Monday, March 2, 2015

Allen Beats Wichita 6-4, Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Dell Signs NHL Deal, Joining Team Sin Bin

 The easiest thing to say about the Allen Americans game last night against Wichita is Allen came out on top by a score of 6-4 before a very disappointed crowd of 6418 at Intrust Bank Arena. Other than that it was one of the more bizarre games you will ever witness. To begin with the referee was the same one that was the referee Saturday night in Allen. Jake Brenk is well known to Allen fans from the days in the CHL. A former professional hockey player turned referee, he was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2001 NHL draft and was a teammate of Kevin Young when they both played in Holland. There have been many unusual games over the years when Brenk has been the referee and not all of them were issues against Allen. If you recall, last year he threw Quad City Mallard  coach Terry Ruskowski out of a game in Allen in the second period. An indication of the frustration on the part of both coaches on how the game was handled is the only comment from coach Martinson after the game had to with the officiating and Martinson's team won the game. Will spare you all of the details but this quote from Martinson sums it up, "I can only think of one thing more frustrating than that game and it would be going through that and losing the game." You can only imagine the frustration of Wichita coach Kevin McClelland after losing the game. Not positive about this but I remember hearing somewhere that McClelland once cut Brenk from his team.

In talking to coach Martinson he would like to get an explanation for some of the calls in the last two games which happened to be officiated by Brenk. The players are frustrated when blatant penalties are not called and then soft penalties are called. Non calls like two handed slashes which cause a player to lose portions of his teeth or a cross check to the face that results in only a two minute penalty. The ECHL is interested in protecting players as they did when Garrett Clarke recently got an eight game suspension but Martinson is baffled why other head shots seem to be minimized. Would guess after the game last night both coaches will be sending video tape to the league office looking for answers.

Enough about the officiating, here are a few of the things that made the game last night unique.
- Allen scored the first three goals of the game but then gave up two power play goals in 52 seconds to let Wichita back in the game.
- Six of the ten goals were scored on the power.
- The game included a goal scored after the goalie was pulled and an empty net goal.
- Wichita scored three power play goals (3-11) which is the most they have scored all year
- Wichita was awarded a penalty shot on a breakaway as Kirill Tulupov got the puck as he was leaving the penalty box. He bounced the shot off the post.
- Josef Fojtik appeared to be hooked from behind on a breakaway but no penalty shot was awarded.
- Allen took a 5-2 lead into the third period but almost blew the lead as Wichita scored twice including a goal with one minute left to play after they pulled the goalie.
- Wichita appeared to tie the game with 35 seconds remaining but the referee disallowed the goal saying the play was dead before the puck crossed the goal line.
- Gary Steffes scored an empty net goal with 19 seconds remaining to make the final score 6-4.
- A mini line brawl broke out at the end of the game (less than one second remaining) which ended with eight fighting majors being called. Haven't seen the video but would assume this was started by a frustrated Wichita team. The players involved from Allen (Baker, Descoteaux, Hanson & Steffes) are not the brawl starting types. It was the first fighting major of the year for Baker and Descoteaux and the second for Hanson. With the way Wichita and Allen play each other it is hard to believe they are owned by the same people.
- Two Gordie Howe hat tricks for Allen in the same game may be a record as Gary Steffes (2 goals 1 assist) and Greger Hanson (1 goal 1 assist) both accomplished the feat.
- Goal scorers for the Allen Americans were Schaafsma (13), Steffes (36 & 37), Gens (8), Costello (29) & Hanson (19).
- A balanced scoring night for Allen as nine different players had points and six different players had at least two points (Gens, Steffes, Costello, Hanson, Schaafsma & Valcak). 
- After having some low scoring games earlier in the year Allen and Wichita have had six straight high scoring games. Here are the scores of the last six games.
Allen 6 at Wichita 4 (March 1)
Wichita 6 at Allen 5 (February 18)
Allen 6 at Wichita 5 (February 16)
Wichita 5 at Allen 4 (February 14)
Wichita 4 at Allen 6 (January 17) 
Wichita 2 at Allen 8 (January 16)

- Here are the video highlights from the game courtesy of the Wichita Thunder:



-  Coach Martinson has said on several occasions that Wichita chirps more than any team in the league. His quote from last night was, "Wichita talks so much it has become more than just a game with them. Makes the wins that much better." He has also said in the past Wichita always wants to fight when Allen has a short bench or the tough guys are out of the line up but when Allen has a full line up Wichita is all talk and no action. With five more games remaining against Wichita (two at home and three away) this rivalry will only get better.

- The points keep coming for Chad Costello as last night he had a multi point game for the eighth time in the last ten games. He now has 92 points and a 30 point lead in the ECHL scoring race. Not much of a race anymore as Costello is lapping the field.

- Aaron Gens is having a break out career year and with two more points last night (1 goal 1 assist) he now has forty points to lead all ECHL defensemen. He already has more goals (8), assists (32), points (40) and penalty minutes (170) than any season as a collegian or professional. He is also +25 in plus/minus to lead all Allen defensemen and is third among all ECHL defensemen.

- The next Allen Americans all time single season record to fall will be the record for power play goals which is held by Bruce Graham who had 16 in 2010-2011. Gary Steffes is currently second on the all time list with fifteen power play goals.

- I am sure most of you have seen by now that Aaron Dell has signed a one year, two way (NHL/AHL) deal with the San Jose Sharks for $550,000. Lots of congratulations are coming to him from all directions. When researching a story about Aaron two years ago a couple of things struck me that you might find interesting. First, is the fact that he was home schooled back in Alberta where he grew up in a community just to the north of Calgary which may account for his quiet introspective demeanor. The other fascinating thing I found was he has earned everything in his hockey career through hard work and determination. He was never the hot shot goalie that was going to be the star. As a matter of fact from his time in juniors in Calgary, to college at the University of North Dakota, to his first professional year with the Allen Americans to his recent success in the AHL he never started out as the main guy. In every situation it was through his hard work, perseverance and performance that enabled Aaron to beat out the player or players that were playing ahead of him. That is why it is so special to see a guy like Aaron Dell succeed. Nice guys can finish first and you can expect when he gets to the NHL he will over achieve there just as he has all along the way. And Allen fans will be saying they knew him when he was playing in the Central Hockey League.


Finally, I wanted to mention that I have joined up with several other bloggers/writers around the ECHL to become part of a new venture started by Joe Rozycki who most of the you might know as "Sin Bin" who is the official blogger of the Missouri Mavericks. The Sin Bin was created by Joe in September 2012, with the premise of being a source of unique and in-depth information for the fans, by a fan.

Here is how Joe describes what he is trying to do in his own words. "Over the years, I have been lucky enough to interact with people from many different fan bases, thus spreading the reach of The Sin Bin. Since I was only covering the Missouri Mavericks, I felt as though a great portion of my supporters were missing out on the true interaction that takes place within the realm of The Sin Bin. So, over the course of the last few months, I considered expanding The Sin Bin into new markets, and broadening our reach to fans across the country. Now, I am proud to welcome writers in six new markets to Team Sin Bin. Those familiar with the ECHL will recognize most of the names, and we'll also welcome some fresh faces to the scene. At the end of the day, our goal is not to become some behemoth conglomerate, but to continue to give fans a voice in the always-exciting world of minor league hockey.

Barry Janssen is someone that I have a great deal of respect for, and a terrific writer. His passion for the Allen Americans and their fans is something that I would like to clone in every market, as he is the epitome of what I'm looking for at The Sin Bin. When I first started to consider making this expansion, he was the first person that I thought of, and I am beyond honored that he is a part of our team. The Allen vs. Missouri rivalry has brought us so many great moments over the years. Barry and I have developed a fantastic relationship from this, and I know that he will represent Team Sin Bin with dignity, integrity, and tremendous insight."

I appreciate the kind words from Joe and look forward to working with him and the entire Team Sin Bin. For Allen Americans fans that read my blog on a regular basis there will be no change in how you access the blog whether it is through Facebook, Twitter or directly from the web site. What will be different is my blog will also be posted on the Sin Bin web site which is at for others to see along with content from the other Sin Bin writers. It will be a place to go to get information from all over the ECHL so I encourage you to check it out.

I have already been asked why I am becoming part of Team Sin Bin when I am already writing for the Minor League Hockey Report (MLHR).  The details will come out at a later date but I want everyone to know I am making the move to Team Sin Bin with the knowledge and endorsement of MLHR who had this to say,  "We wish Barry all the best in his new endeavor. Barry is a well-respected blogger, not only in Allen but throughout the ECHL. His knowledge of the sport and the people in it is second to none and provides a great resource to fans."

The Allen Americans Blog is now a member of Team Sin Bin

DID YOU KNOW: In the strange stat category Gary Steffes had two goals against Wichita last night and leads the ECHL in goals scored with 37. In second place is his teammate Chad Costello with 29 goals. The strange stat is Gary has not scored just one goal in a game for over a month. The last time he had just one goal was January 29. In fourteen straight games Steffes has had either no goals or two goals.


  1. Congrats to Aaron Dell.
    My son and I saw and played as JP Anderson in NHL 2015 (AHL) on xbox360, was fun to play as a player who is now on the Americans.
    I will take a look at the SinBin, could be interesting to read up on other teams and their players.
    I love reading your blog, keep up the work.

  2. Such nice and appropriate words about you from Joe. That has to be a wonderful encouragement. I share in the excitement for Dell. I'm not exactly sure what you meant by this correlation: "First, is the fact that he was home schooled back in Alberta where he grew up in a community just to the north of Calgary which may account for his quiet introspective demeanor." All four of our kids were homeschooled only and if you were only to consider Tom, you can see that your correlation breaks down!!!!! Perhaps you meant the more remote location Aaron grew up in! Anyway, that struck me as funny. It will be fun to follow Aaron going forward. Thank you again for writing your blog. It is a great read.

  3. Let me clarify that no offense at all was taken by me regarding Barry's words about Dell being homeschooled! Considering Dell and Tom just shows how the personalities of homeschooled kids run the gamut and that just tickled me! I didn't mean for my words to sound harsh against Barry but it could be read as such and I just want to clarify that I didn't mean it that way. My kids are more wackadoodle v. Dell's quiet introspective demeanor! I didn't intend to sound like Barry was making any wrong assumption about homeschooled people. I love your blog Barry and I don't want anyone to think I was challenging your comment here! It just tickled me. :)