Sunday, February 14, 2016

Alaska Rallies to Defeat Allen 5-4, Game Recap, Martinson's Comments, Some Hockey Analytics

It was a roller coaster ride for Allen fans last night as the Americans took on the Alaska Aces in the rubber match of their three game series. There was the, "I'm going to bed, I just watched us give up two lazy goals and we are already down 2-0." Then there was the "I'm going to bed, what a great comeback with four unanswered goals, we are now ahead  4-2." And finally there was the, "I can't  believe I stayed up until almost 1:00 am to watch Allen blow a 4-2 lead."

- The final score was 5-4 as Alaska won game three of the series before a crowd of 5276 at Sullivan Arena. It was an up and down game and series for the Americans that saw the Aces win 5-1 on Wednesday and the Americans win 6-2 on Friday. The teams combined for 23 goals in the three games.

- Alaska had a two goal lead midway through the first period last night when Justin Courtnall made a great play to get his shorthanded goal.  When Chris Crane scored the first of his two goals on a power play with just 37 seconds left in the first period the momentum was clearly with the Americans.

- When Allen scored the first two goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead it looked like the Americans were on the way to victory. It was not to be as the Aces scored three unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead at the 10:50 mark of the third period.

- The Americans pulled goalie Joel Rumpel with two minutes remaining and had several good opportunities to tie the game but could not get the puck in the net. 

- Goal scorers for Allen were Justin Courtnall (5) shorthanded, Chris Crane (17 & 18) and Aaron Gens (6). As good as Costello, Hanson and Asuchak were on Friday night, they struggled last night with no goals and a combined plus/minus of -10.

- It was a disappointing trip to Alaska for the Americans, earning just two points in three games against a team that is ranked #23 in the ECHL in points.

- What a great weekend for Chris Crane who had five goals on just nine shots and now leads the team in shooting percentage at 19.1%.


-  It was another case of one step forward and two steps back. We have had way too much of that this season.

- We didn't have enough guys committed to win. There were too many guys committed to score.

- Being out shot was simply a matter of being outworked.

- Last year we had a chip on our shoulder as a team. This year we have some guys with a "we got ours, now I want mine attitude." I have gone through this before after championships. If it happens again next weekend I will need to either make some significant changes at the trade deadline or cross my fingers that we figure it out before it is too late.


- The Americans will spend the day flying back to Dallas. They were scheduled to leave Anchorage at 7:00 am (local time) and arrive DFW at 6:45 pm.

- Allen doesn't play again until the weekend when they have three games in three days all on the road. It is Missouri on Friday and Tulsa on Saturday and Sunday. Needless to say it is a big weekend for this team to show they have the ability to beat their division rivals.

- Tulsa lost last night in overtime to Quad City and has now cut Allen's lead for second place in the Central Division to eight points with four games in hand. The Oilers have an opportunity to cut the lead to six points as they play Wichita at home this afternoon. And with two games at home against Allen next weekend, Tulsa has a chance to close the eight point gap very quickly.

- The Americans are fortunate to have so many fans willing to take the long trip to Alaska to cheer on the team. From all of the feedback I received from the Allen fans that made the trip, they had a good time despite the disappointing losses. Here is a great picture of Mark and Zachary Fisher.

Representing! - photo by Todd Meixner

DID YOU KNOW: There are all kinds of hockey analytics used to measure success. Thought I would take a look at two of them. One is goal differential which is a very good measure of success. Another is the combination of penalty kill and power play percentages. While it isn't a mainstream statistic, it is a barometer for overall special teams success. The magic number that teams strive to achieve is greater than 105% combined. Here are the top seven teams in the ECHL in points with their goal differential and combined special teams percentage.

                         Points          Goal Differential      Combined Special Teams %                     
Missouri              77                     +62                            104.0%
Florida                67                      +43                            111.4%
Manchester        63                     + 15                            98.4%
Toledo                61                      +26                            101.9%
Allen                   61                      +11                            108.6%
South Carolina   60                      +32                            103.5%
Fort Wayne        59                      +36                            110.3%


  1. I don't know why I was shocked by the loss last night, but I was shocked, and disappointed. I think Marty will do the right thing for the team. In Marty's words "that was painful to watch". C'mon guys, get it together.

  2. West coast travel for any sport team in all leagues is very tough. Going east is easy, west is very tough.