BEWARE THE WOUNDED BEAST
It was a tough physical game 3 of the Kelly Cup finals. The Americans answered the first two Wheeling goals but were unable to match the third goal and fell by a score of 3-2 in front of 3484 fans at WesBanco arena, They now trail the series 1 game to 2. Nailer goalie Franky Palazzese had to make a couple of outstanding saves in the final minutes to preserve the win. The barrage of shots in the third period gave Allen the edge in shots for the game (30-27). The 3rd Wheeling goal appeared to be goalie interference. You can view tape of this goal and game highlights on the ECHL Rewind section of the ECHL website, echl.com
Physicality took its toll on the Americans as Tristan King took a shot to the head (no penalty was called) in the second period and did not return. Dyson Stevenson also went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury but did return later in the game. The current status of these two players is unknown at this time. The Americans will indeed be a "wounded beast" for Friday night's game 4. You can anticipate them playing like one and returning the physical style Wheeling showed in last night's contest.
Only 8 penalties were called last night - 3 in the first period, 4 in the second and 1 in the third. While it is often said "Let them play, it's playoff hockey" to justify physical play, it can sometimes also be a convenient excuse for missed calls. The unpenalized hit to King falls into one of these two reasons.
Three Americans continued their league leading statistics and streak
- Chad Costello increased his league lead for playoff points to 29 and assists to 24
- Greger Hanson increased his lead for playoff goals to 13
- Gary Steffes is now on a 4 game goal streak and 8 game point streak
For those of you that have not yet seen this, below is Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell's response to the challenge issued by Wheeling Mayor McKenzie
Some quotes from last night's game-
"Timely goals, great goaltending, good defense. That is what makes championship hockey - Nailers Coach Jeff Christian
"(Allen) is not going to quit. We have to take it from them, they are the champs three years in a row, they know how to win. They're going to come out flying, they're goijng to come out hungry" - Coach Christian
"We played well tonight, but didn't get the results we wanted. Their goalie made some nice saves, but we didn't test him enough. We'll fix that problem by Friday" - Americans defenseman Aaron Gens.
"to be honest I did not see it, I was on the post and tried to cheat off the post. I heard the guy one-time it." - Nailer goalie Palazzese commenting on a shot by Greger Hanson in the last minute of play
Coach Martinson's post game comments
- Two soft defensive plays that they scored on were tough to watch
- Being short two forwards hurt us as the game went on
- We had our chance in the third
- (League) should have video reviews in the playoffs
- Clearly goalie interference on the third goal (this is substantiated by the referenced game clip on the ECHL website)
The next two games are Friday night and Saturday night at WesBanco arena - game time for both is 6:35CDT. An American victory in either game (or both) will bring the series back to the friendly confines of the AEC.
Our next blog post will be Saturday, covering the results of Friday night's game.
Did you know - Patrick Kelly, Commissioner emeritus of the ECHL and who the Kelly Cup is named after, was in attendance at last night's game. He was also in attendance for Wheeling's inaugural game in 1992. Kelly is in his 63rd year in the game of hockey