The Allen Americans beat the Missouri Mavericks 4-2 last night before a rocking crowd of 5262 at the Allen Event Center. The Americans now have a 3-1 series lead with the opportunity to win the series at home on Sunday and advance to the Western Conference final.
- Allen didn't play their best, but found a way to win in large part because of the play of goalie Riley Gill who stopped 35 of 37 Mavericks shots. What Allen did do right was get off to a good start scoring the first two goals of the game. The Americans had a 2-0 lead after the second period but squandered it away as the Mavericks scored twice early in the third period. Missouri scored a power play goal just 11 seconds into the period and another at the 3:26 mark. While Missouri dominated play early in the third period the Americans battled back and through a lot of hard work got the game winner. Spencer Asuchak came off the bench on a line change and arrived at the net just as a pass from Dyson Stevenson arrived. It was a "Texas Leaguer" as Dyson's pass to the net went off the stick of the Mavericks player covering him and fluttered toward the front of the net. The timing was perfect for the arrival of Asuchak who fired the puck in the net. It looked like, on replay, the Missouri defenders got mesmerized by the floating puck and ignored Asuchak who was flying toward the net.
- The goal scorers for Allen were Vincent Arseneau (2 & 3), Gary Steffes (3) and Spencer Asuchak (3). You can check out all of the goals and some great saves by Gill at ECHL Rewind. Make sure to replay the game winner by Asuchak several times and watch how Roy and Stevenson carry the puck up the ice while the other three players head to the bench. Asuchak is the first over the boards and streaks to the front of the net. You can find ECHL Rewind here: http://www.echl.com/
- This series is far from over. Allen has a great opportunity to close it out on Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm). However, if Missouri can win on Sunday and get the series back home for games six and seven, I am sure they like their chances. Game five will be critical.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- I sure didn't like the start of that third period. Missouri scored on the rush on the power play right away and really took it to us the first seven or eight minutes of the period. Riley Gill dug down and kept us in the game at that point. Then I thought we gained some momentum as our forwards started kicking it in again. We made some plays to the net and almost had a couple of other goals.
- We need to figure out a way to get back to where we were on Wednesday night. We need to make sure we are skating like we did in the first period in game three.
- We will have practice tomorrow but will just have a few guys at practice. The pace was pretty tough tonight with a lot of back and forth.
- It was nice to see Asuchak's good timing on that game winning goal. He also dogged the puck down on the empty net goal and passed to Arseneau. The Mavericks can generate offense quickly so it was good to see the empty net goal.
- I expect Missouri to come out on Sunday and give it everything they got so we will have to be sure we are ready to play. Missouri has a really good team. The first seven or eight minutes of the third period they were giving us more than we could handle. Our forwards were not getting any puck possession time and we weren't winning battles for the puck and we weren't moving our feet, we were standing around and turning pucks over. That is all I was saying on the bench. We have to get moving and win some battles and making some plays.
- I thought the referees did a good job tonight. You always think they missed one or two calls but I am sure Missouri feels the same way.
- There were a lot of odd man rushes both ways tonight. They would get something going one way and didn't score and then we had something going the other way. That happened several times as both teams were getting odd man rushes. I don't think either team had a game plan to do that but that is how it turned out.
- Jordan Rowley and Thomas Carr are playing a pretty big role in this series and getting a lot of minutes. We have been using Rowley on the penalty kill. Carr made a great play on the pass to Steffes on his goal tonight. They are professional rookies but they played junior hockey and then five years of college hockey, they were Canadian National champions and all-stars so they are very experienced. Both of them can defend and also jump up in the play and help out with the offense.
- Riley Gill's play in the playoffs shows why he has won two championships. He is not giving them anything easy.
- Allen has now beaten Missouri five of the last six times they have played each other. The Mavericks started the season beating Allen six of nine times.
- There was a huge milestone reached last night as Riley Gill became the winningest playoff goalie in ECHL history. The win last night was #43 all time for Riley and ties him with Nick Vitucci who played in the 1990's. Riley took 70 games to get his 43 wins while Vitucci played in 80 playoff games. Congrats!
- "It was a good battle. They scored on a lucky bounce. We have to look ahead and get ready for Sunday. We found ways to win all season and we aren't going to stop now.".....Mavericks coach Richard Matvichuk
- Chad Costello had an assist on the Steffes goal to extend his point scoring streak to 30 games.
- Will have a complete game preview tomorrow but an interesting statistic from the NHL record book. In seven game quarterfinal series when a team starts the series on the road and takes a 3-1 lead the odds of winning game five is 50-50 but the odds of winning the series is 90%.
- Thanks to the voice of the Missouri Mavericks, Bob Rennison, for inviting me to be his between periods guest last night on his broadcast. It is always great to talk hockey with Bob, who has forgotten more hockey history than I will ever know.
- Fort Wayne beat Utah last night 5-3 to sweep that series 4-0. Fort Wayne will now have time to rest as they await the winner of the Missouri vs Allen series.
- Reading plays at home tonight against Wheeling. The series is tied 2-2.
- Adirondack is at home tonight to take on South Carolina. The series is tied 2-2.
- Home teams were 1-1 last night so the overall home vs road record now stands at 31-32.
DID YOU KNOW: Statistically, Allen has been ranked in the lower half of the teams
remaining in the playoffs in most categories. However, the stats are
somewhat skewed by two lopsided losses of 7-1 against Idaho and 5-2
against Missouri. If you eliminate those two games Allen has outscored
their opponents in nine playoff games 26-15, has a power play
percentage of 26.5% and a penalty kill percentage of 90.3%. The Americans team plus/minus would improve from -3 to +19.