After game one, coach Steve Martinson said the Allen Americans needed to play smarter, create more traffic in front of Idaho goalie Philippe Desrosiers and make better decisions when on the power play to win game two. Mission accomplished as Allen beat Idaho Saturday night by a score of 3-1 before an enthusiastic crowd of 4825 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The Americans evened the best of seven series at 1-1 and head to Boise on Tuesday for the next three games (Wednesday, Friday, Sarturday). Puck drop will be at 8:10 pm (Allen time) for all three games.
- Allen scored first at the 17:54 mark of the opening period as Gary Steffes scored his second goal of the playoffs on a great pass from Vincent Arseneau. Scoring the first goal is always a good sign as the Americans win 85% of games when they score first. Allen made the score 2-0 early in the second period on a power play goal by Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Chad Costello had an assist on the goal which was the 21st game in a row in which Chad had an assist. It doesn't count towards the all time record (which is 20) because the last two games of the streak have been in the playoffs.
- Idaho got on the board late in the second period and Allen took a 2-1 lead into intermission. The Americans re-established their two goal lead (3-1) when Pierro-Zabotel scored his second goal of the game at the 7:32 mark of the third period. Officially, the goal was scored at the exact time an Idaho penalty expired but that may get changed as the penalty had not expired when the puck went in the net. Allen played solid defense the rest of the game and the Steelheads could not generate any quality shots even when they pulled their goalie at the end of the game.
- Allen out shot Idaho 34-22 for the game and 11-5 in the critical third period. In the first two games the Americans have out shot Idaho 71-46.
- The Americans will get a well deserved day off today (Sunday) even though there will be ice available for those that wish to skate. There will be a full practice on Monday and then the team flies to Boise on Tuesday.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- I liked the way we played in the third period after we turned the puck over a few times in the last part of the second period. We let them get back in the game a little bit in the second period but in the third period we stopped turning over pucks, got the puck low, and avoided sending pucks into the slot that were kind of hope plays. The way we played in the third period is the way we need to keep playing.
- Our power play was much better tonight. The last goal should have been scored a power play goal which put us 2-4 on the night.
- We need to drive to the outside and get guys to the net. That is what Arseneau did on the Steffes goal. We need more of that. That was a great goal and I really liked that play.
- Riley Gill was good in goal tonight. I will have a discussion with Thomas Speer (goalie coach) but I expect to play Gill in Idaho on Wednesday. Usually what I do in the playoffs is if you win and even if you lose and play good you get another start. The loss in game one was not Hildebrand's fault but Gill has worked really hard to get himself ready to play and I thought tonight was a good opportunity to get Riley in a game.
- It helped having Eric Roy back in the lineup tonight. He has a good stick, he is steady, he doesn't throw pucks away and he doesn't gamble. Eric has become a solid all around defenseman. He is a good player and he always has a smile on his face.
- I switch up the defensive pairings based on the situation. There is a lot of strategy on who I play together and who I play in different situations. That is why you don't always see the same guys together.
- After starting the playoffs going 0-7 the home teams fared much better last night going 5-2. Three teams have dug themselves a big hole. Manchester is the #3 seed in the east but trails #6 Adirondack 3-0 with game four in Adirondack on Monday. The #2 seed in the east is South Carolina, who has to play the first three games of the series on the road in Kalamazoo because their building isn't available. The Stingrays lead the series 2-0 with game three on Monday. In the west, the #2 seed is Fort Wayne who lost twice at home to #7 seed Cincinnati. Fort Wayne now heads to Cincinnati for the next three games trailing 0-2 in the series. All of the other series are tied 1-1 with the exception of #1 seed Missouri who has a 1-0 lead over #8 seed Quad City. They play game two this afternoon (Sunday).
- Wichita has parted ways with coach Kevin McClelland who has been the Thunder coach for six years. He took the team to the Central Hockey League finals in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 loss to Allen in overtime in game seven after having a 2-0 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, was particularly disappointing for the Thunder. Wichita has not made the playoffs since 2013 and had the worst record in the ECHL this season. Here is the complete story as reported by Jeffrey Lutz of the Wichita Eagle which includes some interesting quotes from owner Rodney Steven. http://www.kansas.com/sports/other-sports/wichita-thunder/article72250792.html
- The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada. The Bentley Generals just won the Allan Cup beating the South East Prairie Thunder 4-3 in overtime in the final. Former Allen player Ian Schultz plays for Bentley and scored a power play goal in the third period to send the game to overtime. Congrats to Ian and his teammates. Here is the complete story from the Winnipeg Free Press: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/amateur/Bentley-Generals-Allan-Cup-champions-after-OT-thriller-375963501.html
Here are some photos from the game last night courtesy of Lauren Lyssy:
Here are some photos courtesy of scenebykimberly.com
DID YOU KNOW: The Americans are playing in their 11th series under coach Steve Martinson. It is well documented that Allen often loses the first game of a series. Here is Allen's record for the first four games in all playoff series since Steve Martinson has been coach:
Game 1: 3-8
Game 2: 10-1
Game 3: 6-4
Game 4: 7-3