The Allen Americans got a much needed victory yesterday by beating the Tulsa Oilers in overtime by a score of 4-3. It was a tough start for the Americans as they gave up two unassisted goals in the first period. Critical turnovers led to both Tulsa goals and gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead after the first period.
- The Americans came back in the second period with two goals of their own. The first goal was scored by Chad Costello (5). Eric Roy made the play with a takeaway in the neutral zone and a quick backhand pass to Alex Guptill heading up the right wing. Guptill took a shot from the face off circle and Chad was at the side of the net for the rebound. He had to shoot twice as the goalie saved the first one but he was able to tap the second shot in as he passed the net. It wasn't a pretty goal but the result of hard work, getting the puck on net and having Costello in front for the rebound.
- The second goal to tie the score 2-2 was definitely the gritty, greasy type the coaches talked about after the loss on Saturday. Allen was on the penalty kill and the play started with a big hit by Harrison Ruopp behind his own net. Ruopp got the puck to Dyson Stevenson on the side boards who headed up the right wing. When he got to the blue line he cut to the middle, split two Oilers and took a backhand shot that the goalie saved. Dyson pursued the rebound which was on the end boards and banked a shot off the goalie into the goal from behind the goal line. Two great plays, first by Ruopp with the big check in his own zone to get the Oiler forward to cough up the puck and then the determination of Stevenson to go the length of the ice and get the shorthanded goal. It was Dyson's second goal of the season.
- Heading into the third period the Americans had fought back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the score but at the 2:29 mark Tulsa took the lead again on another costly turnover that set up a two on one odd man rush. Riley Gill made the initial save but nobody covered the trailer who slammed home the rebound.
- The Americans came back again just three minutes later to tie the score 3-3 on another work hard, get pucks to the net with players in front type of goal. Gary Steffes did a great job of forechecking in the corner and got the puck back to Travis Brown at the point. Travis took one shot that was blocked but he got the puck back and sent another shot to the net. Jake Marchment was parked in front of the net and the puck went off his skate or stick into the net. It was Marchment's fifth goal as he has made a living by going to the net.
- Time expired in the third period with the score tied 3-3. All three Tulsa goals were scored on pretty egregious turnovers as you can tell by the fact the Oilers had three goals and just one assist. All three Allen goals were scored on hard work, pucks to the net type of plays as there was nothing fancy about them. That was about to change in overtime.
- It took the Americans 68 seconds into overtime to win the game and it was vintage Chad Costello that made it happen proving again why he is the best offensive player in the ECHL. The play started a good defensive play when Chad got a little piece of an Oiler's stick just as he was about to shoot and made him fan on the shot. Chad picked up the puck and proceeded to pass it to himself off the side boards to create a two on one with Eric Roy. The Tulsa defender made a move toward Costello and Chad made a perfect saucer pass to Roy who was all alone in the slot. Eric lifted the puck over the blocker of the goalie for the game winner. It was as fancy a play by Costello as you will ever see from taking the puck away from his opponent, to how he created the odd man rush with a pass to himself off the sideboards, to the perfect saucer pass. by his defender. to Eric Roy.
- It wasn't a dominant win by any means for the Americans but it was an important win as they start a long road trip. The team kept working and coming from behind and the hard work paid off. The Americans headed back to Allen after the game and will leave tonight on the 1238 mile trip to Utah where they will play the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
- You can check out all of the highlights including the goals for and against as well as an Alex Guptill fight at ECHL Rewind. Unfortunately the highlights don't show the Ruopp hit that started the play where Stevenson got the shorthanded goal. Play close attention to Costello on the overtime goal. You may have to watch that one several times to see everything Chad did to make that play. Here is the link: http://www.echl.com/
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
Here are Steve Martinson's comments after the Tulsa win last night. It was the 900th win of his coaching career but those numbers don't mean much to the coach other than it was a much needed victory. He has said in the past that number 1000 will be of special significance. Hope that happens in Allen.
- Turnovers led to all three Tulsa goals. Our structure was not good on a couple of the goals. On their third goal our guys were caught low and we couldn't even cover the trailer after Gill made the initial save on the odd man rush.
- Sometimes we struggle to read that there isn't a play and the best decision is to chip the puck in and forecheck. We may have to become a dump and chase team.
- Jake Marchment continues to be rewarded for going to the net as he did on the goal that tied the game.
- Dyson made a big play on that shorthanded goal through sheer determination.
- It was a great goal in overtime to win the game. Costello and Roy have pretty good chemistry when it comes to overtime.
- Allen out shot Tulsa 42-35 and continue to generate shots on goal at a much higher rate than last season. The Americans are ranked #5 in the league averaging 34.13 shots per game which is over five more shots per game than last year.
- Jake Marchment has slowly earned himself more ice time with his play. Have seen him on the ice in all situations (equal strength, power play, penalty kill) recently and he is one of a few players that will take the punishment to park in front of the net. His penchant for going to the net has paid off with five goals in 10 games. His goals per game average (.50) is the highest on the team.
- With a goal and assist against Tulsa, Chad Costello is now fourth in the ECHL in scoring with 22 points, just two points out of the lead.
- Allen and Toledo are the only two ECHL teams that are undefeated in extra time. Allen is 2-0 in overtime and 1-0 in shootouts. Toledo is 3-0 in overtime and 2-0 in shootouts.
- The Americans power play continues its futility as they were 0-2 in Tulsa. The power play percentage has dropped to 7.9%. The Americans having scored just five power play goals all season on 63 attempts. The penalty kill continues to improve as the unit killed all six Tulsa power play opportunities and came up with a shorthanded goal.
- The official attendance for the game in Tulsa was 5657 but if you
watched on ECHL-TV or listened to the broadcast it was clear the crowd
was considerably smaller than that.
DID YOU KNOW: There are a lot of ways to measure which of the four ECHL divisions is the best and worst. The South Division has the best team in Florida with a .885 winning percentage but the rest of the teams are all below .542. The Central Division has only one team below .500 and that team is at .467. The Mountain Division has the lowest winning percentage for a first place team at .625. The North Division is the only one with two teams at .700 or higher. Here is how the Mountian Division has fared when playing teams in the other divisions:
North Division: 6-7-0-1
South Division: 6-2-1-0
Central Division: 10-15-0-1