The Allen Americans finished a three game sweep of the Rapid City Rush last night before a sparse Saturday night crowd of 3318 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It wasn't easy on the way to a 6-5 victory as the Americans had to come from behind twice after scoring the first goal of the game. Allen has relied on big third periods all season and it worked again last night as the Americans outscored the Rush 3-1 in the third period.
- Allen scored first in all three games in Rapid City and that is always a good omen as the Americans have a record of 24-2-1-1 when scoring first. What wasn't a good omen for Allen last night was they trailed 2-1 after the first period and that record is 3-14-1-1 and they trailed after the second period 4-3 and that record is 5-15-1-0. However, three unanswered third period goals gave Allen a 6-4 lead before Rapid City scored with seven seconds remaining in the game to make the final score 6-5.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Chad Costello (27, 28), Kale Kerbashian (3), Josh Brittain (6), Eric Roy (13) and Miles Liberati (1). Thanks to the Rapid City Rush staff for putting together a great highlight package that includes all of the goals as well as many great saves by both goalies. Check out the video highlights at ECHL Rewind: http://www.echl.com/
- Here is a complete goal by goal recap of the game issued in a press release by the Rapid City Rush: http://www.rapidcityrush.com/news/?article_id=821
- Here is the press release issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-sweep-three-game-series-with-rapid-city/
- Steve Martinson shared a couple of thoughts after the game and used the old analogy of you have some guys that carry the water and some that chop the wood. "We need some players to figure out what they are best suited for. We had four of our faster forwards out of the lineup tonight and it was very noticeable. We didn't skate well, weren't physical and not strong enough defensively. We skated better in the third period and made some plays. We will need to add some speed up front to be successful against the top teams in the league."
- Allen played without Dyson Stevenson and Bryan Moore who were suspended and David Makowski who was given a game misconduct in the second period. Before his ejection Makowski did pick up an assist to keep his point scoring streak alive. He has at least one point in nine straight games.
- Allen developed a pattern in the three games in Rapid City as they scored first in all of the games but could not hold the lead. The third period became the story over and over again. Goals scored by period shows a 3-3 tie in the first, Allen with a 6-5 lead in the second and the Americans with a dominating 11-3 advantage in the third period.
- Chad Costello didn't have an assist last night for the first time in nine games. Instead he potted two goals and is tied with Greger Hanson for third place in goals scored in the ECHL as they both have 28. Chad extended his multiple point scoring streak to eight games and in those eight games he has three points six times and two points twice. Chad also extended his lead in the ECHL scoring race to 34 points.
- The Americans headed home right after the game on the over 1000 mile trip back to Allen. If all goes well and Big Red cooperates they will arrive home late tonight.
- I had some pretty harsh things to say in the blog yesterday about the comments Rapid City broadcaster, Mark Binetti, made when Dyson Stevenson was injured on Friday night. If you listened to his pregame show or the game broadcast last night you heard Mark take responsibility for what he said and apologize to Allen fans and Dyson Stevenson. I am paraphrasing but Binetti said his comments were not professional, he was sorry for what he said, he will learn from his mistake and that will never happen in his broadcast booth again. Mark also had a chance to talk directly to Dyson between periods and apologize to him. You could not ask for anything more from Mark Binetti who took responsibility in a very public way and was a true professional in how it was handled. It is not the mistakes you make that people notice but how you react to them. Job well done Mark Binetti.
- Mike Holum had a chance to ask Dyson Stevenson about his conversation with Mark Binetti and this is what Dyson said, "He apologized to me and said he was unprofessional and that what he said about what happened to me on the ice shouldn't have happened," and I said. "I accept your apology."
- If you haven't been paying attention to the Mountain Division standings you haven't noticed what was a four team race for the playoffs has turn into a six team race for the playoffs. Utah and Missouri looked to be out of the playoff race a couple of weeks ago but some excellent hockey by both teams has them back in the thick of the race. Here are the Mountain Division standings with the team's record in the last 10 games in parentheses:
68 points - Allen (7-2-0-1)
68 points - Colorado (9-1-0-0)
59 points - Idaho (3-5-2-0)
57 points - Alaska (4-4-0-2)
54 points - Utah (9-1-0-0)
53 points - Missouri (8-2-0-0)
38 points - Rapid City (2-7-1-0)
- I came across this story in the Gackle Report the other day and I thought it provided great advice no matter what level of hockey you are talking about. I have heard coach Martinson say many times over the years that scoring a bunch of points in Allen will get you noticed but it is the other aspects of the game that will keep you in the AHL. This is a good read: https://www.gacklereport.com/golf-article/barracudas-labanc-determined-rejoin-sharks-harder-heavier-player/
- Zach Hall should be back in the lineup for the next game and Bryan Moore will return after serving a one game suspension. Kale Kerbashian looks to be gaining his old form after suffering through a couple of injuries. Dyson Stevenson will hopefully be back by next weekend. Josh Brittain has 10 points in his last 10 games and is a physical presence on the ice. Jon Martin has a goal and an assist in the last two games. Eberle, Brown and Gens are still on the mend. My point is this team is good but will only get better as the playoffs approach.
DID YOU KNOW: Allen still has much room for improvement but they have been slowly working to the top of the ECHL. The Americans are tied for second in points (68) just one point behind Florida. Allen is tied for first in wins (32), leads the ECHL in goals scored (205), is fifth in winning percentage (.654) and leads in penalty minutes (1094).