It was a great night all around for the Allen Americans last night as they beat the Wichita Thunder 4-2 before the second largest crowd (5505) of the season at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The Americans won the game, clinched a playoff spot and matched their win total from all of last season (41 wins). They even overcame the specialty jersey jinx with the win. Job well done!
- As stated in the game preview the keys to the game were a good start, win on special teams and a commitment to defensive play. Mission accomplished. Allen jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period and carried that lead into the intermission. The Americans record when scoring first is now an impressive 32-2-2-1. Allen continued their special teams dominance over the Thunder. The Americans were 2-4 on the power play and are now ranked #3 in the ECHL at 23.4%. Allen's penalty kill unit gave up no goals on seven Wichita power play opportunities. The Allen penalty kill was perfect on the weekend (0-12) and is now ranked #2 in the league at 85.1%.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Alex Schoenborn (1 & 2), Gary Steffes (18) and Zach Hall (10). There is a great highlight package put together by the Americans and posted to ECHL Rewind. Video highlights of all the goals, the fights and some great saves are included. It was an outstanding night for the games #1 star, Alex Schoenborn, who had two goals and stuck up for a teammate in a one punch fight. Don't think it will be long before Schoenborn will be headed back to San Jose. The two goals that need several looks are the Steffes goal where Chad Costello once again gets a pass through a very small space right on Gary's stick. The other great goal was the Hall goal. Tyler Barnes started the play by winning a puck battle along the boards, Miles Liberati picked up the puck, carried it into the offensive zone and made a super pass to Zach Hall who was streaking toward the net. Here is the link to the highlights: http://www.echl.com/
- Here is the recap of the game from the Wichita Thunder: http://www.wichitathunder.com/news/press-release/third-period-haunts-thunder-in-loss-at-allen.html
- Here is the pregame interview with Tom Manning and coach Martinson:
- The players will get the day off today and return to practice on Monday. Alex Krushelnyski will practice on Monday for the first time since being loaned to Allen. The team will leave Tuesday afternoon for Missouri to take on the Mavericks Wednesday night. They then return home for games against Tulsa on Friday and Saturday.
- Jack Gulati met with season ticket holders prior to the game and took numerous questions and comments from the group. The top of the list was the importance of retaining coach Martinson and Jack assured everyone that he heard their concerns and will be working on resigning Martinson. Jack also talked about expanding the sales and service staff to better accommodate the needs of season ticket holders and also put more "butts in the seats." There was a lot of discussion about how to improve sales through marketing and promotions and Jack welcomed input from anyone that had an idea. Suggestions ranged from improving the website to promoting ticket sales with youth hockey programs to improving name identification of the Allen Americans in the community. It was clear to everyone that interacted with Jack Gulati this weekend that he is a different kind of owner who feels strongly about engaging with fans on an ongoing basis.
|Jack Gulati addressing season ticket holders|
- Allen made the playoffs for the eighth straight year with the win last night but that was barely a blip on the radar screen since the Americans' goals are so much higher than making the playoff. It is interesting that Allen has already matched their 41 wins from last season with nine games remaining to play. The Americans need two more points to equal the 89 points they finished with last season.
- The three teams at the top of the Mountain Division standings all won last night and the four at the bottom all lost. Alaska, Utah and Missouri are all fighting for the final playoff spot but keep losing. Here are the standings with games left in parentheses:
91 points - Colorado (9 games remaining)
87 points - Allen (9 games)
79 points - Idaho (9 games)
70 points - Alaska (9 games)
65 points - Utah (9 games)
64 points - Missouri (10 games)
54 points - Rapid City (9 games)
- The San Jose Barracuda also clinched a playoff spot last night with a 3-1 win over Stockton. All three affiliated teams (Sharks, Barracuda, Americans) could make deep playoff runs.
- Here are the results of the specialty jersey auction from last night:
$1000 - Riley Gill
$950 - Gary Steffes
$900 - Greger Hanson
$900 - Dyson Stevenson
$850 - Chad Costello
$850 - Jamie Murray
$800 - Spencer Asuchak
$750 - Wade MacLeod
$700 - Derek Mathers
$700 - Mike Gunn
$650 - Tyler Barnes
$650 - David Makowski
$650 - Bryan Moore
$650 - Alex Schoenborn
$600 - Harrison Ruopp
$600 - Joel Chouinard
$600 - Zach Hall
$600 - Tanner Eberle
$550 - Aaron Gens
$550 - Kale Kerbashian
$550 - Miles Liberati
$500 - Eric Roy
$400 - Randy Cure
$400 - Jonathan Martin
$400 - Mike Brodzinski
$350 - Travis Brown
- My favorites from the game last night. All photos in the blog are courtesy of Dianne Webster.
|Close call for Stevenson|
|Zach Hall points to Miles Liberati for the great pass on Hall's goal|
|The symmetry of the fall is intriguing|
|Great overhead shot|
DID YOU KNOW: In the history of the Allen Americans franchise there have been five goalies that have had more than one assist in a season. Here is the list of most assists by a goalie in a season:
5 - Bryan Pitton (2013-14)
4 - Riley Gill (2014-15)
2 - Joel Rumpel (2015-16)
2 - Marco Cousineau (2011-12)
2 - Chris Whitley (2010-11)