It is difficult to know where to start when describing the Allen Americans game last night so let's begin with the Americans defeating the Idaho Steelheads 6-0 before a Thursday night crowd of 3702 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The Americans used the formula that has been working so well recently by getting off to a good start in the first period, dominating special teams play and outstanding goaltending. Here are the details:
- Allen is 9-2-1-0 in their last 11 games and they have scored the first goal of the game in nine of the 11. The Americans scored the first goal last night and won the first period 1-0. In the last 11 games Allen has been ahead or tied after the first period in ten of them. Why is this important? When the Americans are leading or tied after the first period they have a record of 16-2-1-0.
- Allen has been crushing their opponents on special teams. Last night they were 2-5 on the power play, perfect on the penalty kill (0-5) and scored a shorthanded goal. Allen has 10 power play goals in the last four games and at one point scored on seven straight power play opportunities. Allen is 10-18 (55.6%) over the last four games and is 14-47 (29.8%) in
the month of December.
- The penalty kill was perfect last night going 0-5. Over the last four games the penalty kill has scored more goals than they have allowed. In the last four games the penalty kill has allowed just one goal in 21 opportunities (95.2%) and they have scored two shorthanded goals. The one goal allowed was on five-on-three.
- Riley Gill had a 33 save shutout last night. It was his fourth shutout in his last 10 games. He has twice as many shutouts as any other goalie in the league. Both goalies have been great recently as combined they have allowed five goals in the last four games.
- Allen scored six goals last night. It was the third time in the last four games the Americans have tallied six goals. During this four game win streak they have outscored their opponents 22-5. All three lines have been scoring but the top line of Costello, Asuchak and Hanson has been unstoppable. They combined for eight points last night (3 goal 5 assists) and now have a season total of 110 points. They have 40% of the points scored by the entire team this season.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Spencer Asuchak (13) on the power play, Joel Chouinard (2), Bryan Moore (5) shorthanded, Chad Costello (16), Costello (17) on the power play and Gary Steffes (7). You can check out all of the goals and the best save of the game by Riley Gill with two seconds remaining to preserve the shutout at ECHL Rewind. Here is the link: http://www.echl.com/
- The teams will meet again tonight (7:05 pm) for their fourth and final time in the regular season. With back to back games I would think you will see Jamie Murray in goal tonight. Jamie had a great game in is last start stopping 42 of 43 shots. That was last Sunday in Wichita in a 4-1 Allen win.
- Chris Pontes
(#2) will be the referee again tonight. The linesmen will be Rick Rivera (#59) and Aaron Schacht (#31).
- Coach Martinson gave a couple of the injured players (Harrison Ruopp & Aaron Gens) permission to start their Christmas break early and head home. Ruopp was flying home but Gens was driving the 1225 miles to his hometown in northern Minnesota so getting an early start definitely helped. Coach Martinson's plan is to leave right after the game tonight and drive 13 hours through the night back to his hometown outside of Minneapolis so his family can spend time with his mom and relatives in the Twin Cities area. The Christmas break starts after the game tonight and the players will have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. The team has a practice on Tuesday night (6:00 pm) and then leaves for Wichita Wednesday morning. Got the distinct feeling in talking to Martinson, who will meet the team in Wichita on the 28th, that if any players have trouble making the practice on Tuesday night because they are traveling back to Allen, all will be forgiven.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- I am heading to Minnesota after the game tomorrow so a good thing about the win tonight is I don't have to look at a lot of video.
- Obviously the special teams were really good again tonight. Riley was great in goal and got his fourth shutout. He has been amazing.
- We put Dyson at defense in the third period as tomorrow is our sixth game in nine nights so I was trying to keep the defense as fresh as possible. I thought Stevenson did a great job. He liked that flip pass he tried a few times. He did say after the second period he was going to teach the defensemen how to make that flip pass correctly. Now we will have to set up a play when he does that flip so we have someone going for it.
- It was a good win but we have to get a good nights sleep and be ready for tomorrow night. It will be a tough game tomorrow.
- All three lines are contributing and making plays but the top line is really going right now. Costello has 17 goals. It is nice to see Chad shooting the puck.
- It is a lot more fun playing good hockey as we go into the Christmas break.
- The referee told me our own guy knocked the stick into Makowski that caused the cut. Steffes gave their player a little push and then he swung his stick up right at Makowski. If you look at the video it is pretty clear it was intentional. You have to be in control of your stick.
- Allen players dominate the current ECHL scoring streaks. Bryan Moore has the longest goal scoring streak (four games), Greger Hanson the longest assist streak (six games) and Chad Costello has the longest point scoring streak (11 games).
- Congrats to Chad Costello who reached another milestone last night scoring his 200th professional goal. Chad has been a big part of the Americans 9-2-1-0 record over the last 11 games. In those 11 games he has scored at least one point in each game. Here are just of few of his recent accomplishments:
Two goals, one assist last night
Goals in seven of the last eight games
10 goals in last eight games
13 points in last five games
points in 20 of last 21 games
leads league in scoring with 47 points (17 goals 30 assists)
leads scoring race by eight points
- You can expect coach Martinson to start getting calls from AHL teams looking for help. With the Americans playing great and scoring a lot it is probably just a matter of time. Scoring points always gets you noticed by AHL teams and Allen has plenty of players scoring points.
- The season it not yet half over so things could change but the Mountain Division it starting to look like a four team race. There is now an eight point gap between Idaho in fourth place and Missouri in fifth place. The gap to sixth place Rapid City is 10 points and to seventh place Utah it is 12 points. After the game tonight the Allen Americans will not play any of the other top four teams (Colorado, Alaska, Idaho) the rest of the regular season.
- I have four loge (second level) tickets for the New Years Eve Game against Utah. It is a 5:05 pm start so plenty of time to watch the game and still celebrate afterwards. I will have a drawing for the tickets on Tuesday (12/27). If you are interested let me know via Twitter, Facebook, the Blog, text, in person or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). All I need is your name and if you want two or four tickets. The tickets are in the end of the rink where the Zamboni enters the ice, close by where the players that aren't playing sit. I will announce the winner or winners in the blog Wednesday morning and leave the tickets at will call. Good luck!
DID YOU KNOW: Among ECHL players with more than 250 games, Chad Costello ranks fourth all-time in points per game. Here are the top five in average points per game. The last year they played in the ECHL is in parenthesis:
1.80 - Trevor Jobe (1998-99)
1.74 - Victor Gervias (2003-04)
1.64 - Phil Berger (1999-2000)
1.54 - Chad Costello (2016-17)
1.49 - John Spoltore (1999-2000)