight on his journey back to Minnesota. Let's hope it is with a perfect 5-0 record. Dave is a minister and a musician (you can find his music on line) and has spent many a day watching hockey as five of his six kids (boys and girls) played hockey including college and a couple of them professionally.
- Tulsa beat Missouri 4-1 and Quad City beat Rapid City 4-2 last night so there were no changes at the top of the Central Division Standings. Tulsa leads with 16 points followed by Quad City with 15 points and Allen with 14 points. Tulsa is idle tonight and Quad City plays Rapid City.
- Have had many questions about why the championship banner has not been put in the rafters. According to the Allen front office the banner was received but had to be sent back as it was only printed on one side. Once the two-sided banner is delivered the plan is to have it displayed during a game in the concourse so fans can take picture with it and then it will be put in the rafters.
- Two fun events will be part of the festivities tonight. The annual teddy bear toss will happen after the first goal is scored by the Americans and after the game, at Kelly's, the Ice Angels will have their calendar release party. Throw in an Allen victory and this will be quite the night!
- Happy birthday to Spencer Asuchak who turns 23 today.
- Finally, want to say thank you to all of the readers of this blog. This week another milestone was reached as the 300,000 unique page view was passed.
DID YOU KNOW: Last night Tyler Ludwig played in his 200th regular season game for the Allen Americans. He joins Brian McMillin (203), Mike Berube (230) and Jarret Lukin (238) in the Allen Americans 200 Club.