Monday, December 8, 2014

Note to Self, Martinson's Post Game Comments, Matvichuk's Pregame Comments & More

NOTE TO SELF: If your team has a huge advantage in all statistical categories and is well rested over the opponent don't predict a close, playoff style game with a possible upset just because you like the opposing coach who helped your team to back to back championships. LESSON LEARNED!

After giving up the first goal just 43 seconds into the game the Allen Americans took control with four unanswered goals including a shorthanded goal by Greger Hanson to beat the Missouri Mavericks 6-2 before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 3459 at the Allen Event Center. The game followed a familiar script with the team's top four scorers (Combs, Costello, Steffes, Hanson) all getting a goal, goalie Riley Gill was outstanding, the defensemen were solid, and the penalty kill was flawless.

With the win Allen increased their lead in the Central Division standings to four points over Tulsa and seven points over third place Wichita. Next up for the Americans is a home game against the Quad City Mallards on Wednesday.



STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS:

- Not much to dislike about the game tonight. We were well rested while Missouri had to play last night and travel to Allen.

- I didn't like how we gave up an odd man rush which lead the their second goal after we took the 4-1 lead. But we came right back and scored to make the score 5-2. When the top line is on the ice the defensemen sometimes try to manufacture plays that are not there.

- We tend to try and be too cute on the power play sometimes trying to make the perfect pass. I told the guys after the first period once Missouri collapses we have to move the puck to the point and shoot it. You can't control what the other team does defending the power play, you have to react to what they do. With the way the Mavericks were collapsing we needed more one timers from the point. We haven't worked on the power play in practice because we have been playing so many games. We will spend some time on the power play this week.

- All of our right shot defensemen (Young, Tyler Ludwig, Gens, Baker) are good on the power play. It is tough to get them all time.

- Jamie Schaafsma keeps working hard even though he is not scoring as much as he would like. He made a nice pass on the second Steffes goal and I expect he will break out in the near future. I like they way the line with Jamie, Steffes and Hanson is working.

- Kevin Colley (Arizona Sundogs coach) has been living in Frisco (his wife is from the area) and helping with practices this year. He is still employed by Arizona even though they are not playing this year. He just got permission from the Arizona ownership group to be on the bench so that is why he was on the bench tonight. It is nice for me as he can keep an eye on what lines are coming up when we are trying to match lines. It gives me a chance to pay more attention to what is happening on the ice.

- I have some thoughts on an approach if we lose more players to the AHL. Several players I had waiting in the wings are no longer available. With so many players doing well we certainly could have several go to the AHL. When players become available whether it is here in North America or from overseas they want to come to a winning team so our success really helps in the recruiting process.

- I want Richard Matvichuk and the Mavericks to do well, just not against us.


OTHER COMMENTS:

- Had the chance to sit with Richard Matvichuk during warm ups to get his thoughts on his team as well as his return to Allen. He feels his team is playing better as evidenced by a three game winning  streak but is having trouble scoring goals even with many proven goals scorers on the team. When they play the right way they are fine but often times take too many risks that result in odd man rushes. Special teams have been a problem however the penalty kill has been good lately.  He was not happy with having to play at home on Saturday and then travel to Allen to play a team that did not play on Saturday. They arrived in Allen at 7:00 am Sunday morning. Richard insisted this was just another game. He has great respect for what Steve Martinson has accomplished and learned a lot the two years he spent in Allen. Spending a few minutes with Matvichuk reminded me why he is so well liked wherever he goes, an open, honest, funny, engaging, accommodating guy. He will get things turned around and you can't help but routing for him, unless he is playing the Americans.

- Three games don't make a trend but Allen has handled Missouri fairly easily so far this season. November 14 in Missouri produced a 3-1 Allen victory. Their second meeting was also in Missouri on November 26 and Allen won 6-0 and then last night's 6-2 victory in Allen. Three games with a total score of 15-3 spells dominance. Missouri will have plenty of opportunity to get even as the two teams play four times in January, however, three of the games are in Allen.

- With the exception of a Brett Lyon goal at the end of the second period the box score looked very familiar in the goals scored department. It reads Steffes, Hanson, Combs, Steffes, and Costello.

- Have said this before but it is worth repeating that this team has been really special thus far. It is nearly impossible to keep up this pace for what is now just over 25% of the season. It has been about as good as it gets. Allen has historically had a tough month or so (usually January) so you can hope for the best but expect a slow down. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy what is the most entertaining team in the short history of the Allen Americans.

- It is hard to believe the number of categories the team or individual players lead or are tied for the lead not only for the division and conference but the entire ECHL. Here are all of the #1's:

Individuals
Goals - Gary Steffes (14)
Assists - Jack Combs (20)
Points - Jack Combs (33)
Power Play Goals - Gary Steffes (5)
Shorthanded Goals - Greger Hanson (5)
Game Winning Goals - Greger Hanson (4)
Penalty Minutes - Brett Lyon (125)
Plus/Minus - Greger Hanson (+16)
Goalie Wins - Riley Gill (11)

Team
Penalty Kill -  (89.7%)
Shorthanded Goals - (6)
Longest Winning Streak - (8)
Most Goals In a Game - (9)
Biggest Winning Margin In A Game - (7)
Plus/Minus - (+113)

- Congrats to Aaron Gens who played in his 100th professional game last night.

- The battle between the old CHL teams and the old ECHL teams was to continue on Sunday with two games. It was the first time since November 1st old played new. Wheeling was supposed to play Brampton in Brampton but their bus broke down and the game had to be postponed. The other match up was Wichita and Elmira. Elmira easily won the game 5-1 which was highlighted by a third period line brawl. The teams combined for 174 penalty minutes in the third period alone with seven players getting game misconduct penalties. The goalies both left the crease and headed to center ice for a go but were intercepted by a linesman. The Elmira win is the tenth in a row by the old ECHL teams over the old CHL teams. The record now stands 1-10. The only victory by one of the old CHL teams was the very first game played when Rapid City beat Colorado 5-1.

- Hats off to Emily Manning who has taken over for her brother, Tom Manning, doing game operations this year for the Allen Americans. She has done a great job under some trying circumstances. I am sure she arranged to have Santa at the game last night doing that wild dance during one of the timeouts. Not sure who she recruited but Santa had the same three dance moves we used to see from Tom Manning. Good job Emily!

- Congrats to Spencer Asuchak who made his debut in the AHL last night for the Providence Bruins and what a debut it was. He had a goal, two assists, was a +3 and his team won 3-2. Could not happen to a nicer guy.


DID YOU KNOW: Average attendance thus far in eight home games for Allen is 4034 which is below the ECHL average of 4178 and also below last years average of 4216. With Allen High School still playing football the average should increase after the first of the year but the current average is the lowest since year two (2010-2011). Here is Allen's average attendance by year:
2014-2015 - 4034
2013-2014 - 4216
2012-2013 - 4157
2011-2012 - 4336
2010-2011 - 3986
2009-2010 - 3810






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