Saturday, December 27, 2014

Allen Beats Tulsa Again, Martinson's Post Game Comments. Allen vs Wichita Preview

It was a familiar script last night as the Allen Americans defeated Tulsa 5-3 for their seventh win against the Oilers in their last eight meetings. For a second straight game Allen broke open a close contest in the third period to seal the victory. The potent Allen offense scored four unanswered goal in less than seven minutes to take a 5-1 lead to put the game away. Allen had five different goal scorers with Young (3), Costello (17), Schaafsma (5), Schultz (8), and Schwartz (2) getting the goals and ECHL league leading scorer Jack Combs assisting on four of the five. Immediately after the game the team boarded the bus for the 360 mile trip to Wichita where they will take on a well rested Thunder team tonight (Saturday) as Wichita did not play Friday night.


- We had no business being tied after the first period but Riley Gill made some great saves to keep us in the game as we were out shot 15-7. You don't think you will be that sharp after the break but Tulsa didn't have a chance to skate today, traveled four hours to get here and really took it to us in the first period. That is frustrating.

- We may end up playing short players the next two nights as Jessey Astles is out with food poisoning and a defenseman may be out for the game tomorrow as well. I have a new player meeting us in Wichita. He is a tough physical guy from Minnesota who did not play last year because he was hurt. He is a college guy who played with a couple of our players. He has played both defense and center and has some edge to his game.

- It will be hard to replace Brian McMillin as he has so much experience. Since I have been here he has been given a lot of defensive responsibility and those skills are hard to replace so we aren't going to get a player like Brian. Jesse Messier will get more penalty kill time with McMillin out. Brian will go on injured reserve as soon as we get the paperwork to the league office which should be tomorrow. There was no rush getting him to IR as we didn't need the roster spot.

- Our team can score a lot of goals in a hurry and the first half of the third period looked like our team. Giving up the two goals late was unfortunate but it was a good win for us.

- Now we move on to Wichita as we continue our three in three and will play a rested team tomorrow so it will be important to play smart and not give up eight power play opportunities like we did tonight. I am sure Wichita will play a physical game as that has been their approach when we have played them recently. If we end up playing short guys it will be important how we respond to the physical play. We will just have to go out and play hard.

- Rylan Schwartz is looking more comfortable each game. He had a goal but could have had a couple more. It is good to see Jamie Schaafsma scoring (six points in last three games).

- Greger Hanson had another assist tonight  and has an assist in all three games he has played for Worcester. He also has had some good hits.


- With the win last night Allen improved their winning percentage to .800 which is second in the ECHL trailing only the Florida Everblades who are at .848.

- One of the keys to the game mentioned in yesterday's game preview was special teams as the Americans had a big advantage in both penalty kill and power play. The Americans lost the special teams battle for the first time in many games. The Oilers ended a four game power play drought by scoring two power play goals and held Allen scoreless in their four power play chances. Luckily two of the other keys (scoring first and keep the offense rolling) helped Allen to victory. It is not wise to give up the first goal of the game to Allen as their record when scoring first is now 13-1-0-1.

- Jack Combs had four assists last night and Chad Costello had a goal and two assists as they increased their lead over the rest of the pack in the ECHL scoring race. It is fair to say the duo is dominating the ECHL in scoring. Combs now has 46 points (1.84 per game) and Costello has 43 points (1.72 per game). No other player in the league has more than 32 points. It will be a travesty if both of these guys don't make the ECHL All-Star team.

- There should be little doubt who the ECHL player of the month is for December even with five days left in the month. Chad Costello has played in ten games in December, has a point in all ten games and in only two games has he had as few as one point. The totals for ten games are 24 points (11 goals 13 assists) for 2.40 point per game average. Add to that a plus/minus of +14 and the fact he was not minus in any of the ten games and you have quite a month. Chad is now the league leader in plus/minus at +24.

- Speaking of plus/minus the top six in the ECHL in plus/minus are current or former Allen Americans:
+24 - Chad Costello
+21 - Drew Daniels
+20 - Trevor Ludwig
+20 - Greger Hanson
+20 - Jack Combs
+20 - Gary Steffes

- Riley Gill won his fourteenth game of the year last night which ties him for the league lead in wins.

- If you were at the game last night you saw Aaron Dell sporting some new goalie equipment which was pretty easy to see. Saw them referred to as nice, sick and sweet so take your pick. Check it out:

Santa was nice to Aaron Dell

- Other than Allen the top of the Western Conference is dominated by the Pacific Division teams. Here is how the seven former CHL teams rank in the 14 team Western Conference with points in parenthesis.

1. Allen (40)
6. Quad City (31)
7. Wichita (29)
8. Tulsa (29)
9. Missouri (27)
13. Rapid City (22)
14. Brampton (17)

- It was a great goal scoring night around the ECHL for players from last year's Allen Americans championship team. Kale Kerbashian (Evansville), Darryl Bootland (Colorado), Dallas Ehrhardt (Missouri) and Jonathan Lessard (Bakersfield) all had goals and all of their teams won.


- Who is in and who is out? Aaron Dell will be in goal against Wichita, Jessey Astles will not play. The new player mentioned above will be in the lineup. Because the name has not been made public by the Americans can't share it yet. You will obviously know by game time.

- Allen has played Wichita four times this year and each team has won twice. Allen won two games in Wichita early in the season but Wichita has won the last two times the teams have played (11/29 & 12/19). Wichita has found a formula to throttle Allen's high powered offense as the Thunder have only allowed one goal in each of the last two games against the Americans. These are the only games Allen has been held to one goal all season. Wichita plays a very physical style against Allen which seems to be effective, at least in the last two games.

- Wichita has won three of their last four games the only loss being in their last game (12/21) when they lost to Rapid City in a shootout. Allen has won six of their last seven games with the loss being in overtime to Wichita.

- Allen and Wichita match up well together. Allen scores more goals per game (4.48) than Wichita (2.74) but in goals allowed it is much closer with Allen at 2.60 and Wichita at 2.78.

- Allen usually has a sizable special teams advantage against any team they play but that is not the case with Wichita.  Allen has a road penalty kill percentage of 92.1% which is outstanding. However, at home Wichita has a league leading penalty kill percentage of 94.1%. Wichita has only given up three power play goals at home all year. The power play percentages are also close with Allen converting at a rate of  21.9% on the road and Wichita at 20.0% at home. As is almost always the case (last night was an exception) winning the special teams battle will be a key to victory.

- Staying out of the penalty box is crucial in winning special teams battles and Allen has been failing in that regard. Allen has risen to the top of the ECHL in average penalty minutes per game at 23.40. What really has the potential to hurt the Americans are all of the stick/minor penalties they take.  Allen takes more minor penalties (7.2 per game ) than any team in the ECHL. Last night was a prefect example as Allen gave up eight power play opportunities and two power play goals. Luckily the offense was able to overcome this but that might not be the case with Wichita.

- If the game goes to a shootout tonight advantage Allen. They have scored on 33% (3 of 9) of their shootout attempts while Wichita is at 7.7% (2 of 26).

- Top scorers for Wichita are Danick Gauthier (25 points), Ian Lowe (23) and Kenton Miller (23). Top scorers for Allen are Combs (46), Costello (43) and Steffes (28).

DID YOU KNOW: In the odd stat category Allen is undefeated (5-0) this year when being out shot by their opponent. Maybe it can be attributed to games where Allen has to kill a lot of penalties but outplay the opponent five on five.

No comments:

Post a Comment