Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wichita Solves Allen's Potent Offense Again, Martinson's Post Game Comments, AHL Update

Only twice this season in twenty two games have the Allen Americans been held to one goal and both times it was at the hands of the Wichita Thunder. Last night it was a 2-1 overtime loss before a crowd of 4235 at the Allen Event Center. Wichita scored just 46 seconds into the game and Chad Costello scored a goal to make it 1-1 midway through the second period and that is how it ended in regulation. Aaron Dell saved numerous quality chances and the penalty kill unit killed off a five minute major penalty including a full two minutes of five on three midway through the third period to give Allen the momentum but they could not find the back of the net for the game winner. The extra session  was a real disappointment for the Americans as Kenton Miller score the game winner after just fifty one seconds of overtime. Allen was called for icing and lost the ensuing face off.  The puck was passed to Miller who was standing all alone in front of the crease. He had time to wait out Aaron Dell take the puck from forehand to backhand and put it in the net. A sad ending for what was a terrific night for Dell as he got no help from the defense on the play.


- It was a frustrating game for sure. I didn't think we played very hard at the start of the game. The very first shift we kept turning the puck over until they scored a goal. I thought as the game progressed we would pick it up but we did not win enough battles down low and we kept cheating too much trying to make long plays instead of playing our usual puck possession game, getting it in the zone and supporting the puck.

- Our power play was kind of brain dead. We didn't shoot the puck from the point as we talk about all the time and then don't do in the game. We maybe had two good chances in our five power play opportunities. Not scoring a power play goal was a big difference.

- Our penalty kill was great and Dell was our best penalty kill guy as he made a couple of great saves on the five on three. When we are killing a five on three and our guy gets a stick to the face it is frustrating when we don't get that call.

- To have the game end with such an easy scoring chance on a four on four face off was also frustrating. We got caught cheating and out of position maybe hoping we could intercept the puck and get an odd man rush. We always say don't gamble, let the other team gamble and we will burn them. It was a crappy end for Dell who has played a couple of strong back to back games. The good thing about the loss is we don't have to wait long to do something about it with two more games this weekend. Riley Gill will start in goal tomorrow night (Saturday) against Tulsa.

-  For his first game I thought Schwartz was okay. He is probably not use to carrying the puck. I just told him to try and make some plays. He didn't arrive until something like 5:00 am this morning so he didn't even have a chance to participate in the morning skate. It is difficult to get thrown in like that. He will be better tomorrow night.

- Wichita plays a lot of man on man defense and pressures you all over including in the offensive zone. If they make a mistake they don't have secondary layers to help defend their net. That is what happened on the one goal we got but we did not take advantage of that enough tonight. 


- Wichita has definitely figured out a way to play against Allen to slow down their high powered offense. Allen averages more shots on goal than any team in the league and scores more goals on average than any team in the the league. After allowing five goals the first time they played Allen back in October the Thunder have allowed the Americans a total five goals in three games. Allen averages just under 34 shots on goal for the season but against Wichita they average just 26 shots on goal.

- Tim Boron was great in goal for the Thunder who now have a three game win streak. Boron has been in goal for all three games and has given up only two goals in the three games.

- It was nice to see the standing ovation for the penalty kill unit after they killed off a five minute major and a full two minutes of five on three in the third period. The league leading group is now at 89.4%.

- Chad Costello had the only goal for the Americans assisted by Combs and Schultz. The last time these two teams played (November 29) was the only time this line has been held scoreless all year. Both Combs and Costello have a seven game scoring streak and remain #1 (Combs with 40 points) and #2 (Costello with 33 points) in the ECHL scoring race.

- Even though they lost in overtime Allen gained a point in the standings as second place Tulsa lost to Rapid City 4-0. With the win over Allen, Wichita has moved into third place. Allen has a five point lead over Tulsa with five games in hand and a six point lead over Wichita with four games in hand.

- With a crowd of 4235 at the game last night the average attendance is once again close to 4000 (3991). This is below the ECHL average of 4181 and below last year's average of  4157. With Allen High School playing for the state football championship tonight the crowd will certainly be affected but the average attendance should improve from this point forward. Allen's current attendance average of 3991 ranks them #17 of the 28  teams in the ECHL.

- Greger Hanson's debut in Worcester (AHL) last night was spoiled by a 4-1 loss to Manchester but wearing the #8 was luck individually. Greger got his first AHL point as he assisted on Worcester's only goal and he had a good game defensively. He was a +1 for the game and one of only three players on the team in the plus category. Worcester plays again tonight in Portland, Maine.

- Spencer Asuchak played his sixth game for the Providence Bruins last night as they beat the Portland 3-2 in overtime. Spencer's line score was all zero's but the most important stat is a victory. Since Asuchak joined the team six games ago they have not lost and they have the second longest  current win streak in the AHL. Providence plays at Manchester tonight.

- Here is a post game interview with Tyler Ludwig courtesy of Tommy Daniels:

DID YOU KNOW:  Rylan Schwartz wore the #11 last night and joins some pretty impressive college graduates that have had that number for the Americans. Rylan is a graduate of Colorado College, an academic all American and was the NCAA leading scorer in 2012-2013. Phil Fox had the #11 last year and had an excellent career at Northern Michigan University (NMU) where he was the captain of the hockey team. He is now back at NMU as the Director, Hockey Operations. And of course the original #11, Nino Musitelli,  played his college hockey at Miami of Ohio and still holds Allen's single season record for most goals at 34 (tied with Bruce Graham).

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