Thursday, April 13, 2017

Allen Wins Playoff Opener, Gill Injured, Martinson Comments, Gulati Decides No Name Change & More

The Allen Americans defeated the Utah Grizzlies 4-3 last night in the first game of their best of seven playoff series. An enthusiastic crowd of 4341 at the Allen Event Center (AEC) watched the Americans come from behind after trailing 3-1. A sign of a good team is finding a way to win when you don't play your best and that is what happened in this game. The Americans scored first just two minutes into the game when a Bryan Moore sharp angle shot bounced off the goalie's blocker, off his back and into the net. That was the only good thing that happened in the first period as Utah outshot Allen 11-6 and scored two goals. To make matters worse Riley Gill took a puck to the throat and had to leave the game. The report after the game was Riley is okay but will be tested this morning to make sure there is no internal injury.

- After trailing 3-1 early in the second period Allen came back to win the game. It was fitting the game winner came on a power play that struggled for most of the night. After going 0-4 the power play came through on a patented Chad Costello pass through the slot to Joel Chouinard who was charging the net from the point. The back door goal was as pretty as it gets and put Allen ahead 4-3.

- Goal scorers for Allen were Bryan Moore, Tyler Barnes, Wade MacLeod and Joel Chouinard. You can watch all of the goals and plenty more in the 10 minute highlight package the Americans posted to ECHL Rewind. A couple of things to note on the highlights. The play by Costello and Chouinard is worth watching numerous times to marvel how Chad can get that pass through everyone and then the Chouinard finish. The other goal worth watching in detail is the MacLeod goal and the hard work by Josh Brittain to create the opportunity, the perfect pass from Tyler Barnes to MacLeod in the slot and of course the finish by Wade. Here is the link the ECHL Rewind: 

- Here is a recap of the game by the Allen Americans:

- Here is how the Utah Grizzlies recapped game one:


- Here is Tom Manning's pregame interview with coach Martinson:

- Here are Steve Martinson's post game comments:

- That was a scary start. We weren't very good on the goals against. We didn't make Utah have to be that good to score. We made mistakes and they capitalized on them.

- Riley Gill took a puck to the throat. We  will get it checked out in the morning and then we will know if he is going to be okay or not. Riley thinks he will be okay but we need to make sure there is no damage internally.

- If Riley is not okay I will be looking for a goalie and that person has to be an amateur the way the rules are for the playoffs.

- I don't think we played our best tonight but it is good to win when you don't play your best. There are some things we can do better when bringing the puck into the offensive zone. We will get everyone on the same page and execute better on Friday. It is easier to get everyone on the same page when you win.

 - It is good to be up 1-0 and know you can play better. It is one thing to be up 1-0 and you have played your best game, we know we have room for improvement.

- The Brittain, MacLeod, Barnes line spent one entire shift in Utah's zone and then made a great play  on the tying goal. They got the puck in deep and then Brittain came in and threw a hit, Barnes got the puck and made a great pass and MacLeod has such a great shot. That is nine goals in 14 games for MacLeod since he joined us.

- One of the smart things we did was have the goalies split time in the last regular season game on Sunday. The way the schedule was because of the makeup game we only had one day to practice and prepare for the playoffs. Jamie Murray came in after Gill got hurt and did a great job. 


- Congrats to former Allen American Matt Register who won the ECHL Defenseman of the Year award yesterday. Congrats also to David Makowski who finished second in the voting. That is quite an accomplishment for Makowski when you consider he didn't play his first game for Allen until December 7.

- Today the ECHL Goaltender of the Year will be announced and that honor should go to Riley Gill.

- I am sure by now you have heard that owner Jack Gulati announced yesterday that he has heard the fans and decided to keep the Allen Americans name. I had a chance to talk to Jack about this issue before and after he made the decision and here is my take on what happened. The Keep the Coach, Keep the Name campaign was heard loud and clear. Jack's primary goal was to re-sign Steve Martinson and he got that accomplished last week. After putting the name change to a fan vote and the overwhelming choice was to keep the Allen Americans name, Jack felt he should listen to the fans, stop the voting which was supposed to continue until June 30 and announce the name would remain the Allen Americans. Jack made that decision with the hope the support of the fans along with more resources devoted to sales and marketing will get things turned around. Jack intends to keep his part of the bargain and devote more staff and money to sales and marketing. He has hired the Marketing Department in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota to help put a marketing plan in place. He is also asking fans to help him put more butts in the seats. With everyone giving it their all over the next year it is hoped the financial picture will be much improved. If it is not, the name change issue will be revisited next year and you can be assured there will not be another fan vote. The Dallas Americans will be born, at least that is my opinion. If you are wondering what you can do to help, I will provide some ideas in a future blog post.

DID YOU KNOW: With his start last night Riley Gill tied the all time ECHL career record for playoff appearances with 80. Riley already holds the all time record for wins with 48 which is five more than any other goalie.


  1. Boy do I love playoff hockey. The game was fast paced and fun to watch.

    What is worse than a bad ref? Well, that would be two bad refs. The refs were not super bad and they pretty much let the guys play hockey. The problem was that they were not calling obvious penalties. This results in the guys stepping up and taking care of business. Hence it was getting pretty chippy out there.

    Glad to hear that Riley should be OK, that was a scary scene.

  2. As I stated on the, I'm not one for piling on the ref(s) but I expected a MUCH better performance from them. Yeah, let them play but you MUST keep order. Still do not understand how Boyle didn't get a third man in call when he jumped Krushelnyski who was tied up with a Utah player?

    Anyway, an ugly win but still a win. I expect better play from the Americans and better from the on ice officials!!

    Hey Jack, think I have a couple NEW people coming to the games to check out the Americans! ;) They count as butts, don't they?? :)

  3. Nice post thanks for sharing it with us. Knee injury is worst it gives so much of pain and its for long time until & unless you don't concern a good knee surgeon or knee specialist .