Sunday, January 22, 2017

Allen Shutout 4-0 by Wichita, Martinson's Comments, Jersey Auction, When Will Moore and Hanson Return

If you are the superstitious type of Allen fan you had to be weary last night as in the past the Americans don't fare very well on specialty jersey night and whenever there is a huge crowd at a regular season game. Such was the case last night as the Allen Americans were shutout 4-0 by the Wichita Thunder on Star Wars night before a season high crowd of 5804 at the Allen Event Center (AEC).

- Allen was never in the game giving up the first goal at the 3:41 mark of the first period. They were out shot 16-4 in the first period and had just five shots on goal halfway through the game. The score was 4-0 before the second period was completed. When the Americans created good scoring chances they missed the net or were stopped by some great play by the Thunder goaltender.

- Even though Allen was playing with a short bench the lack of scoring was a big surprise. In their last 13 games going back to the beginning of  December the Americans have averaged close to five goals a game. They scored fewer than four goals in just one of the previous 13 games and in that game they scored two goals.

- Since joining the ECHL in 2014-15 Allen has been shutout at home just twice prior to last night. Ironically, the Americans first ECHL home shutout took place on March 18, 2015 when they lost to the Wichita Thunder by the same score as last night, 4-0. The only other home shutout took place a year ago (1/18/16) when Allen lost to Colorado 1-0.

-  If you are looking for excuses for the poor performance last night there are plenty to be found. Allen played two players short and had only seven forwards dressed for the game. Bryan Moore with 16 goals in the last 14 games was loaned to San Jose and Zach Hall was out with an injury. Add Moore and Hall to the rather long list of players out with injuries or playing in the AHL and you can see why the team might struggle. The missing players (Moore, Hall, Hanson, Marchment, Stevenson, Brown, Gens) represent 40% of all goals scored by the team this season and are key special teams players. With Riley Gill out with an injury, Jamie Murray has played in nine straight games without a break.

- Credit should go to Wichita who has been playing much better hockey since making some recent roster changes. The Thunder have won two of their last three games and play hard every night.

- The Americans left early this morning for Wichita where they will play the Thunder for the third time in less than 48 hours with a 4:05 pm puck drop this afternoon. It looks like the team will be playing short again today. After a tough game last night it could be another long day for the Americans. 


- Here is Steve Martinson's pregame interview with Tom Manning:


- We had some good chances tonight but we didn't shoot the puck real great and their goalie made some good saves. We didn't get the puck upstairs when the goalie was down and we served up too many easy chances to them.

- Our line up tonight was good enough to win even with the missing players and being shorthanded. I don't like having to play two defensemen at forward but we need to have the other guys step up. When you are shorthanded it provides opportunity and more minutes to other players and they need to take advantage of the opportunity they are given.

- We will leave at 7:30 in the morning and stop on the way to Wichita for a pregame meal.

- As well as we have played over the last month it is disappointing to have a game like this when we had such a big crowd in the house tonight.


- I get asked all the time how long Greger Hanson and Bryan Moore will be in the AHL and the answer is you never know. It is very difficult for free agents like Hanson and Moore to get loaned to the AHL and stay for an extended period of time. Typically free agents get loaned because contracted players are injured. When the injured players return, the loaned players get sent back to their ECHL teams. There are certainly exceptions but unless Hanson and Moore play much better than the contracted players they are replacing they will be back in Allen sooner rather than later.

- General manager Martinson is assuredly looking at roster options as the team heads to Florida this week for three games. He will have to consider when Gill, Stevenson and Hall can get back in the lineup as they are day to day. Martinson will most likely be talking to San Jose and San Diego to determine when he might get Hanson and Moore back. He will be talking to free agents players he could bring in and of course there are players in Europe that might be interested in returning before the February 15 deadline. Trades are also a possibility. There are a lot of moving parts this time of year as injuries at the NHL and AHL level impact ECHL teams. Playing shorthanded is not unique to Allen as all teams deal with these issues at this time of year.

Auctioneer Tom Manning with the Star Wars jersey

- Here are the results of the Star Wars jersey auction. Based on past specialty jersey auctions some bargains were had last night. Not sure if the fans didn't like the jersey or the demand for specialty jerseys is waning because there have been so many of them this season. 

$700 - Costello
$550 - Stevenson
$500 - Mathers
$450 - Hall
$450 - Steffes
$400 - Gill
$400 - Moore
$400 - Hanson
$350 - Gens
$350 - Roy
$350 - Di Salvo
$350 - Liberati
$350 - Asuchak
$300 - Brown
$300 - Marchment
$300 - Chouinard
$300 - Kerbashian
$300 - Ruopp
$300 - Cure
$300 - Brittain
$300 - Gunn
$300 - Murray
$300 - Eberle
$250 - Makowski
$250 - Brodzinski

- If you arrived early yesterday you witnessed an entertaining exhibition hockey game between Texas and Texas A&M. Texas was the winner 6-5. Hockey is a club sport at many Texas Universities and to showcase these teams in conjunction with an Allen Americans game was a great idea. Look for more of these games in the future. Here is a story written by Rick Gosselin about college hockey in Texas that provides some background and asks the question of whether NCAA hockey could come the Texas.

- Here are a couple of photos courtesy of Dianne Webster that capture the spirit of kids attending a hockey game.

DID YOU KNOW: Thanks to super fan Mike Stiney for posing the question of the Americans record on Star Wars Night. I promise a more complete answer with the help of others but for now this is all I could find. Since joining the ECHL in 2014-15 the Allen Americans are 2-1 on Star Wars Night. Here are the results:

January 21, 2017 - Lost 4-0 to Wichita
February 6, 2016 - Won 5-3 against Wichita
March 28, 2015 - Beat Tulsa 4-3 in overtime.

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