Thursday, January 1, 2015

Allen Wins 5-3, Game Recap, Martinson's Post Game Comments, Stats & More

Jack Combs had a hat trick to lead Allen to victory - photo by

The Allen Americans maintained their perfect New Years Eve record with their sixth consecutive win to close out a year. It was a festive atmosphere last night at the Allen Event Center as 4637 fans watched the Americans beat the Rapid City Rush 5-3. Allen was led by a Jack Combs hat trick, Garrett Clarke's first goal of the year and a Rylan Schwartz shorthanded goal. Allen got on the board first midway through the first period as Schwartz scored Allen's league leading seventh short handed goal of the season. Allen is almost unbeatable (88%) when scoring first and that proved to be the case last night though the game was in doubt until Jack Combs buried an empty net goal with just over a minute remaining in the game to seal the 5-3 victory. The Americans and Rush are off today and will meet again at the AEC Friday night.


- It was a little dicey at the end of the game but it was nice to close out the year with a victory.

- On Rapid City's first two goals our forwards let their guy go through the middle and were not on the defensive side and the Rush burned us both times. On the third goal it looked like one of our forwards was trying to intercept the puck and go down on a breakaway. So three times we cheated and it cost us all three times. That is how you go from a 4-1 game to letting them back in. 

- We continue to take way too many stick penalties (tripping, slashing, hooking, cross checking). We have to figure out a way to stay out of the penalty box.

- It was great to get back in the win column. We scored on our first two shots of the game but I felt in the first period we were not getting shots. We kept trying to make a perfect play instead of just shooting the puck. 

- We won the game but we are not out of the woods and still need improvement. One shift in the first period we turned the puck over at Rapid City's blue line three times. So we need to get things dialed in a bit tighter. We need to manage the puck better when we have a lead. 

- Clarke's goal was the result of finishing a check against the guy that should have been covering him. He got the puck in deep, went to the corner, checked the guy hard and went right to the net. Messier made a great pass and Garrett made a nice move on the goalie.

- I am pleased with Kyle Follmer so far. He is a smart player as he holds the puck and finished a couple of checks hard. The fact that he can play defense and up front is a real plus. I haven't done too much with him as he has only had one practice. I think he will be able to help us once he gets in better shape  and gets in a few more practices.

- I am one the phone and talking to some guys but don't have anyone coming in right now. We only have 18 players so if we get somebody hurt we will be short. I have some stuff going on and hope to have a player available by Friday in case we have a problem as we have games Friday, Sunday & Tuesday.


- Jack Combs had three goals and the hat trick gives him a league leading twenty goals on the year, two ahead of his teammate Gary Steffes. Chad Costello could have had the empty net goal but chose to pass to his buddy to complete the hat trick. Combs increased his lead in the ECHL scoring race over third place to fifteen points as he now has 50 points. Chad Costello is in second place with 47 points.

- Chad Costello was a +3 in the game last night to take over sole possession of the ECHL lead in that category as he is now a +24 on the season.

-  Rylan Schwartz's shorthanded goal was the seventh of the season for Allen in just 28 games. They are on pace to get 18 shorties this season which would easily break the all time record of 13 scored by the 2010-2011 team. Spencer Asucahk had five shorthanded goals last year to lead the ECHL and set the all time record for the Americans.

- Allen's defensive corp continues to do well at both ends of the ice. The skilled group has four guys (Tyler Ludwig, Young, Gens, Baker) in the top twelve in the league in scoring by defensemen and also are a huge part of why Allen has one of the lowest goals allowed averages (2.68) in the ECHL.

- The penalty kill unit has given up a power play goal in all four games since Brian McMillin was injured when the penalty kill percentage was at 90%. In the last four games the penalty kill percentage is 78.2%.

- With the win over Rapid City the Americans were only able to maintain their six point lead in the standings as second place Quad City beat Evansville 3-0 and third place Wichita beat Missouri 4-3.

- Allen has eleven home wins which is more than any other team in the ECHL.

- Jack Combs had the game winning goal last night which was his sixth game winning goal of the season. Yet another category in which he leads the ECHL.

- Quad City beat established ECHL teams twice this week and now has two of the three wins the former CHL teams have over the older ECHL teams with Rapid City having the other. The overall record now stands at 3-12.

- With a decent crowd (4637) last night Allen has climbed back over the 4000 mark in average attendance for the year and is now at 4042. They are still ranked #16 in the ECHL and are below the league wide average of 4282.

- With their twentieth win of the season last night Allen joins Fort Wayne, Toledo, and Florida as the four teams that have separated themselves from the rest of the teams in the league in almost all statistical categories. Win percentage best illustrates how these four team are ahead of the pack.
.833 - Florida
.783 - Fort Wayne
.776 - Toledo
.768 - Allen

.629 - Greenville
.629 - Idaho

- Happy birthday to Allen goalie Riley Gill who turns 30 today. Got to meet his mom, dad and brother last night who are in town to help him celebrate. Others sharing a January 1st birthday are  former Allen defenseman Josh Hepditch (2011-2012) who is now a coaching a junior team in Nova Scotia and the voice of the Wichita Thunder, Jason Mals. Happy birthday to all. Also, happy birthday to Allen PA announcer Lee Hastings who celebrated his birthday and New Years Eve last night.

DID YOU KNOW: The number of shorthanded goals scored by Allen each year has varied widely. Her are the numbers:
2014-2015 - 7 (thru 28 games)
2013-2014 - 11
2012-2013 - 7
2011-2012 - 2
2010-2011 - 13
2009-2010 - 8

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