|Spencer Asuchak (#26) celebrates his game tying goal in the 2nd period - photo by Lauren Lyssy|
Sometimes when a team loses a game as the Allen Americans did last night to the Quad City Mallards by a score of 2-1 before a crowd of 3385 at the Allen Event Center you just have to tip your hat to the winning team. It wasn't about poor play, odd man rushes, breakaways, bad goaltending or referee calls, it was one team playing better than the other team. Mallard coach, Terry Ruskowski felt his team had the fresher legs (they did not play on Sunday when Allen was playing in Wichita) which contributed to the fast start by the Mallards as they outshot Allen 17-3 in the first period. Despite the big shot advantage Quad City could only get one puck behind goalie Riley Gill who was starting his twelfth consecutive game in goal and third in three nights for Allen. The Americans out played and out shot the Mallards in the second and third periods. Spencer Asuchak got the equalizer at the 6:06 mark of the second period but that was the only goal Allen could get past Mallard goalie Parker Milner who has the second best GAA (2.12) and save percentage (.929) in the ECHL. Kevin Baker got the game winner for Quad City early in the third period.
Allen has one day to rest before they take on the Wichita Thunder Wednesday night. It should be a hard fought game as it will be the third time in five days the teams have played each other.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- We didn't have any legs in the first period and it looked like we were dead and then we had some good shifts in the second period and got going. I thought we outplayed them in the second and third period. We made a bad play on the game winning goal in the third period when we didn't cover their best scorer, Kevin Baker, on a three on three. It was a matter of not communicating and not reading the play correctly.
- Their goalie was good tonight and I thought the Mallards played hard and defended hard so I give them credit as they came to Allen and played a solid game. I also give our players credit as they were dead in the first but came back and played hard. You don't like to make excuses but we played three games in three days and they had the day off yesterday and it looked like that tonight. Even at the end after we pulled the goalie we just missed a pass that would have been a great opportunity. We barely missed on a lot of passes during the game which is a sign of fatigue.
- There were a lot of variables that went into me waiving Jack Combs. I could have traded him but by the time I knew he was returning there was very little time (a matter of hours) to make a trade and it was impossible to get equal value in a trade. By waiving Jack it created many different options for us with Stockton claiming him on waivers. There is slight possibility he could come back to us and other options where we could get a player in the future depending on what happens with Jack. That is about all I can say about it at this time.
- Things are day to day on getting a goalie from our AHL affiliate in Worcester. They have three goalies and they will not keep three goalies when everyone is healthy. If we don't get a goalie from Worcester soon I will look to sign a goalie. I took some risk because we would be in trouble if Gill got hurt but I didn't want to bring in a goalie and then release him when we got someone from Worcester. That issue should be resolved one way or another soon. If we do get a goalie from Worcester it may not be Aaron Dell as he has started the last six games for the Sharks.
- Patrik Valcak should be in the line up on Wednesday and he will play with Josef Fojtik so I can see how they play together. They played well together in Europe so we will see what they bring. I am also bringing in another forward tomorrow.
- We will have a little stronger line up than we have now going down the stretch and into the playoffs but we have a team right now that can be counted on to win in the playoffs.
- Conditioning may have caught up with us a little bit tonight. With all of the crazy travel and games lately we went six days out of ten without getting on the ice. The extra rest might help us down the road but conditioning might have been impacted in the short run.
- With the loss the Allen lead in the Central Division over second place Quad City has been reduced to 17 points.
- The info below is part of a story written by Scott Linesburgh, who is a staff writer for recordnet.com in Stockton, which has some additional information relating to Jack Combs. The bottom line on this transaction still has to play out. The options depend on many variables but include a scenario where Combs could end up in Allen, Stockton, some other ECHL team or not playing the rest of the season in the ECHL. Stay tuned. Here is the info from Scott's story.
The Stockton Thunder announced it had claimed forward Jack Combs off waivers from the Allen Americans. Some interesting twists led to Combs becoming available, but he technically is with the Thunder and coach Rich Kromm will contact him to see if he wants to play in Stockton. Combs most recently played in Europe. "I understand he came back to the United States last night,” Kromm said. “I just need a talk to the kid and see if he wants to come. The whole thing is a bit complicated.” Combs, 27, was leading the ECHL in scoring with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists) in 32 games when he decided to leave the Americans on Jan. 13 and signed with the Swedish team IF Björklöven. Combs played just three games in Europe, and ECHL rules disallowed his immediate return to Allen. Instead of trading his rights, the Americans chose to put him on waivers with the hope they could make a deal with Stockton to get him back. But that scenario would only work if Stockton was the only team that claimed Combs, but a total of seven franchises put in claims. Kromm said every team would have to withdraw its claim for Stockton to be able to make a deal with Allen, an unlikely scenario.
- It is that time of year where players at all levels of hockey start to wear down and injuries occur. With all of the talent on the Allen Americans it is likely more players will get the opportunity to play in the AHL. Having key players loaned to AHL teams always hurts in the short run but really helps in recruiting when players know if they come to Allen they will be given an opportunity to make it to the AHL.
- Steve Martinson mentioned in his press conference last night he was bringing in a forward in time for the game with Wichita on Wednesday. With the bad blood between these teams, Wichita being the most penalized team in the league and the fact they are playing each other for the third time in five days you can assume the player being brought in is a tough guy. Have no inside information on who the player might be but the last time the Americans were in this situation with Wichita, coach Martinson brought in Tyler Barr from the Louisana Ice Gators (SPHL).
DID YOU KNOW: Last year the Allen Americans had one player called up the the AHL as Alex Lavoie played seven games in Oklahoma City. This year with 24 games still remaining Allen has already had three players spend time in the AHL with 43 games played. This does not include Rylan Schwartz who started the year in Worcester, was sent to Allen for 22 games and has now returned to Worcester. Here are the details on the AHL call ups.
Aaron Dell - Worcester (11 games)
Spencer Asuchak - Providence (15 games) & Worcester (3 games)
Greger Hanson - Worcester (11 games) & Oklahoma City (3 games)