- The game last night seemed to turn on a failed four minute power play by the Americans midway through the first period. Spencer Asuchuk got high sticked and it drew blood so Allen had a four minute power play. They struggled generating shots and to make matters worse Idaho scored right after the power play expired on a play where the puck trickled behind goaltender Jake Hildebrand and in an effort to stop the puck from crossing the goal line, Allen poked it in the net. Idaho took a 2-0 lead early in the second period on a cross ice pass through the slot for a one timer. A crazy bounce led to Allen's only goal at the end of the second period when a Greger Hanson shot missed the net but bounced off the glass and the net back into the crease where Gary Steffes was at the ready to put it home. The momentum the Americans got from closing the score to 2-1 at the second intermission was short lived as the Steelheads took a 3-1 lead early in the third period on a power play goal. The Americans out shot Idaho 14-9 in the third period and 37-24 for the game but did not do a good job of screening the Steelheads goalie who seemed to see everything.
- The special teams battle was won by Idaho as they held the ECHL's top power play unit scoreless in four power play opportunities including the four minute power play in the first period. The Steelheads were 1-2 on the power play.
- Game two of the series takes place tomorrow (Saturday) with a 7:05 pm puck drop. You would have to say the game is a must win for Allen. If the Americans go down 2-0 they will be in uncharted waters and it could be a short series.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- The positive side of that game is we didn't get outplayed and out skated. We just have to play smarter.
- We had a lot of chances in front but couldn't get our sticks on the puck. We need our better players to step up and make some plays. They need to lead by example.
- I didn't think we had enough will in front of the net to screen the goalie and win the battle for the rebounds. We had several pucks laying right there and we didn't get them in the net.
- I didn't like our decision making on the power plays. We didn't get enough chances from the point and didn't do what we work on in practice. We have been standing around too much and then taking bad shots from high angles.
- Eric Roy didn't play tonight because of a little set back but hopefully he will be in the line up on Saturday and that will help.
- Hockey is a game of mistakes and we made them on all three of their goals. The first goal was a bad change on our part which led to a five on four. It was a funny bounce and then we shoveled the puck into our own net. On the second goal the forward let his man go from the point. On the power play goal we have a guy slide in front of their player with the puck who just let him slide by and then had plenty of time to shoot. The puck hit our defenseman and went off the pipe into the goal.
- Offensively we turned too many pucks over at the blue line. Too many guys trying to stick handle through players when the play wasn't there. In those cases you need to chip the puck in and force them to make a mistake.We had way too many times when guys tried to carry the puck into the offensive zone when they should have chipped it in.
- Riley Gill will be in goal on Saturday. It is the same as before when you play until you lose and then the other guy gets a chance.
- Today is the day the ECHL announces the MVP award and let's hope Chad Costello gets rewarded for his outstanding season. He is certainly deserving. My prediction is after two of the best seasons in ECHL history, Chad will be acknowledged by the league as this year's MVP after being honored by the PHPA (Professional Hockey Players Association) as the MVP last year.
- You may have noticed some number changes on the ice last night. Spencer Asuchak is now wearing his old #26. Dyson Stevenson is wearing #44 which I don't think has been worn by an Allen player since Nathan O'Nabigon wore it in 2009-10. Newcomer Jordan Rowley is wearing #2.
- I think most everyone would agree Jamie Schaafsma was a big part of Allen's success the last three years and has been missed this year. Below is part of a story written by Blake Sebring of the Fort Wayne New Sentinel. One stat not mentioned in the story is one of the more amazing stats at any level of hockey and that is Jamie has made the championship final for the last seven years. Jamie has made the final with four different teams and in five different leagues. Don't bet against Jamie making his eight straight championship finals as he has an excellent chance with Fort Wayne. Here is part of Blake Sebring's story:
One reason Jamie Schaafsma was named the Komets captain is his championship pedigree. He was part of championship teams the last three years with Allen, winning two Central Hockey League and last year's ECHL crowns. He also played for Flint against the Komets in the 2010 International Hockey League's Turner Cup Finals.
So, how often does he wear his championship rings? "Last year, I had both of them with me, but this year I didn't bring those with me," he said. "It's tough to wear them because they are so big and bulky. I wish I had gotten them made a little bigger because then my dad would have worn them. They are cool and nice to display. I always show them to my family when I get them." Schaafsma, who has scored 19 goals in his last 27 games, said the rings are cool but they are not the real focus. "Every year you play for that feeling," he said. "It's not really the ring, but the feeling you get when you win with the guys you worked all season with to raise the cup at the end. That's the best feeling you can ever have. That's why we play the game and play every year."
- Here is another Jamie Schaafsma story you might find interesting: http://www.journalgazette.net/sports/professional/komets/Komets-captain-comes-through-12553521
- At the playoff preview radio show on Wednesday coach Martinson was talking about how everyone needs to be ready to play in the playoffs and make the most of their opportunity. He shared the story about how Kyle Follmer made a key play in game seven of the championship final after not playing at all in the first six games against South Carolina. Kyle made a big hit in the nuetral zone that created a turnover which led to a Chad Costello breakaway goal and put Allen up 3-0. Coach Martinson always remembers those details and gave Follmer a lot of credit for how he played in game seven after being a healthy scratch for most of the playoffs.
- Kyle Follmer now plays for Quad City who takes on top rated Missouri in the playoffs. Here is a story where Kyle is reflecting on his championship season in Allen. I am sure Kyle would be surprised that coach Martinson would be using him as an example of a guy who stepped up when he was called on in game seven of the Kelly Cup final. http://www.qconline.com/sports/quad_city_mallards/echl-champ-urges-playoff-flock-to-keep-fighting/article_1793a3c4-9959-5002-925e-aac4775df0fe.html
- Mentioned yesterday what a big supporter Rick Gosselin is of the Allen Americans. It is great when a guy like Rick, with national recognition, takes time to write about the Allen Americans. Here is a story he wrote before the game last night. http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2016/04/13/allen-americans-begin-quest-fourth-straight-title-dallas-stars-echl-farm-team
- Here is a picture of the three championship banners that are finally hanging together in the rafters of the AEC. Thanks to Lauren Lyssy for the photo:
DID YOU KNOW: Thought it would be interesting to look at the results of the first game of each playoff series in the history of the Allen Americans. The series against Idaho is the 18th in team history. Allen's record is 14-3. Here are the series won/lost records based on the results of the first game of the series. It is amazing in the history of the franchise the Americans have a better record in winning a series if they lose the first game (9-1) than if they win the first game (5-2).
5-2 - when winning first game of a series
4-1 - when winning first game at home
1-1 - when winning first game on the road
9-1 - when losing the first game of a series
8-1 - when losing the first game at home
1-0 - when losing the first game on the road