Monday, February 1, 2016

Allen Wins 2-1, Splits Series With Tulsa, Martinson Comments, Di Salvo, Jevpalovs #1 & #2 Stars

The Allen Americans returned to the Allen Event Center (AEC) yesterday to conclude their four game series with the Tulsa Oilers and came away with a well earned 2-1 victory before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 4298. The win also earned Allen a split in the four game series with both teams winning their home games. The Americans now have an 11 point lead over Tulsa for second place in the Central Division and a three point lead over Idaho for the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

The Americans got off to a quick start scoring twice in the first 8:46 of the game. The first goal was scored by Chris Crane (12) off a perfect feed from Nikita Jevpalovs at the 5:39 mark of the first period. Three minutes later Jevpalovs made a great pass to Chad Costello who wheeled around the back of the net, drew the defense toward him and put a pass right on the stick of Nolan Descoteaux who was cruising in from the left point. Nolan put the puck home for his second goal of the season. Notice in the picture below of the Descoteaux goal the three defenders at the side of the net. When Costello wheeled behind the net, all three defenders and the goalie went for Chad who looked like he was going to try a wrap around. Chad made the pass to Nolan instead and everyone was out of position. You can see in the picture Nolan saw a lot of net on that shot.

Chris Crane nets first goal of the game - photo by Dianne Webster

Nolan Descoteaux hits twine with the game winner - photo by Dianne Webster

After Allen took a 2-0 lead less than halfway through the first period and were dominating the play, it looked like the game might be a repeat of the 7-1 win on Friday night. That was not to be as Allen would not score again for the rest of the game. The Americans out shot the Oilers 7-1 in the first period but the second period was owned by Tulsa. They out shot Allen 14-6, scored one goal and could have scored more if not for the outstanding play of goalie Peter Di Salvo who was making his first start for the Americans. The second period ended with a 2-1 Allen lead. Neither team was able to score in the third period, but it took a great effort on Di Salvo's part who made a couple of game saving stops after Tulsa pulled their goalie.


- We played great defensively to get a win when scoring only two goals. That is a good sign.

- It was good to have King back in the line up. He will help us a lot. That play he made to Steffes looked like it would be a sure goal. But the save their goalie made on that play was unbelievable. Carr is a tough goalie. Having King back gives us more speed as he is on the puck so much faster than a lot of players.

- There were a lot more positives in that game than negatives. The start of the second period wasn't good. In the first period we got pucks in deep which created scoring chances and got us the two goal lead. In the second period I thought we tried to carry the puck and be cute which resulted in turnovers at the blue line.

- It was good to get Peter Di Salvo in a game and give him an opportunity. He played really well.

Joel Rumpel congratulates Peter Di Salvo on his great game - photo by Lauren Lyssy

- I really liked what I saw from Nikita Jevpalovs this weekend. He showed some good speed and has a lot of upside. It is hard to come in and play like he did this weekend. He doesn't get a lot of ice time in San Jose when he is playing on the fourth line. With these three games, he only needs to play in two more to become playoff eligible. We will have to see what happens down the road but we could see him again in Allen. He could be a pretty good player for us down the stretch but we will just have to wait and see how things work out.

- Justin Courtnall is best when he skates, hits and is a physical presence on the ice. You saw how his speed in the third period really helped us. That is the role we need him to play.

- I thought we needed to get more guys to the net tonight compared to the game in Tulsa on Saturday. Their goalie has a .921 save percentage and makes a lot of saves. We need to constantly work on getting traffic in front of him.

- The concept behind a younger team is they usually get better as the season goes on. Every year at the end of the year we have brought in three or four guys so depending on who those guys are we are close to being a team that can compete in the playoffs.

- The deadline for players to go to Europe has now passed so that changes the dynamic when it comes to trading players whether they are currently on the roster or players for which you have their rights. I am always trying to improve the roster.

- Right now we are missing offensive defensemen who can come late, make plays and score goals. Last year we had four guys that fit that role but now we have just two. We won't be as good offensively until I get that fixed.


- The final tally for 21 year old Nikita Jevpalovs in his three games with Allen are one goal, two assists and a +2. He was the #3 star on Friday and #2 star on Sunday. Pretty nice weekend. He would be a great addition at the end of the year.

- With the great assist last night on the Descoteaux goal, Chad Costello has at least one point in nine of the last ten games. With 63 points, Chad also extended his ECHL scoring lead to 15 points over second place Trent Daavettila of Colorado.

- The team will take the next three days off as part of the All-Star break. Most teams have already taken the break but Allen players and coach Martinson agreed February 1-3 would be better timing for the break. With a high in the mid 70's in Texas today, it will be a great time for a day off. Whether it is hunting, fishing, golfing, going to the park or hanging out with friends and family it will be a nice break from hockey.

- Allen has now played close to 60% of their home games for the season (21 of 36). The Americans are ranked #11 in the ECHL with an average attendance of 4598. They are on pace to set an all time attendance record which was set in 2011-12 at 4336.  Last season the Americans averaged 4096.

- Here are a few other photos you might enjoy:

Aaron Gens says hi to the junior starter - photo by Lauren Lyssy
"Incoming" - photo by Dianne Webster
Makowski ties up Oiler while Di Salvo makes save - photo by
Jevpalovs threaded a pass through all of these defenders for Crane's goal -
Midieval Times performed between periods and the "Red" won the battle - photo by Dianne Webster

DID YOU KNOW: If you are a fan of statistics you should have felt very comfortable the Americans were going to win the game yesterday despite the intensity of the third period. Allen scored the first goal of the game and had the lead after the first and second period. All three weigh heavily in predicting an Allen victory. Here are the stats:

When scoring the first goal: 19-2-1-1
When leading after 1st period: 14-1-1-0
When leading after 2nd period: 19-0-0-1

1 comment:

  1. Glad Di Salvo played, we have by working the goalies like work horses, no rest. Good job Peter!