Not sure where to start in describing the Allen Americans 3-2 overtime loss to Missouri last night before a crowd of 4432 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. It was a strange game to say the least, let me count the ways.
- Allen trailed 2-0 in the first period and came back to tie the game before losing in overtime.
- Allen's only two goals were scored shorthanded. In the blog yesterday I talked about how the penalty kill unit was underappreciated and had been almost flawless over the last ten games with a penalty kill percentage of 93.9%. Last night they killed off all seven Missouri power plays including a five minute major to David Makowski that carried over to overtime. To top it off they contributed two shorthanded goals. The penalty kill unit has not allowed a goal in the last five games (0-27) and in the last 11 games are 3-56 for a penalty kill percentage of 94.6%.
- Allen out shot Missouri 35-28 but lost the game. In the last four wins by Allen over the Mavericks the Americans have been out shot. In eight of the 11 games these teams have played this season the team with the most shots has lost the game.
- At the beginning of overtime Allen killed the remaining 2:16 of the five minute major penalty to Makowski. Then they let a player that started the season in the SPHL and had two goals all year skate the length of the ice and score the game winner.
- Allen was assessed 11 penalties for 41 minutes, Missouri four for eight minutes. It was the most penalties (tied) the Americans had been assessed against Missouri in the 11 games this season. The Mavericks four penalties were the fewest (tied) they had been assessed against Allen. Allen was 0-2 on the power play while Missouri was 0-7.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Wade MacLeod (3) and Joel Chouinard (10). Both goals were shorthanded but scored in very different ways. MacLeod's goal was unassisted as he picked up an errant pass at the defensive blue line, skated the length of the ice and beat the goalie from the faceoff circle. Chouinard's shorty included three great plays. Gary Steffes stole the puck in the defensive zone and passed it to Dyson Stevenson who carried up the left side. Dyson took a look over his shoulder and saw Chouniard trailing the play and made a perfect spin around pass and Joel made a great shot high over the goalies glove. Outstanding plays by all three guys on that shorthanded goal. As I write this (4:30 am) Missouri has not posted the video highlights of the game which is par for the course. Maybe the highlights will be posted to ECHL Rewind later today.
- Here is the recap of the game from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-earn-a-point-in-overtime-loss/
- Here is the press release from the Missouri Mavericks recapping the game: http://www.missourimavericks.com/news/index.html?article_id=824
- The team headed back to Allen right after the game (475 miles) and arrived home early this morning. They will play Tulsa on Friday and Saturday.
- Allen's overtime loss last night 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.
- The first three seeds in the Mountain Division are not mathematically decided but the are realistically decided. Colorado is the #1 seed and will take on either Alaska, Missouri or Utah in the first round. It was a big win for Missouri over Allen last night as they kept their playoff hopes alive. The Mavericks trail Alaska by four points with nine games remaining.
- In the other division semi-final, #2 seed Allen will take on #3 seed Idaho. Allen is seven points behind Colorado and nine points ahead of Idaho so they will be the #2 seed. Idaho is nine points behind Allen and nine points ahead of Alaska so they are all locked in as the #3 seed.
- So Allen fans can get ready for a first round playoff rematch with the Idaho Steelheads. And it won't be an easy task. Many observers thought Idaho was as good as any team the Americans faced in the playoffs last season. Idaho is affiliated with the Dallas Stars (NHL) and Texas Stars (AHL) and neither team will make the playoffs. That means Idaho will be supplied with all of the AHL talent they want. Just yesterday three players off the Texas Stars roster were assigned to Idaho (goalie Landon Bow, defenseman Justin Hache, and center Mike McMurtry). Would assume they will remain in Idaho for the stretch run and the playoffs. Bow is a rookie goalie that has split time between the Texas Stars and Idaho. He has played 22 games with the Steelheads with a record of 15-5, GAA of 2.24 and save percentage of .929. Hache has 150 AHL games and McMurty 39 AHL games.
- Late in the third period last night David Makowski was given a game misconduct penalty for abuse of officials and if you watch the replay of the incident it is clear he put his hands on the linesman once he entered the penalty box for a boarding penalty. You can see David's arm reach out and make contact with the linesman. The rule cited by the referee (40.4) is titled Automatic Suspension - Category III and talks about a player physically demeaning or threatening an official and applying physical force. The penalty for this infraction is not less than a three game suspension. The entire process includes a verbal and written report to the league by the referee, the possibility to request a Commissioner review, an expedited hearing process and a final decision by the Commissioner. The Americans should hear this morning about the suspension and will then decide if they want to request a Commissioner's review.
- So the Americans are destined to finish second in the division but that is no reason for concern for the playoffs. Allen won the championship in 2014 after finishing third during the regular season and last year they finished second in the regular season on the way to the Kelly Cup.
DID YOU KNOW: Special teams are critical in the playoffs and one way to measure specials teams is by adding power play and penalty kill percentages together. The magic number teams strive for is greater than 105% combined. Typically around 10% of NHL teams exceed 105% and it is considered exceptional. Here are the four ECHL teams with a combined power play and penalty kill percentage of greater than 105%. Wouldn't be a bad bet to take these four teams against the field for the Kelly Cup.
110.0% - Toledo Walleye
109.8% - Colorado Eagles
108.6% - Allen Americans
106.0% - Idaho Steelheads