Sunday, April 19, 2015

Allen Beats Tulsa & Takes 3-1 Series Lead, Game Recap, Martinson's Comments, Fan Pics & More

The Allen Americans scored one goal in every period last night period, each with its unique story, to defeat the the Tulsa Oilers 3-1 before a crowd of 3092 at the BOK Center which included a large group of Allen fans who made the trip to to Tulsa to cheer on the Americans. With the win Allen takes a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with game five scheduled in Allen on Tuesday (7:05 p.m.). The goal scorers for Allen were first period, Gary Steffes (4), second period, Jamie Schaafsma (1) and third period, Greger Hanson (1). Here is the story of each of the goals:

First Period - There were not a lot of quality scoring chances until Gary Steffes took a pass from Kevin Young and scored a typical Gary Steffes goal going top shelf over goalie Kevin Carr's glove. Still haven't seen a replay of the goal but the three of us on the radio at the time (two from Allen & one from Tulsa) all agreed the puck was in, just inside the cross bar, and then came out. The Tulsa faithful including goalie Carr and Oiler coach Bruce Ramsay felt the puck hit the crossbar and dropped straight down without going in the net. Despite heated protests from Carr and the Oilers the referee consulted with the goal judge and allowed the goal to stand.

Second Period - At the 1:56 mark of the second period while the Oilers were on the power play, Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr came out of his net to bat the puck away from Spencer Asuchak but it was intercepted by Jamie Schaafsma. Jamie took the puck to his backhand and scored past defenseman Nathan Lutz who was the only Tulsa player anywhere close to the goal. It was Schaafsma's first shorthanded goal of the year and gave the Americans a 2-0 lead. The second period could have been disastrous for the Americans as they took five consecutive penalties which resulted in multiple chunks of 5 on 3 opportunities. Allen did a great job of killing all of the penalties and limited the damage to just one power play goal which was scored 5 on 4. With all of the power play time Tulsa outshot Allen 15-8 in the second period but could only score the one goal so the period ended with the Americans leading 2-1.

The incredible photo below by Tulsa photographer Kevin Pyle - captures the shorthanded, back hand goal scored by Jamie Schaafsma with the goalie nowhere in the picture.

Third Period - Allen showed what they can do defensively as they held Tulsa to just eight shots in the third period while killing off two penalties. With under a minute left in the game Allen had a 3-1 rush on an empty net. Greger Hanson almost lost control of the puck as he was coming down the left wing but regained control in time to put home an empty net goal. Chris Crane was camped at the goal mouth in case the puck went wide. It was a fitting end to a game well played by Allen.

- Allen won this game by winning the special teams battle and rededicating themselves to defense first. The Americans didn't score on the power play but had only two chances. The penalty kill group held Tulsa to 1-8 on the power play and also contributed that shorthanded goal in the second period.

The guys celebrate Jamie's shorthanded goal- photo by Lauren Lyssy


- It was a great win tonight as the team bounced back from the loss on Friday. It didn't surprise me that the team responded the way they did as I have seen it happen with this group many times. It is a credit to the team leadership as they made sure everyone was on board on how they needed to play to be successful.

- We were much more patient tonight and it was the best we have played defensively for our goalie in the series. Tonight is an example of how you need to play to be successful in the playoffs.

- We did not have as many offensive opportunities tonight as we did last night but that can be attributed to the defensemen not jumping into the play as much. We got back to a "be aggressive but don't gamble" mentality which was a key to success.

- Ian Schultz will be coming back from Iowa (AHL) and Tanner Ebele will be returning from Bridgeport(AHL) on Monday but I have not decided at this point how that will effect the roster except I will be using Kyle Follmer exclusively at defense from now on.

- We have a few guys dinged up but as far as I know we came out of the weekend without any injures so everyone should be ready to go on Tuesday night.

- It is nice to have a 3-1 series lead as we go home for game five. It will be important to carryover how we played tonight to that game.


- The players went out of their way to thank all of the Allen fans for making the trip to Tulsa. Many of them skated over after the game to the section where the Allen fans were sitting and gave them a salute. My estimate is 125-150 fans made the trip. There were 60 that showed up two hours before game time just to take a group picture on the ice. Here it is if you haven't already seen it. I think that one guy in the back had to go to the bathroom (haha, just kidding).

Road trip to Tulsa - photo by Kevin Pyle

- The players also took to social media on the bus trip home to thank the fans for their support. Hear are a few examples:
"Amazing having so many Allen Americans fans at our game tonight! Almost felt like a home game.. Best fans in the league!"....Spencer Asuchak
"Great fan support tonight in Tulsa! Glad we could get the win!" ....Jamie Schaafsma
" Incredible fans in Allen! Thanks for coming to the game to cheer us on."....Gary Steffes

- With Schultz and Eberle returning to Allen from the AHL, coach Martinson is now down to one playoff roster slot remaining for an eligible returning AHL player. With Worcester making the AHL playoffs, players such as Aaron Dell and Rylan Schwartz will probably not be available until early May and that would be if Worcester loses in the first round. Whether coach Martinson uses the final roster spot remains to be seen.

- A special thanks to the Tulsa Oilers front office, especially Todd Streets and Emily Chambers for all of their help in putting together a great weekend for all of the Allen fans. From arranging for tickets, to the on ice photos, to the "high five tunnel" it was a job well done.

- In other action around the ECHL last night the winners were Orlando, Reading, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Idaho, and Rapid City. The only game today is Ontario at Colorado. Here is how all of the series stand.
North Division:
#1 Toledo Walleye vs #4 Wheeling Nailers: Series tied 1-1
#2 Fort Wayne Komets vs # Kalamazoo Wings: Fort Wayne leads 2-0

East Division:
#1 Florida Everblades vs #4 Orlando Solar Bears: Florida leads 2-0
#2 South Carolina Stingrays vs #3 Reading Royals: Series tied 1-1

Central Division:
#1 Allen Americans vs #4 Tulsa Oilers; Allen leads 3-1
#2 Rapid City Rush vs #3 Quad City Mallards: Series tied 1-1

Pacific Division:
#1 Idaho Steelheads vs #4 Utah Grizzlies: Idaho leads 2-1
#2 Ontario Reign vs #3 Colorado Eagles: Series tied 1-1

DID YOU KNOW: Allen Americans assistant coach Kevin Colley was the MVP of the 2002-2003 Kelly Cup finals playing for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies who won the Kelly Cup that year.

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