If you watched or listened to the game last night you could find plenty of areas for improvement but in the end you found out why this is a championship caliber team. Allen made a great comeback to beat Wichita in a shootout 6-5 before a crowd of 7005 disappointed fans at the Intrust Bank Arena. After getting off to a great start and taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Tyler Ludwig (13) and Spencer Asuchak (5) the Americans surrendered four straight goals before Chad Costello cut the score to 4-2 at the 15:40 mark of the second period. The Thunder answered right back to take a 5-3 lead after the second period. At that point it did not look good for Allen as Wichita's record when leading after two periods was 15-0-1. Allen dominated the third period out shooting the Thunder 16-7 but with five minutes left in the game the score was still 5-3. The never say die Americans finally broke through at 15:34 with their fourth goal when Chad Costello found the back of the net with his 24th goal of the season. Allen tied the game 5-5 with just over a minute remaining in the game on Greger Hanson's sixteenth goal of the season.
The drama wasn't over as overtime/shootouts have not been kind to Allen this year as they were 2-5 going into the game. Both teams had good chances in the overtime but could not score. Thunder goalie Tim Boron saved the first four Allen shots in the shootout while Wichita scored one goal so going into the fifth round it was up to Ian Schultz to score to keep the Americans alive which he did. Riley Gill stopped the fifth round attempt by Wichita and it was sudden death. Both teams missed in the sixth round but in the seventh round Spencer Asuchak scored to give Allen the lead. Gill stoned the Thunder seventh round attempt and the celebration was on for the Americans.
After letting Wichita come back and win the game in overtime Saturday night in Allen it was great to return the favor in Wichita last night. No rest for the weary as Allen had to get on the bus right after the game and head back home where they will take on the Quad City Mallards at 7:05 tonight (Monday). According to Tommy Daniels the team ran into a winter storm in Oklahoma with heavy snow, then sleet with thunder and lightning and didn't arrive home until 4:00 AM.
- Touched base with Steve Martinson after the game but to be honest most of what he had to say is best left unsaid for fear of getting him in trouble with the league office. Will just say he had a different point of view on some of the calls made in the game. Martinson was also not interested in talking about the things that were not done well in the game after the great comeback and shootout win. He just wanted to give the players credit for the way they finished the game.
- Chad Costello had another multiple point night (his third in a row) with two goals and an assist and now has 78 points which leads the ECHL by nineteen points. He continues his assault on the Allen single season record book. His next point will put him in second place all time with only Colton Yellow Horn's 88 points left to pass. His assist last night was number 54 on the season and puts him within one of the all time single season record of 55 also held by Yellow Horn.
- With Wichita idle tonight a regulation win by Allen over Quad City will give Allen their largest point lead of the year as they will lead the Central Division by 21 points with 24 games remaining in the regular season.
- Allen has struggled defensively the last few game which will have to be tightened up going forward. They are one of the best teams in the league in goals allowed but have given up 17 goals in the last four games which is an average of 4.25. When you consider for the season Stockton is ranked #28 in goals allowed at 3.98 the American's 4.25 average over the last four games is not good.
- Part of the recent woes on defense is the penalty kill which has given up at least one goal in the last three games. Allen has won two of the last three games despite have a penalty kill percentage of just 79%.
ALLEN VS QUAD CITY GAME PREVIEW
- While Allen had a busy day on Sunday playing in Wichita and then returning home overnight the Quad City Mallards were enjoying a relaxing day off in Allen after winning in Tulsa on Friday night. They will definitely be the more rested team when they take on Allen tonight.
- This will be the second and last time for Quad City to visit the Allen Event Center (AEC) during the regular season this year. Allen still has three games to play in Quad City. Allen beat the Mallards in the one game they have played this year. It was December 10 at the AEC and the score was 5-2 in a game Allen outshot the Mallards 40-27. The game was most memorable because it was the night Jack Combs had four goals.
- Here is a statistical comparison of Allen and Quad City:
Points: Allen (73) - Quad City (54)
Goals For: Allen (199) - Quad City (142)
Goals Allowed: Allen (130) - Quad City (125)
Goal Differential: Allen (+69) - Quad City (+17)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+218) - Quad City (-35)
Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Quad City is ranked #12.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.23). Quad City is #14 (2.96).
Allen is ranked #6 in average goals allowed (2.77). Quad City is #3 (2.60).
- Allen's record is 34-8-3-2 compared to Quad City at 24-18-4-2. In their last ten games Allen is 6-2-2-0 while Quad City is 6-4-0-0.
Allen has an advantage on special teams on both the power play (Allen 21.0%, Quad City 17.6%) and penalty kill (Allen 88.9%, Quad City 85.7%).
Allen is obviously a very skilled offensive team and that shows up even
when they are on the penalty kill. The Americans have the top penalty
kill unit in the ECHL and are second in the league in short handed goals
with ten. Quad City has only one shorthanded goal all year and have yet to score a shorthanded goal on the road.
Allen is the much more penalized team especially when it comes to minor
penalties. Allen averages almost seven minor penalties per game compared
to Quad City who averages just over five per game. Since these minor
penalties most often result in a man advantage it will be important that
the Americans avoid getting a bunch of stick penalties.
Quad City has only one player (Mario Lamoureux) scoring at a point a
game clip. Allen has three players averaging a point a game (Costello, Steffes, Hanson). Allen has four defensemen (Gens, Young, Baker, Tyler Ludwig) in the top twelve in the league in scoring by defensemen, Quad City has none.
- Riley Gill will be in goal for Allen. It has been a real grind for Riley since Aaron Dell was recalled by Worcester on January 23. Tonight will be the twelfth game in a row Gill has been in goal including three games in the last three days and five games in seven days. Parker Milner has been carrying the bulk of the workload for Quad City. So far in February Milner has played in five games with a GAA of 1.43 and save percentage of .950. Gill has played in six games in February with a GAA of 3.12 and save percentage of .904.
- The referee tonight will be Zak Blazic (#9) and the linesmen will be Mike Anderson and Brian Bull.
DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 2-2 in shootouts this year and is just 6-21 (28.6%) in shoot out attempts this season. The heroes last night were Ian Schultz who is 1-2 in shootout attempts and Spencer Asuchak who is 1-1 as last night was his first attempt. Gary Steffes is the only Allen player with more than one shootout goal. He missed last night but is 2-4 on the season.