For the 3406 Allen Americans fans that opted to show up at the Allen Event Center yesterday afternoon to watch hockey rather than stay home to watch the Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions it was an entertaining hockey game with no fights, few penalties, and a 3-2 Allen victory. Wichita continued to stymie the top line who were held to just one point (Chad Costello assist) but others stepped up with Rylan Schwartz, Kyle Follmer and Tyler Ludwig getting the goals for the Americans. Allen took only four minor penalties and held Wichita scoreless on their three power play opportunities. Meanwhile, the Americans scored one power play goal in five opportunities. It was an important win for many reason the most important being it broke the three game losing streak against the Thunder. The game also proved the team can win if the top line doesn't contribute as there are many others that can step up, taking fewer penalties than the opposition leads to victory and with good defense and goal tending Allen can win low scoring games.
Allen fans are used to excellence as evidenced by back to back championships and the fact the Americans have never missed the playoffs. Sometimes when you are used to always having good teams you don't take the time to appreciate what you have. This season has yet to reach halfway but this team has been extraordinary. The Americans have played sixteen home games and have won thirteen which is the most home wins in the entire league. It seems like a long time ago but remember Allen lost two of their first three home games. Since that point almost two month ago the Americans have won twelve of thirteenth home games with the only loss being in overtime to Wichita. A big thank you to the front office, coaching staff and especially the players for an incredible run at home of the most entertaining regular season hockey ever witnessed in Allen. Job well done!
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- It was nice to get back on the winning track against Wichita. I thought the first time we lost to them in Wichita we had a lot of good scoring chances but we could not capitalize as they had good goal tending from Tyler Bunz. I thought he was good again tonight as we missed some breakaways and other good opportunities. Riley Gill was also good in goal as Wichita missed some breakaways and good scoring chances as well.
- It was nice to get the one power play goal. I thought early on we could have made better plays with the man advantage but the play that Gens and Costello made on Tyler's power play goal was a great play.
- On Wichita's second goal our center should have stayed with the guy in the slot because both of the defensemen were below the goal line but we ended up not covering the player that was in position to score and he put it in the net. Overall I thought we were in control in the third period and had the puck in their zone a lot of the time and missed on several quality scoring opportunities.
- I switched the lines up in the third period to make them a little more even and I thought Follmer made a couple of nice passes to Costello and Schaafsma. It was also good to see him get his first goal.
- I signed Dan Barnes just for insurance for tonight. He is a local guy that trains hockey players so he is always in shape. I will release him tomorrow and we will play short one player in Missouri. I am talking to a couple of guys from Europe and there are some other possibilities regarding roster changes so we will see what happens in the next week.
- Garrett Clarke will have a disciplinary hearing tomorrow (Monday) with the league commissioner which will determine how long he will be suspended. I can't defend a hit when the video clearly shows his elbow catching the player in the head. Those are exactly the kinds of hits the league wants to eliminate. I don't want our players delivering those type of hits. I tell our guys all the time I want to have a tough physical team but I want to be physical within the framework that is allowed. I don't have a lot of sympathy for guys that get suspensions as I feel nine times out of ten a player makes a decision to do what they do. I don't accept excuses like they didn't mean to do it or they just lost control.
- Riley Gill had another great game in goal for Allen stopping 26 of 28 shots. Riley is now tied for second in the ECHL with 16 wins.
- Coach Martinson always talks about how much of the team's offense is generated by the defense. Last night was a perfect example as Allen had nine points (3 goals 6 assists) on the night and five of the nine points came from defensemen (1 goal 4 assists).
- Allen has four defensemen in the top fifteen in the ECHL in scoring by defensemen. Aaron Gens is #2 with 23 points. Justin Baker is tied for #3 with 22 points. Kevin Young is tied for #9 with 20 points and Trevor Ludwig is tied for #15 with 18 points.
- With a goal last night Rylan Schwartz now has a six game scoring streak which is the longest on the team. Since being assigned by Worcester (AHL) to Allen just before Christmas Rylan has played in nine games and has nine points (4 goals 5 assists).
- Congrats to Kyle Follmer who scored his first professional goal in the game last night.
- With their win over Wichita the Americans now have the second best win percentage (.783) in the ECHL trailing only the Florida Everbaldes (.810).
- Allen scored the first goal against the Thunder and have now won 16 of 19 (90%) games when scoring the first goal.
- Garrett Clarke has his hearing today and an indication of how serious the matter is taken by the ECHL is the hearing will be with Commissioner Brian McKenna. The hearing will be held over the phone and it will be an opportunity for the league to tell Clarke that hits like the one he had on Friday will not be tolerated in the ECHL. Clarke will also be given the chance to share what he was thinking and give his side of what happened. It was the case in the CHL and most likely true in the ECHL the video of the incident has been shared with NHL and/or AHL officials to get their opinion of the type of discipline they would administer in this case. Given Clarke is a repeat offender and as was given a four game suspension earlier this year for what would have been a clean hit if the player had been in possession of the puck the outcome of the hearing today will be almost certainly be a long suspension.
- Worcester (Greger Hanson) played Providence (Spencer Asuchak) yesterday but the showdown between Allen teammates never materialized as Spencer was a healthy scratch for the game. Worcester won the game 3-1. Hanson had three shots on goal and a penalty.
DID YOU KNOW: The Americans win percentage currently stands at .783. In their two championship years their regular season win percentage was .659 (2012-2013) and .629 (2013-2014).