- It is hard to complain about the team's performance when they are 9-0-1-0 in the last 10 games, but once again last night the Americans took a 2-0 lead and then let Tulsa back in the game. To make matters worse some ill advised penalties in the third period including a five minute major and a five-on-three power play almost cost Allen the game. They were out shot in the third period 20-7 but as happens so often Riley Gill came up with some big saves at crunch time.
- Allen struggled to win both games this weekend against the Oilers and a win is a win but remember, Tulsa has just one road win in the last month and has lost 13 of their last 14 road games.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Zach Hall (11), Josh Brittain (9) and Alex Krushelnyski (4 & 5). Unfortunately the video highlights were not posted to ECHL Rewind after the Friday game and as of this writing have not been posted for the game last night. I am the first to criticize other teams for not posting the video highlights so I will do the same for the Americans. I am sure everyone is extremely busy after the game and posting the highlights is time consuming but that task should be first among equals to get accomplished. There is no league requirement to post the video highlights to ECHL Rewind but the ECHL strongly encourages all teams to do so.
- Here is the press release issued by the Allen Americans recapping the game: http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/americans-hold-off-tulsa-4-3-on-military-night-in-allen/n-5243626
- Here is the Tulsa game recap: https://tulsaoilers.com/oilers-edged-allen/
- Here is Steve Martinson's pregame interview with Tom Manning:
- Can't remember the last time Allen didn't have a single power play opportunity in a game. Tulsa was called for just one minor penalty in the game and that was for removing the helmet prior to a fight.
- The Josh Brittain major penalty for spearing in the third period was costly in more ways than one. Sticking up for your teammates is an admirable trait but it is much better to drop the gloves in those situations. In the short term the penalty led to a power play goal for Tulsa, cut the score to 4-3 and gave the Oilers hope down the stretch. In the long term it most likely means a suspension for Josh and an already shorthanded Allen team will be even more shorthanded. The ECHL spearing rules dictate that whenever a major penalty for spearing is assessed that a game misconduct is also imposed. There are no automatic fines or suspensions for spearing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied at the Commissioner's discretion. I think there is little doubt the commissioner will be applying his discretion and a suspension is forthcoming for Brittain.
- Joel Chouinard was the #3 star of the game as he had two assists and was on the ice for all four Allen goals. Any good team has a lot more leaders than those that wear letters on their jerseys. When you watch an Allen game it is obvious Joel is one of those players. When you hear talk about the best defensemen in the league it is almost always about the defensmen at the top of the scoring list. When you think about Chouinard you think defense first even though he is #13 in scoring by a defenseman with 39 points (10 goals 29 assists). His most impressive statistic is he leads the entire ECHL in plus/minus with a +38. The next highest plus/minus by a defenseman on the Americans is +19 (Makowski). Allen doesn't track ice time for each player but there is no doubt Joel logs more ice time than any other player on the team. Throw in the fact that Joel has not missed a game all season and you could easily make the argument he is the best all around defenseman in the ECHL.
- There were three fights in the game last night. Derek Mathers fought Danick Paquette to what dropyourgloves.com rated a draw. It was the 28th fight of the season for Derek, who now has 246 penalty minutes and is 13 minutes away from setting the Allen all time single season penalty minute record held by Garrett Klotz. Dyson Stevenson also dropped the gloves and won his fight. Tanner Eberle had the most entertaining fight of the night as he traded blows with Dylan Hubbs. It was fast action with lots of punches thrown in one of the longer fights of the season. The fight was rated as a draw but Tanner left the penalty box and headed to the locker room midway through serving his penalty and did not return. You always worry about hand injuries when so many punches are thrown especially with helmets on.
- With the possibility of Eberle being injured and Brittain being suspended the Americans could be very shorthanded for the game on Wednesday. It is possible Bryan Moore could be ready but he is day to day and has not practiced. Greger Hanson did not play for Charlotte last night so will have to wait and see if he is returned to Allen. Coach Martinson talks about feast or famine with the roster this time of year. It is definitely a famine period right now.
- Colorado lost 4-1 to Utah at home last night. It was the second loss to Utah in as many nights by the Eagles. Colorado had not lost back to back home games since the first of the year. As I contemplate the possibility of a delicious crow dinner I remind you of my wisdom from just four days ago when I said,
"Allen's overtime loss last night (Wednesday) was probably the death knell in their quest to win the Mountain Division. Colorado won again last night beating Rapid City 3-2 and now has a seven point lead. If Allen wins their remaining eight games the Eagles could go 4-2-1 in their remaining games and still win the division. That is not going to happen as Colorado has only lost two games in the last two months. The Eagles record since the end of January is 22-1-1-0."
Allen won twice at home against Tulsa and Colorado lost twice at home against Utah and just that quick the Eagles lead is down to three points and the Americans have six games remaining to just five for Colorado. Another advantage for Allen is four of their last six games are at home. Colorado is done with their home schedule and plays the last five games on the road (three in Idaho and two in Rapid City).
- The last two weeks of the season are going to be exciting not only for Allen fans who are looking to overtake Colorado but for the fans from Missouri, Alaska and Utah as they fight for the last playoff spot. The fight for the final playoff spot couldn't be much closer. Here are the Mountain Division standings with games remaining:
95 points - Colorado (5 games remaining)
92 points - Allen (6 games)
83 points - Idaho (6 games)
70 points - Alaska (7 games)
70 points - Missouri (7 games)
69 points - Utah (6 games)
58 points - Rapid City (6 games)
- If you want to see two high intensity hockey games make sure to attend the games against Missouri on Wednesday and Thursday. How fitting that these two long time rivals will have a lot to say about whether Allen can get the #1 seed and Missouri makes the playoffs. These games will be must wins for both teams.
- A couple of personal notes from last night. Through the blog and with the help of the Allen Americans I was able to distribute over 125 tickets to military veterans and their families for the game last night. If you attended the game you may have seen one of those veterans recognized. He is a friend that lives where I do at Hertiage Ranch in Fairview. He is a 93 year old World War II Army Vet who served with the 94th Infantry Division in France and Germany. He loves the game of hockey and attends several Allen games each season. Congrats Dick! I also had a chance to meet Tyler Barnes' mom and dad after the game. Fellow Minnesotans from the same Minneapolis suburb I lived in prior to moving to Texas. I know I am biased but folks from Minnesota and the entire Upper Midwest are great people.
- The Military Appreciation specialty jerseys were auctioned after the game with some of the proceeds going to the military charity "Carry the Load." Many fans noticed the Texas flag was upside down on the jerseys. Heard an unverified rumor the jerseys were ordered from a company in Oklahoma. C'MON MAN! Here are the results of the auction:
$1100 - Gary Steffes
$1000 - Chad Costello
$800 - Derek Mathers
$750 - Greger Hanson
$750 - Tyler Barnes
$750 - Alex Krushelnyski
$700 - Jamie Murray
$650 - Wade MacLeod
$600 - Dyson Stevenson
$550 - Eric Roy
$550 - Miles Liberati
$550 - Tanner Eberle
$550 - Harrison Ruopp
$500 - Riley Gill
$450 - Team Signed Jersey
$450 - Travis Brown
$450 - David Makowski
$450 - Bryan Moore
$450 - Mike Gunn
$450 - Zach Hall
$450 - Josh Brittain
$400 - Kale Kerbashain
$400 - Joel Chouinard
$400 - Spencer Asuchak
$350 - Randy Cure
$350 - Aaron Gens
$300 - Jonathan Martin
$300 - Mike Brodzinski
DID YOU KNOW: Allen has a chance to finish the season with 100 points for only the second time in franchise history. They had 106 points in 2014-15. The Americans can't beat that record but if they win their last six games they will have 104 points.