The game last night was a fitting end to the greatest regular season in franchise history for the Allen Americans. They beat Wichita 5-2 on goals by Trevor Ludwig (7), Chris Crane (13 & 14), Greger Hanson (29) and Konrad Abeltshauser (5) before a crowd 5660 at Intrust Bank Arena. A great show of support from the Thunder fans knowing Wichita would not make the playoffs for the second straight year.
Special teams made the difference as four of the five Allen goals came on special teams with three power play goals and one shorthanded goal. The win extended to eleven games where the Americans have not lost in regulation. Allen's record in the last eleven games is 9-0-1-1. The Americans now have the most points (106) in the ECHL however Toledo has a chance to pass them as they play the Kalamazoo Wings today at home. It is a makeup of a previously scheduled game on January 9th when bad weather caused a postponement.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- It was a great ending to the regular season. We made it out of the game with a win and no injuries which is all you could ask for.
- Wichita took a lot of penalties which gave us numerous power play opportunities and we ended up with three power play goals. That is what gave us the win.
- It has been a great regular season with lots of team and individual success. We have won a lot of games, scored a lot of goals and had lots of guys called up to the AHL.
- We have had guys get their careers rebooted and others like Hanson and Asuchak get their first call ups to the ECHL. I am very proud of this team.
- With the regular season behind us it is time to look ahead to the playoffs. Now it is showtime. I can't wait!
You could fill pages with all of the accomplishments of the Allen Americans this season so will leave that for another day but do want to highlight a few of the performances last night that made for some records.
- Chad Costello needed two points in Wichita to set the all time ECHL record for the biggest lead by a scoring champion. He topped that with three assists in the game to give him 125 points (41 goals 84 assists) for the season which is 45 more points than runner up Wade MacLeod (Idaho) who finished with 80 points. Scoring has varied over time and has been different in different eras but how you do against your peers is a good measure. Chad broke the record of 43 points set by Trevor Jobe in 1992-1993. Throw in the fact that Costello had more assists this season (84) than MacLeod or anyone else in the league had points and for my money Chad Costello just completed the best season in the history of the ECHL.
- Not to be outdone, Aaron Gens needed an assist last night to claim the scoring title among all ECHL defensemen. No problem as Aaron had three assists to end the year with 56 points and win the title by two points.
- Greger Hanson had a shorthanded goal last night which was his fifth of the season. Greger only played in 55 games for Allen because of his numerous AHL call ups. With his fifth shorty Hanson ties Ryan Walters (Alaska) for the most shorthanded goals in the ECHL this year. Greger also ties Spencer Asuchak with the most shorthanded goals in a season for the Allen Americans. Asuchak set the record last year.
- With the win last night Allen set a franchise record for best winning percentage as they finished at .736.
- With three more power play goals last night Allen finished with a league leading 77 which is 14 more than any other team in the league.
- The stars were definitely aligned for Allen last night with their win over Wichita combined with Toledo losing at Kalamazoo 4-1. Toledo and Kalamazoo play again today in Toledo and if the Walleye lose Allen will win the Brabham Cup which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season.
- Another game that went Allen's way was Quad City beating Tulsa. It took overtime for the Mallards to dispatch the Oilers by a score of 2-1 and become the #3 seed with Tulsa getting the #4 seed. Quad City will play Rapid City and Allen will play Tulsa in the first round of the playoffs. The reason most everyone in Allen was hoping to play Tulsa in the first round was merely the logistics and ability to drive to the away games. With Tulsa being 230 miles and Quad City 790 miles from Allen there will be no long road trips in the first round.
- Haven't seen any official announcement from Allen, Tulsa or the ECHL on the first round playoff schedule but it is easy to come up with an educated guess on the dates based on tickets already for sale. Allen is selling the first two playoff games (April 14 & 15) but when you go to ticketmaster, games six and seven are not yet for sale. If you go to the Tulsa web site they are selling tickets for games #2 (April 17), #3 (April 18) and #6 (April 23). This means the series will be a 2-2-1-1-1 series with the only unknown dates being for games #5 & #7 in Allen. The official schedule should be out sometime today. Here are the five known dates with a best guess for #5 & #7 in Allen based on travel and availability of the Allen Event Center.
Game 1: Tuesday, April 14th at Allen Event Center
Game 2: Wednesday, April 15th at Allen Event Center
Game 3: Friday, April 17th at BOK Center
Game 4: Saturday, April 18th at BOK Center
Game 5: Tuesday, April 21st at Allen Event Center (this date is a guess, not confirmed)
Game 6: Thursday, April 23rd at BOK Center
Game 7: Sunday, April 26th at Allen Event Center (not confirmed but the Texas Revolution play on the 24th and Allen High School has their Prom on the 25th).
UPDATE: The dates above have now been confirmed. Game seven, if necessary, is a 4:05 p.m. start.
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello played in all 72 Allen games this year which is a big accomplishment in and of itself. There were only eight games all year where Chad didn't have a point and he had multiple points in 38 games.