Saturday, March 7, 2015

Quad Beats Allen 3-2 Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Player Streaks, Minnesota High School Tourney

Prior to last night the Quad City Mallards could not buy a victory at home on Friday night as they were 1-7 with the only victory coming way back in November. Prior to last night the Allen Americans had won six straight road games. Those type of statistics don't mean a lot when it comes time to play the game and that proved to be the case last night as the Mallards beat Allen by a score of 3-2 in front of a large Friday night $1 beer and hot dog crowd of 6310 at the iWireless Center.

It was a rough start and a rough ending for the Americans. Allen took two penalties in the first three minutes of the game to give Quad City a long five on three power play opportunity which the Americans were able to kill off. However, a few minutes later Quad City got on the scoreboard with the only goal of the first period. Quad City wins 76% of the time they score first.

Allen owned the second period as they have all year (they have out scored opponents 92-49 in the second period) getting goals by Gary Steffes (38) and Chad Costello (30) to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. 

Defensive lapses led to two third period Quad City goals by veteran Kevin Baker, the game winner coming with just 12.8 seconds remaining in the game. As coach Martinson often says the best thing about losing a game like last night is the team doesn't have to wait long to do something about it as the rematch takes place tonight (Saturday) at 7:05 CST.


- We were not good on our gaps and we were weak in front of our net on the two goals in the third period. 

- I keep stressing to be aggressive but not gamble but we gave them the final rush of the game because we were not in good defensive position. With the forwards we have up in the AHL our experienced defensemen need to be better than they have been recently. 

- Our forwards were weak up the middle on both of the third period goals.

- Tyler Barr had a great fight tonight. Both he and Leroux are tough toe to toe sluggers.


- One bright spot for Allen was special teams. The were outstanding on the penalty kill as they killed all six Quad City power plays including a long five on three at the beginning of the game. The Americans had a power play goal (Steffes) and were 1-4 on the power play.

- Gary Steffes scored his 16th power play goal of the season last night which makes him the Allen all time single season record holder for power play goals (tied with Bruce Graham). Gary has seven more power play goals than any one else in the ECHL this year. His 38 goals on the season is also seven more than anyone else in the league.

- Steffes was awarded a penalty shot in the second period last night which he missed. It was the third penalty shot of the season for Allen (Combs & Schaafsma the others) as the Americans have yet to score a penalty shot goal going 0-3.

- Quad City's win reduces Allen's lead in the Central Division to sixteen points which is the smallest lead the Americans have had in a while. Winning the division is not in doubt but Allen's lead for the best record in the ECHL is down to just one point over Fort Wayne. The Quad City win last night pushes their second place lead over Wichita and Rapid City to four points.

- Kale Kerbashian was the hero for Rapid City last night as they beat Missouri 3-2 in a shootout. Kale was the fifth shooter for Rapid City in the shootout and scored the game winner. It was another disappointing loss for the Mavericks at home as their slim playoff hopes slipped further away. Missouri is now eleven points out of a playoff spot with just sixteen games remaining.

- Chad Costello had two more points last night (goal & assist) and once again has a 30 point lead in the ECHL scoring race. Chad has scored a goal in the last five road games which is the longest streak of the season in the ECHL.

- Greger Hanson also has streak going to watch tonight. Greger has the current longest streak in the league as he has scored at least one point in the last eight road games.

- The South Carolina Stingrays won their fourteenth consecutive game last night and will go for number fifteen tonight (against last place Gwinnett) which would be the second longest streak in ECHL history. The all time record is seventeen set by the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008.

- Patrik Valcak has yet to get his first goal for the Americans but has eight assists in the last four games which is three more assists than any other player on the team.

- If you haven't heard Tommy Daniels is battling the flu and did not make the trip to Quad City so no Americans broadcast tonight. Tommy will rejoin the team for the games in Rapid City next week.  

- Indulge me as I mention the greatest hockey tournament on earth, the Minnesota High School Hockey Torunament. Brian McMillin (who played in the tournament), Aaron Gens, Riley Gill and Kyle Follmer will all vouch for how big this event is in Minnesota. The semi-finals were last night with the finals tonight. The crowd at the Xcel Energy Center last night was 21,609 which set an all time record for any indoor hockey game in Minnesota. A big upset last night as the rich kid suburban school (Edina) that has been in the tournament 37 times and won it 12 times including the last two years was upset by Duluth East which had the worst record of any team making the tournament (14-10-4). The final score was 3-1. Duluth East will take on Lakeville North in the finals tonight. Lakeville North, which is a far out Minneapolis suburb like Allen, is the #1 seed in the tournament with a 28-0-0 record.  In the Class A tournamnet (smaller schools) the final pits #1 seed Hermantown (27-2-1) against #3 seed East Grand Forks (25-4-0).

Here are few video highlights from the tournament. Incidentally the color commentator on these highlights is Minnesota hockey legend Lou Nanne who played for the University of Minnesota, Minnesota North Stars and was captain of the 1968 US Olympic Team. He was also a coach and general manager of the Minnesota North Stars. He also spearheaded the campaign to have Herb Brooks named the coach of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" US Olympic Hockey Team. 

DID YOU KNOW: The first high school hockey tournament in the United States was held in Minnesota in 1945. In the early years the tournament was dominated by small schools in the northern part of the state. Eveleth beat Thief River Falls (both with populations around 6000) in 1945. Roseau (Brian McMillin's hometown, population around 2000) won in 1946.

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