Saturday, January 17, 2015

Allen Storms Past Thunder 8-2, Game Recap, Martinson Post Game Comments, Graham Injured & More

The final score last night was 8-2 and the game was as atypical as the score with Allen trouncing the Wichita Thunder before 3775 "Happy Hour All Night" fans at the Allen Event Center. The game did not start out well for the Americans giving up a goal on the first shift just 23 seconds into the game. Allen tied the game early in the second period but Wichita answered back to take a 2-1 lead at the 11:51 mark of the second period. It was at that point the atypical started. Here are just a few examples:
- Allen scored seven unanswered goals in the last half of the game. Wichita had only allowed Allen a total of ten goals in the last five games.
- Allen scored four goals on only seven shots in the second period
- Allen scored four goals on twelve shots in the third period
- Allen scored  eight goals and the top line (Costello, Schultz, Schwartz) had none
- The goal scorers were Kyle Follmer with a hat trick, Tyler Barr, Young, Baker, Messier, & Gens
- Shots on goal were even (30 each) yet the final score was 8-2

There were some things that went as expected:
- Allen had the better special teams stats going into the game and won the special teams battle scoring two power play goals and also getting their league leading ninth short handed goal.
- Allen penalty killers were perfect as Wichita was 0-6 on the power play. In the three games at the AEC this year against the Thunder, Allen has yet to give up a power play goal as Wichita is 0-14.
- Allen got great goaltending with Aaron Dell stopping 28 of 30 shots.

It is usually difficult to win the second game when you play a team in back to back games and blow them out the first night. Tom Boron will most likely be in goal for Wichita after Tyler Bunz got the start last night. Boron has been in goal for Wichita the last two times the Thunder have beaten Allen (December 19 & 27) and gave up just three goals in the two games. Look for a completely different game tonight.


- I know some people were wondering if we could score enough goals having just lost our leading scorer. Getting eight goals tonight seemed to answer that question as the eight goals were the second most goals we have scored all year.

- It was frustrating right off the start when Wichita scored 23 seconds into the game on the first shift. We tried a play up the middle and turned the puck over in our own zone and it cost us a goal.

- We obviously got better as the game went on and it was good to get a couple of power play goals. I really liked the way we switched sides on the power play as it made us more effective.

- There were lots of positives tonight. We are trying to have the third line be physical as that is what Wichita tries to do with their third line and when they chipped in with a couple of goals (Barr & Messier) that was great.

- Follmer played well on the second line as he snapped the puck hard two times going to the net. Three goals including a shorthanded goal was great. He sat out all last year with an injury so it is good to see him playing well. He is also a physical guy who can hit and also fight a little bit. He hasn't fought yet but he is pretty tough. It was nice to see him step up.

- There is always a lot of talk when a guy like Combs leaves as he is such a good player. But the flip side of that is it provides an opportunity for other players as Combs took so much ice time.

- One of the two new European players (Josef Fojtik) will arrive tomorrow afternoon and may be in the line up tomorrow night. The second player (Patrik Valcak) will not arrive until next Tuesday or Wednesday. They played on the same line in Poland and that will be the plan here. They are the second and third leading scorers on their team. (Valcak 9 goals 28 assists in 27 games & Fojtik 16 goals 17 assists in 23 games). I am pretty confident they will be good players in the ECHL.

- We will be prepared  tomorrow (Saturday)  to play any type of game Wichita wants to play. We might get another skill guy in the line up, we will have more depth and guys are getting healthier every day so we will be ready.

- The first line has won a lot of games for us this year and it was good we didn't need them tonight. I am not sure if I have the lines the way I want them. We will just have to see how it goes.

- I am pretty confident where we are at right now with the roster. With Combs leaving we do have a vet spot and I have some feelers out but don't have to be in a hurry with the signing deadline still being a month away.

- Next year I will not sign a player to one of the veteran spots that wants to play in the American League or in Europe. There will be plenty of time to find guys that only want to play in Allen.

- The same team that signed Combs tried to sign Costello and Schultz but they wanted to stay in Allen.


- With Jack Combs leaving for Sweden it gave Kyle Follmer the chance to play on the second line and he sure made the most of the opportunity scoring a hat trick with all three goals coming in the third period. Three goals on five shots is a pretty good nights work with a shorthanded goal thrown in for good measure.

- Allen has won seven games in a row dating back to December 31 and has won their last eight home games dating back to December 20.

-With the eight goal outburst last night Allen has once again taken the #1 rank in average goals scored per game at 4.29. Allowing just two goals against Wichita lowered the Americans goals allowed average to 2.56 and moved them to #2 in the ECHL.

- There were plenty of great performances last night and it is hard to quibble with the three stars (#1 Kyle Follmer, #2 Jesse Messier, #3 Brett Lyon) but another player worthy of a star was defenseman Aaron Gens who had a goal and an assist along with a team high +4. With the two points Gens now has 26 points for the season which ties him for second in the ECHL for most points by a defenseman.

- Both teams could talk about having key players missing last night. Wichita just had defenseman Dan Milan called up to the AHL and forward Kenton Miller was called up earlier. Allen could certainly counter with three key forwards missing (Combs, Ashchak, Hanson). It is what you do with what you got that counts.

- Bruce Graham has been playing with a foot injury and according to some posts on social media he was playing with a broken foot. The news release from his team (Nottingham Panthers) said it like this, "Extensive tests on Bruce Graham's injury which has seen him playing through the pain barrier in recent games have reached a conclusion and he is likely to be out of action for a couple of weeks."

- Trevor Hendrikx plays for the Cardiff Devils in the same league (EIHL) as Graham. Trevor is the most popular guy on the team and leads the EIHL in fighting majors. According to Trevor has had ten fight in just 35 games this year. He is an alternate captain of the team and has three goals and nine assists to go along with his 142 penalty minutes.

DID YOU KNOW: Wichita head coach Kevin McClelland won his 162nd game last Sunday and is now the franchise's all-time winningest coach. McClelland played in 588 NHL games and won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers.

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