There was a lot to like in the Allen Americans 3-2 win over the Wichita Thunder last night before an announced crowd of 5007 at Intrust Bank Arena. It wasn't a good start for the Americans as they gave up the first goal of the game just 66 seconds after the opening puck drop. Bryan Moore tied the score 1-1 midway through the first period but defensive lapses allowed Wichita to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission with a goal 16 seconds before the end of the period. It didn't look good at that point for the Americans because prior to last night the Thunder were a perfect 12-0 when leading after the first period. However, Allen scored two unanswered goals, one by Alex Guptill in the second period and the other by Zach Hall in the third to come away with the victory. Here are some of the positives from the game:
- Allen won the special teams battle. The Americans were 1-3 on the power play but more importantly the #27 ranked road penalty kill unit was great killing all four Wichita power play opportunities.
- Allen shut down the Thunder offense in the last two periods with no goals allowed.
- After allowing an average of 44 shots on goal over the last eight games the Americans limited Wichita to 24 shots on goal and just one shot in the crucial third period.
- Allen won this game with depth. The top scoring forward in the ECHL (Pierro-Zabotel) and the top scoring defenseman in the ECHL (Makowski) were both held off the scoreboard but others stepped up. There were a total of seven points in the game (3 goals 4 assists) and seven different players had points. Moore (11) , Guptill (9) and Hall (2) had the goals with assists by McAuley, Reilly, Basara and Archambault.
- Stephon Williams continued the solid goalie play the Americans have been getting during their seven game point streak, stopping 22 of 24 shots for a save percentage of .917.
- Bryan Moore picked up right where he left off before his game misconduct penalty (December 22) and two game suspension. With the exception of the game on December 22, Bryan has at least one point in every game he has played in since November 19. In 10 games he has 20 points (9 goals 11 assists).
- Joel Chouinard was +1 in the game and expanded his ECHL leading plus/minus stat to +23. Joel has had just one minus game in the month of December and in the last seven games is +16.
- If you would like to check out all of the goals, some great saves and an Alex Guptill fight here is a link to ECHL Rewind: https://www.echl.com/
- Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-nip-thunder-3-2-first-back-back/
- Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder: https://www.wichitathunder.com/news/press-release/thunder-loses-second-of-the-week-vs-allen.html
ALLEN VS WICHITA GAME THREE PREVIEW
- The first two games of the four game set in 96 hours between Allen and Wichita are now in the books and with two wins coach Steve Martinson has to be pleased. Looking ahead to the game tonight (7:05 pm) another win in Wichita will put some distance between Allen and the Thunder. The Americans have shown they play well in Wichita with a record of 3-1 this season. The Thunder has only lost five games in regulation at home all season with three of them coming at the hands of Allen.
- I had the chance to touch base with coach Martinson after the game last night and he mentioned two things that will be important in the rematch tonight. He was pleased with the way the Allen depth kicked in and played a big role in the outcome of the game and expects that to continue. He also said, "We had multiple point blank scoring chances that we did not convert, we need to finish those chances tomorrow (Saturday) night."
- Look for Jeremy Brodeur to get the start in goal tonight and Miles Liberati, who sat out last night, to be in the lineup. These next two games will be the survival of the fittest when you think about the fact from the start of the game tonight in Wichita until to end of the game on Sunday the players will play a minimum of 120 minutes (two games) in less than 24 hours with a six hour bus ride thrown in for good measure.
- Allen has a lot of firepower in the lineup and if they can stay out of the penalty box they will have the advantage. They also need a better first period tonight than last night.
- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrea Barone (#15) and linesmen Trent Williams
(#0) and Michael Houle (#49).
- In action around the Mountain Division last night Utah beat Idaho 6-3. With the Idaho loss and Allen's win the Americans have moved into second place in the division. Colorado beat Rapid City 6-4 and remains seven points ahead of Allen. Here are the current Mountain Division standings with games played in parentheses:
48 points - Colorado (31 games)
41 points - Allen (30 games)
40 points - Idaho (32 games)
38 points - Wichita (30 games)
30 points - Tulsa (30 games)
30 points - Utah (31 games)
16 points - Rapid City (29 games)
- Allen is now tied with Toledo for third in the ECHL in points (41) trailing Florida (45) and Colorado (48). Allen is fourth in the league in winning percentage (.683).
- I received a lot of positive feedback about the blog post on Christmas day (http://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2017/12/a-christmas-day-thank-you-some-food-for.html) in which I talked about every player having a unique story and fans don't always know those stories. I try to bring those out when I do the in depth player profiles. I was at practice on Thursday and had the chance to meet Dalton and Josh Thrower's mom (Melanie), dad (Murray) and sister (Danae) who were in Allen for Christmas with the boys. I have said many times one of the the best parts of covering the team is getting to meet the player's friends and family. I had a great conversation with Murray and peppered him with questions about the careers of Dalton and Josh, whether they had ever played together before Allen (the answer is no) and what it was like raising two hockey playing sons. While talking about the connection between the Thrower bothers and several players on the team including Casey Pierro-Zabotel, I brought up to Murray the year (2006-07) Casey played with former Allen player Wade MacLeod in junior hockey and they each had over 100 points in less than 60 games. Casey had 51 goals and 65 assists in 55 games. When I mentioned to Murray that MacLeod came to Allen last season after having a second brain tumor removed he told me that both he and Melanie were cancer survivors. This all happened a few years ago before Dalton was drafted by Montreal and Josh started his career in major juniors in the Western Hockey League. I came home and found this video from 2012 when Dalton was playing for the Saskatoon Blades that tells the story of what the Thrower family has endured. It is a heart warming story that talks about their battle with cancer but also a serious car accident that the family was lucky enough to survive. If you have spent any time talking to Dalton and Josh you know what great young men they are and if you spend time with their parents you know where that comes from. This video from 2012 will give you a peek into the story of the Thrower family and the importance of perseverance and character. http://saskatoonblades.com/video/sportsnet-feature-dalton-thrower-saskatoon-blades
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans will have quite a tradition to hold up when they play their New Years Eve game against Wichita tomorrow at the Allen Event Center. The Americans have never lost a New Year's Eve
game in franchise history with a perfect 7-0 record. Here is the list:
2016-17 - Beat Utah at home 8-4
2015-16 - Did Not Play
2014-15 - Beat Rapid City at home 5-3
2013-14 - Beat Wichita at home 5-3
2012-13 - Beat Quad City at home 4-0
2011-12 - Beat Laredo at home 3-2
2010-11 - Beat Tulsa at home 10-1
2009-10 - Beat Wichita in Wichita 3-0