Sunday, December 11, 2016

Allen Loses to Wichita for First Time in Sixteen Games, OT Shorty Spells Defeat, Good & Bad Lists

If you didn't listen to or watch the Allen Americans game last night and heard they came from behind but lost in overtime it would sound pretty good. The 5-4 overtime loss gave Allen three of four points against Wichita for the weekend. There were certainly some positives for the Americans, here is a list.

- Allen scored the first goal of the game for the seventh game in a row. This after scoring first in just six of the first 19 games of the season.
- Allen held their opponent scoreless in the first period for the seventh consecutive game. The Americans were outscored in the first period 26-13 over their first 19 games. In the last seven they have outscored the opponent 6-0 including 2-0 last night.
- Allen was perfect on the penalty kill as Wichita was 0-7 on the power play. In the two games against the Thunder, Allen did not allow a power play goal (0-14). Wichita came into the weekend with the #1 ranked power play in the league at 25.5%. After the two games against Allen they are now ranked #8 at 19.7%.
- Allen scored with one minute remaining in the game to tie the score 4-4 and send it to overtime.
- Allen co-captains continued leading the offense. Gary Steffes had a goal and an assist and has five points (3 goals 2 assists) in the last four games. Chad Costello had a goal for the third straight game. He has nine points (4 goals 5 assists) in the last six games.
- Alternate captain Dyson Stevenson stepped up in a big way last night. He was his usual hard working pesky self but with Aaron Gens out of the lineup and the Americans down to four healthy defensemen, Dyson volunteered to help out on defense if needed. So in addition to multi-tasking he had a fight and was on the ice for all four Allen goals and had an assist on three of them. He ended up +4 on the night, nobody else was better than a +1.

With the good comes the bad and there was also plenty of that last night. A team as talented as the Americans should have never lost that game. Here is a list.

- Allen took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission only to cough it up in the second period. Cough it up is the correct word as the goal to tie the score 2-2 was a shorthanded goal. It was the seventh shorthanded goal allowed by the Americans this season.
- Allen took a 3-2 lead early in the third period but gave up the tying goal 71 seconds later.
- After Allen tied the score 4-4 with one minute remaining to send it to overtime, Allen got a rare overtime power play and all they did was yield a second shorthanded goal to lose the game.
- For the weekend Allen was 0-11 on the power play and gave up two shorthanded goals. The Americans have now given up a league leading eight shorthanded goals.

- For the record the goal scorers for Allen were Alex Guptill (4th but 1st with Allen), Gary Steffes (5), Chad Costello (10) and Mike Gunn (1). Vincent Arseneau had a goal and assist for Wichita and was named the #1 star of the game. As usual you can check out all of the goals, some good saves by both goalies and the Stevenson fight at ECHL Rewind:

- As you might imagine coach Martinson was not a happy camper losing a game when you give up two shorthanded goals including the game winner in overtime. His message to me after the game was short and to the point, "The defensemen were outstanding, playing three games in four nights and having only four guys available tonight. Most of our forwards didn't commit to the same level that the defensemen did. Not even close."

- The team headed home right after the game and arrived early this morning. They will start preparing for Colorado who they play on Wednesday at the Allen Event Center.


- Despite the disappointing overtime loss to Wichita last night the Americans are 5-1-1-0 in their last seven games. As coach Martinson said after the win on Friday, "We are really not playing the way I like to play yet but we are moving in the right direction. It is a work in progress." Last night's game shows progress is sometimes two steps forward and one step back.

- The win last night by Wichita was the first time they have beaten the Americans since April 1, 2014, 618 days ago. Allen had won 15 in a row before last night. The Americans record against the Thunder since joining the ECHL is pretty amazing at 23-2-4-3.

- Allen's penalty kill unit did a great job in Wichita holding the #1 rated Thunder power play scoreless in 14 opportunities. As a result, the Americans penalty kill has moved up to #12 in the league at 85.0%.

- Prior to the overtime loss last night Allen was perfect when going extra time. They were 4-0 in overtimes and 1-0 in shootouts. Toledo is the only team in the ECHL that remains undefeated as they are 4-0 in overtime and 3-0 in shootouts.

- Toledo lost last night in Alaska as the Aces won 8-6. It was the first loss for Toledo in the last ten games. It has been quite a weekend in Alaska. Friday night Toledo won 4-3 with a comeback victory in a 10 round shootout. Last night the teams scored 14 goals and had 36 penalties on Star Wars Night. The rubber match of the three game series takes place this afternoon.

- Toledo and Tulsa share the top of the ECHL standings with 34 points. Norfolk is at the bottom with just 10 points.

DID YOU KNOW: After some recent success the Allen power play is back in the doldrums with an 0-11 in Wichita and two shorthanded goals allowed. The power play is now ranked #25 at 10.0%. The Allen power play has scored 11 goals this season but allowed 8 shorthanded goals. Here are the shorthanded goals for and against over the last five years. There is little doubt it has been a big problem this season. The team is on pace to allow 22 shorthanded goals. The first column (SHGF) is the shorthanded goals Allen has scored. The second column (SHGA) is the shorthanded goals Allen has allowed.
                  SHGF     SHGA
2016-17:      2             8       (after 26 games)
2015-16:      9             10
2014-15:     13            8
2013-14:     11            9
2012-13:      7             8


  1. I did not get to watch or listen to the game but is there any reason to have any confidence in Jamie Murray?

  2. Kevin, Jamie has the talent and ability to be an excellent goalie. I think the biggest thing for him is to get his confidence back. The loss in Wichita on Saturday was more about defensive breakdowns than poor goaltending. Coach Martinson went through each of the goals with me after practice yesterday and pointed out the multiple breakdowns (mostly by the forwards) on each goal.Allen is 5-1-1 over the last seven games but it is still a work in progress.