|Welcome to Alaska, a 36 player meet and greet during warm-ups|
If you are an Allen Americans fan that decided a 10:15 pm start was just too late to tune in, you got lucky last night as the Alaska Aces defeated the Americans 5-1 before a crowd of 2445 at the Sullivan Arena. You can't say the game wasn't exciting as there was a discussion at the red line that turned into a scrum during warm-ups. The bad feelings carried over to the first period which included 13 minor penalties, six fighting major penalties, a major penalty plus game misconduct for spearing and 71 combined penalty minutes. Fittingly, there was another scrum after the first period ended. Unfortunately for Allen, the Aces scored two goals in between all of the penalties and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Things didn't get any better for Allen in the second period as Alaska scored two early goals (2:38 & 4:53) to take a 4-0 lead and chase goalie Joel Rumpel who gave up four goals on nine shots. Peter Di Salvo came in and held the Aces scoreless the rest of the period.
Chad Costello got Allen on the scoreboard 90 seconds into the third period to cut the score to 4-1 but the Americans could not generate anymore offense. Costello's goal was a rocket from the left face off dot for his 19th goal of the season.
Alaska scored with just over a minute left in the game on a three on one rush to make the final score 5-1. The game last night was just the first of a three game series as the two teams have a day off today (Thursday) before playing on Friday and Saturday (puck drop 10:15 pm Allen time). Based on the fireworks in game one it should be an interesting weekend.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- We are going to need a much better defensive effort over the weekend. We gave up way too many odd man rushes and Alaska made us pay.
- Their second goal was a soft turnover off an ill-advised backhand pass in our own zone. The Aces leading scorer (Peter Sivak) turned the turnover into a goal.
- Alaska's last goal punctuated our entire night. We gave up a three on one odd man rush with less than two minutes left in the game not because we wanted to win but because we wanted to score.
- Alaska coach, Rob Murray, in his post game comments emphasized how his team played a desperate game as they are fighting for a playoff spot. He was also impressed at how well the Aces won puck battles in their defensive zone and were able to chip the puck out of the zone or make quick, crisp, stretch passes which had the Allen defense under pressure.
- Allen and Alaska have two of the better power plays in the ECHL but were both held scoreless last night as they were each 0-4.
- It was great to have Spencer Asuchak and Vincent Arseneau back in the lineup for Allen. They had no points but both had multiple shots. They will get better each game they play. Arseneau was the only Allen player with a plus for the game at +1.
- Chad Costello's 19th goal last night gives him 65 points on the season. Chad now has a 16 point lead in the ECHL scoring race.
- There is a great group of Allen fans that made the trip to Anchorage to support the team. You may recognize the picture below as the "drummer group" who are always loud and proud. Unfortunately, this pre-game meal at Moose's Tooth Pub and Pizza turned out to be better than the game. Hope to have pics of some of the other groups over the weekend.
|Photo courtesy of Kendra Ogroske (in the red)|
DID YOU KNOW: It is the odd stat of the day. There were five games in the ECHL last night and the losing team in all five games had just one goal and three of the five games ended with a score of 4-1. Here are the results:
5-1 Alaska beat Allen
4-1 Orlando beat Florida
4-1 Cincinnati beat Kalamazoo
4-1 Rapid City beat Colorado
2-1 Tulsa beat South Carolina