- Allen did all they could do but got no help in their quest for the top spot in the league. The Americans needed to close the goal differential gap (+14) between themselves and Toledo in case the teams ended up tied in points. Toledo also took care of business last night by going to Fort Wayne and spanking the Komets 6-1. With two games remaining Toledo has a two point advantage (102 vs 100) over Allen and a plus +12 goal differential. The odds are slim at this point as Toledo would have to lose their last two games or lose one and win in a shootout in the other for Allen to overtake them.
- The immediate task at hand for Allen is wrapping up the #1 seed in the Mountain Division. The Americans need two points in their last two games (at Tulsa on Friday & Wichita on Sunday) and it doesn't make any difference what Colorado does in their last two games. The two points can come in any manner.
- Back to the game last night. Allen did what they have been doing quite frequently recently that has led to a streak of 13-0-1-0 over the last 14 games. They scored first to make their record 38-2-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game. They have been scoring a lot of goals and the seven last night certainly qualifies. The Americans have been getting a lot of goals from the new players. Last night five of seven goals came from three players that have a combined 23 games played with Allen this season. Finally, Allen has been getting great goaltending and that was the case last night, a 29 save shutout by Riley Gill earned him the #1 star of the game. It was the seventh shutout this season for Gill and three of the seven have been against Wichita.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Wade MacLeod (6&7), Chad Costello (32), Tyler Barnes (10), Greger Hanson (35) and Mike Brodzinski (2&3). You can check out all of the goals on ECHL Rewind. Here is the link to the video highlights: http://www.echl.com/
- Here is the game recap from the Wichita Thunder: http://www.wichitathunder.com/news/press-release/allen-skates-past-wichita-7-0.html
- Here are a few post game quotes courtesy of the Allen Americans press release:
"This was one of the most complete games of the season. Our defense was great tonight. Dyson Stevenson made a great stop, putting his body on the ice to block a shot. This was a solid job by our guys."....Riley Gill
"We were flying out there tonight, we made things happen when we got the opportunity and took them out of the game early. Riley was great again. He's so solid between the pipes. You could tell early on in the game he wouldn't give up much, if any tonight.".....Wade MacLeod
"That is what we are playing for now. Obviously the more home games you can get the better so that's what we are fighting for, we have been good here at home.".....Chad Costello talking about the importance of home ice advantage in the playoffs
"We are trying to clean it up and really play playoff style hockey right now, sometimes it's hard when it's not playoff hockey but that is what we are gearing up for and we are all excited for it to start up.".....Chad Costello
- It is hard to believe Chad Costello's goal last night ended a drought of over a month. He last scored a goal on February 24 when he had a hat trick against Tulsa. With Chad goal scoring is an extra as his playing making is what makes the Americans click. By the way Costello now has 118 points and his lead in the ECHL scoring race is back up to 30 points. He has 86 assists which is more than anyone else in the league has points with the exception of Casey Pierro-Zabotel who has 88 points.
- Greger Hanson's goal last night made him Allen's all-time leading goal scorer with 98. Chad Costello and Bruce Graham are tied for second with 97.
- Here is Tom Manning's pregame interview with coach Martinson.
- Here are Steve Martinson's post game comments. He started out talking at some length about changing the Allen Americans name given the uproar that possibility has created among Allen fans.
- It wasn't Jack Gulati's idea to change our name. That is not on Jack. Here is my two cents based on reading I have done on the subject. I think the Allen Americans is a great name and we are all used to it. One of the problems we are having and the reason it took so long to sell the team is our attendance isn't big enough. We have to figure out how to get more people to come to our games. I don't know if having a broader name would help but I have been told it would with some corporate sponsors. I agree we also need more staff and dollars devoted to sales, marketing and promotions. The goal of changing the name is to try and increase awareness and raise attendance.
- It was great to see Riley Gill get his seventh shutout of the season. He really looked good tonight.
- Bryan Moore and Harrison Ruopp could play but I am resting them so they are 100% for the playoffs. Mike Brodzinski will be going back to San Jose after the weekend.
- We will have one open spot on the playoff roster with a list of San Jose players that can fill that spot if needed. We will start the playoffs with 22 players and this one open spot.
- The ECHL will announce the All-ECHL First-Team and Second Team today. I know there are 27 teams in the league and the votes get spread around but in my mind there are four players on the Americans worthy of recognition. Riley Gill is the best goalie in the league and Chad Costello is the best forward so they are locks to be recognized. Defensemen David Makowski and Joel Chouinard are also worthy of recognition. My guess is they won't both get selected because voters would be hesitant to vote for two defensemen from the same team. Makowski has by far the highest points per game average (1.23) of any defenseman and Chouinard leads the league in plus/minus (+47) and is ninth in scoring by defenseman. One thing to keep in mind is the voting for these awards took place starting the second week in March before Makowski had to sit out six games. Chouinard had to pick up the scoring slack with Roy and Makowski out, thus his eight game scoring streak. He also increased his plus/minus lead recently going +13 in the last five games. While both are deserving the timing of the voting may work to the benefit of Makowski and detriment of Chouinard. Joel is a lock to win the "Plus Performer of the Year" which will be announced on Monday. Joel is at +47 and second place is at +35.
- The Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA) selected Riley Gill as the ECHL's "Performer of the Month" for March. Here is the PHPA press release with the details: http://www.phpa.com/news/story/920
DID YOU KNOW: Riley Gill's shutout last night was his seventh this season and 18th of his ECHL career. Prior to this season Riley had never had more than three shutouts in a single regular season. He did have four shutouts in 13 games during the 2013 Kelly Cup playoffs when he was selected the playoff MVP and Reading won the Kelly Cup. His four shutouts in a single playoffs is second all-time. Riley's seven shutouts this season ties him with four others for second most shutouts in a season. Three goalies have had eight shutouts in a season. Gill's 18 career shutouts is tied for fourth in the history of the league.