The Allen Americans got swept this weekend losing to the Fort Wayne Komets yesterday 4-1 before another big crowd of 7296 at the Memorial Coliseum. It didn't bother me much at all because yesterday was consumed by the possibility of a lifelong series of disappointments being expunged by the Minnesota Vikings. I was in eighth grade when the Vikings started playing in my hometown (Bloomington) in 1961. My first job was as a vendor at Metropolitan Stadium where the Vikings played in the early days. It was actually a baseball park built for the Minneapolis Millers, a farm team of the Boston Red Sox until the Minnesota Twins arrived in 1961. When Bud Grant arrived in 1967 it was great to be a Vikings fan, with the Purple People Eaters, Fran Tarkenton, no heaters allowed on the sidelines and a lot of success. But the Vikings could never win the big one. Super Bowl losses in 1969, 1973, 1974 & 1976 and the loss to Dallas on the Drew Pearson Hail Mary in 1975 and yes there was offensive interference on that play. The Vikings were 13 point favorites over Kansas City in Super Bowl IV and lost 23-7. They lost to Miami 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII, to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6 in Super Bowl IX and to the Oakland Raiders 32-14 in Super Bowl XI. Each Super Bowl loss made things worse for Vikings fans and it was the way they lost that was the toughest to take. I know this isn't a football blog so I will not relive the many years since the 1970's the team has disappointed but this season was different. The best defense in the league just like the old days, a team of destiny that would be the first to play the Super Bowl in their home park, a 3-4 point favorite and they lay an egg and get blown out by Philadelphia 38-7. The 4-1 loss by Allen to Fort Wayne yesterday was nothing as they have won four championships in the last five years. As a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan I am still waiting for that first championship after 57 years, now that is disappointment. Thanks for letting me vent. Now back to hockey.
- Allen wrapped up their road trip to Indiana with their second loss in as many days to the Fort Wayne Komets. The game was tied 1-1 midway through the second period but the Americans gave up three unanswered goals from that point and ended up losing 4-1. Allen was out shot in all three periods for a game total of 36-18. Pretty tough to win games when you get doubled up on shots.
- There was no scoring in the first period. Jamie Schaafsma got the Komets on the scoreboard at the 7:17 mark of the second period but Allen struck back just 49 seconds later as Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored his 12th goal of the season. That would be the end of the scoring for Allen. Jeremy Brodeur took the loss for the Americans stopping 32 of 36 shots.
- Here are two stories written by Justin Cohn of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. The first one contains the video highlights of the game.
"Analyzing Komets' 4-1 victory over Allen" http://www.journalgazette.net/blog/ice-chips/20180121/analyzing-komets-4-1-victory-over-allen
"Komets complete Sweep of Americans" http://www.journalgazette.net/blog/ice-chips/20180121/komets-complete-sweep-of-americans
- Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans. Seems like everyone is frustrated with the team's performance. This may be the shortest game recap ever, even the headline, "American Close Indiana Road Trip With" https://allenamericans.com/americans-close-indiana-road-trip/
- The Americans headed back to Allen right after the game and are expected to arrive sometime late morning. Their next game is Wednesday at home against the Rapid City Rush.
- It is not very often the Americans return home from a three game road trip with no points to show for the effort. To go 0-3 on the weekend was bad enough but it was how they lost that raises concerns for all involved. They were outscored 15-7 and they were out shot 121-79. Allen was 12.5% on the power play while their opponents were 31.3%. They were outplayed in every phase of the game.
- Allen has now lost four straight games and is 2-9 over their last 11 games. They are still in fourth place in the Mountain Division but are almost as close to fifth place (5 points ) as third place (4 points).
- The next five games for Allen are at home including two against Wichita (Friday & Saturday) and two against Colorado. If they don't get things turned around on this homestand they could be fighting to stay in a playoff spot.
- One bright spot for Allen this weekend was the play of Casey Pierro-Zabotel who had at least one point in all three games. He finished the weekend with two goals, three assists and was +2. Casey leads the ECHL in scoring with 47 points.
- Gary Steffes cleared waivers yesterday and is now a free agent and eligible to sign with the Americans. They could sure use him right now. I know Gary left the Americans last week because he had some business commitments with FCA hockey. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in Allen before this upcoming homestand is over. UPDATE: Just received this message from coach Martinson, "Gary coming for Colorado (February 1&2) and the road trip (Atlanta, Florida, Jacksonville). Could use him now but he has appointments in Boston this weekend."
- With the Colorado Eagles leaving the ECHL next season for the AHL it makes you wonder what is the future of the ECHL west of the Mississippi. Over the last few years the ECHL has lost franchises in Las Vegas, Ontario, Bakersfield, Stockton, Alaska and next year Colorado. Meanwhile it looks like the ECHL will be adding their second franchise in Canada for the 2018-19 season in St. John's, New Foundland and Labrador which is a cool 3000 mile drive from Allen. Here is a story that talks about the happenings in St. John's. https://www.thetelegram.com/sports/hockey/st-johns-echl-bid-strikes-partnership-with-toronto-maple-leafs-sources-179041/
DID YOU KNOW: It will be fun to track the game between the Iserlohn Roosters and Krefeld Pinguine in the top German league (DEL) tomorrow because two former Allen Americans will be playing against each other for the first time. It is not just any two players as they happen to be the two players tied for the all time career lead in goals for the Americans with 98. Chad Costello (Iserlohn) will be headed to Krefeld to play against Greger Hanson. Chad has been in Germany all season even though he missed some games (13) early in the season with an injury. He has played in 31 games and has 25 points (8 goals 15 assists). Greger just recently arrived in Germany after starting the season in the San Diego Gulls (AHL) organization. He has played in six games and has one assist. It won't be a long commute for Chad's team to get to Krefeld as the two communities are only 65 miles a part. The arena holds 9000 for hockey. Game time is 12:30 pm CST. Chad's team should be the favorite as they are in 7th place in the 14 team league with 65 points. Greger's team is in 13th place with 50 points. However, Krefeld will be playing at home and have won three of their last five games while Iserlohn has lost three of their last five games.