THE WHEELING NAILERS GET HAMMERED IN O/T!
While Barry is on vacation, the views contained in this blog do not represent Barry, or those of the Allen Americans Organization.
Things did not go as planned for the #NailItDown crew as Allen only needed 17 seconds of overtime to (pardon the pun) hammer the Nailers! A game that started out hard fought on both sides in the first period remained scoreless at the first intermission. Allen did not return to the ice in the second with the enthusiasm and confidence as in the first. They made a lot of mistakes but thankfully only 1 goal would reach the back of the Allen net. The second period would find Wheeling up by one. Allen returned to the ice for the third knowing what a long ride it would be back to Allen if they lost this game. They worked hard and it payed off. The Americans would score twice in 4 minutes to take the lead. But the Nailers would tie it up with a power play goal and take the game to overtime late in the third. Does anyone out there have any fingernails left? Not to worry, the game concluded 17 seconds into overtime as Greger Hanson scored his playoff leading 14th goal topshelf off the crossbar above Wheeling's Goalie Frank Palazzese's glove.
In true Coach Martinson's style, veterans carried most of the load coming through with key plays that counted.
- Spencer Asuchak and Casey Pierro-Zabotel maintained good presence in front of the net
- Asuchak also assisted on the overtime goal by winning a puck battle at the blue line
- Chad Costello scored Allen's first goal with a laser like shot from almost in line with the net
- Chad also ties the ECHL post season record for assists with 26 (his 33 points are only 5 shy of the ECHL post season points record)
- Hansen, shooting through traffic, scored the game winning goal in overtime
- Riley Gill notched his 11th career ECHL victory, extending his ECHL record for the Kelly Cup Finals. In this year's playoffs Riley's GAA stands at 2.37 with a SV% of .920
Allen was again outshot last night 26-16 but continues their unusual record of 10-2 when being outsot by opponent. Allen's 16 shots were only 1 more than the fewest recorded (15) in this playoff year.
The third period is very productive for Allen. It continues to be their best period, having their most goals (30) and their least number of shots (206).
Bodies were falling all over the ice last night due to poor ice conditions resulting from the arena's malfunctioning air conditioning. Speaking of the ice, the Americans adapted well to the unusual size of the WesBanco arena ice. The rink is shorter and wider than at the AEC with a smaller neutral zone, and more room behind the net.
Coach Martinson's post game comments:
- our go-to and returning players have come up big every time we needed them
- we were just trying to get pucks to the net and traffic
- Wheeling's small neutral zone and tight corners makes the 2 wins really big
- I think our power play will be better at home
- we were better defensively tonight
For those of you who think the Kelly Cup is in our pocket you must bear in mind these facts about Wheeling:
- the Nailers had to win on the next-to-last regular season game to qualify for the playoffs
- they lost their coach shortly after winning the opening round
- they have trailed 3-2 in their last two playoff series and came back both times defeating South Carolina on the road (an ECHL first) to advance to the finals.
Dyson Stevenson, who sustained an injury in game 3, flew home to Allen on Saturday. Dyson was in the broadcast booth with Tommy for game 4 and did an outstanding job explaining moves on the ice with insightful commentary.
Many thanks again to Angie Blair, Christa Minnick, and Sheri Bohnemann, who were in West Va. to support our team and send us photos.
The team stayed at the Oglebay Resort in West Virginia. Sheri Bohnemann shared this photo of the grounds.
Did you know: The last ECHL team to return to the Finals after winning the previous year's Finals, was Toledo in 1995. The award was the Riley Cup, an earlier version of the Kelly Cup. To paraphrase Mayor Terrell - this occurred in the last century.