Sunday, February 5, 2017

Allen Beaten 8-5 by Tulsa, Mathers vs Halabi Reaches Round Five, Special Teams Fail & More

In the course of a 72 game ECHL schedule there are always a few games that defy description and such was the case last night as the Allen Americans lost to the Tulsa Oilers 8-5. It was "Pink in the Rink Night" for the Oilers and a big Saturday night crowd of 7224 watched Tulsa score four first period goals on the way to an easy victory.

Spencer Asuchak captured it best. Here is his quote from the Americans press release. "They jumped on us early and we never recovered. It was disappointing to make that four hour drive to Tulsa and not give a good enough effort to give ourselves a chance." Here is the Allen press release:

- The game wasn't as close as the final score as the Americans tallied four of their five goals after the game was already decided including three third period goals after they were trailing 7-2. Goal scorers for Allen were Gary Steffes (13), Tanner Eberle (9), David Makowski (9), Spencer Asuchak (19) and Eric Roy (11). You can check out all of the goals at ECHL Rewind:

- Tulsa snapped a seven game losing streak by scoring eight goals. During the seven game losing streak Tulsa never scored more than two goals. Last night the Oilers had three goals on their first six shots all created by Allen turnovers.

- The Americans ineptness on special teams last night is difficult to explain. Allen was 5-9 on the power play in the first two games of this three in three set with Tulsa and over the last five games against the Oilers the power play was 11-21 (52.4%). Allen went from 4-6 on the power play on Friday night to 0-6 last night.

- The penalty kill had a similar unexplainable night. Going into the game last night Allen had allowed Tulsa three power play goals all season. Over eight games the Oilers were 3-34 (8.8%) on the power play and were ranked last in the ECHL. Last night they went 3-8.

- If you believe in moral victories you can look at the third period as the Americans won the third period. Unfortunately the score was already 7-2 when the third period started. Allen out shot Tulsa 24-6 and outscored the Oilers 3-1 but it was far too little and far too late.

- Hats off to Derek Mathers who continued to make Reid Halabi pay for the cheap shots against Dyson Stevenson on Friday night. Stevenson did not make the trip to Tulsa. Mathers and Halabi had two more fights last night and they went just like the previous ones where Halabi wasn't interested in fighting but holding on for dear life. The total for the weekend was five fights and for the season Halabi is 0-7 against Mathers and the punch count is something like 70-4. Several readers have asked why Halabi continues to fight Mathers when he loses so badly. The answer is quite simple that if Halabi isn't fighting he has little value to the team. If he isn't fighting he is not on the team. Mathers controls the game even when he isn't fighting because of his presence. For the record the website has Halabi with a fight record of 5-9-2 (wins, loses, draws) this season and Mathers with a record of 16-0-5.

Derek Mathers dominated Reid Halabi twice more last night - photo by TeeJay Tulsa Oilers

- The team traveled back to Allen immediately after the game and will have the day off today. They will resume practice tomorrow morning as they prepare for three games in Rapid City on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They will depart (by bus) later tomorrow for the 1058 mile trip that will take about 17 hours if all goes as planned and Big Red cooperates.


- You would have to assume Riley Gill is injured once again. Coach Martinson had indicated at the post game press conference after the Friday night game that Gill would start in Tulsa and Murray started instead. Secondly, it is unlike coach Martinson to not make a change when his team gives up three goals on the first six shots of the game. When that didn't happen it was a tell that Gill couldn't go. The only comment from coach Martinson was, "Gill is day to day. It is more of a conditioning issue and he should be ready to go by the weekend."

- If you haven't been paying attention to the Mountain Division the Utah Grizzlies have been the hottest team in the division. They have gone from trying to avoid last place to fighting for a playoff spot in short order. Utah has won seven straight games and are 9-1-0-0 in their last 10 games. The playoff team that is really struggling is Idaho. They are 2-5-2-1 in the last 10 games and just lost three in a row at home to Utah. Here are the current standings with games played in parentheses.

62 points - Allen (49 games)
62 points - Colorado (47 games)
55 points - Idaho (47 games)
54 points - Alaska (44 games)
50 points - Utah (46 games)
47 points - Missouri (46 games)
37 points - Rapid City (45 games)

- Allen passed the 1000 minute mark last night in penalty minutes this season. There is just one other team with over 900 minutes (Colorado) and four teams with over 800 minutes (Fort Wayne, Tulsa, Idaho, Utah). Notice all of the high penalty minute teams are in the Western Conference. Florida leads the Eastern Conference in penalty minutes with 645.

DID YOU KNOW: Derek Mathers did some serious damage last night to his march to the single season penalty minute record for the Allen Americans. With five fights this weekend Mathers now owns the record for most fights in a season with 23. He surpassed Garrett Klotz who had 20 fights in 2013-14.

Derek is now fourth on the single season penalty minute record list. Here is a list of those still ahead of him.

257: Garrett Klotz - 2013-14                              
256: Brett Lyon - 2014-15                                   
223: Garrett Clarke - 2012-13
206: Derek Mathers - 2016-17                           

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