The Allen Americans won in Tulsa last night 5-3 before a crowd of 5828 at the BOK Center. It was the fourth straight win for the Americans and the fourth straight game where they have scored five goals. It is no coincidence this four game win streak coincides with the return of Vincent Arseneau and Zach Pochiro to the lineup. They each had a goal last night and have combined for five goals and seven assists during this four game win streak.
- Allen scored the first and only goal of the first period and that always bodes well for the Americans. Their record when scoring first is now 19-4-1-0 and their record with a lead after the first period is now 17-4-1-0.
- The top line of Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Vincent Arseneau and Colby McAuley continued to be effective at both ends of the ice. This line was used by coach Martinson to shut down Colorado's top line and they did the same last night. All three had two points in the game and they weren't on the ice for any of the Tulsa goals.
- Spencer Asuchak was named the #1 star, scoring the game winner in Asuchak style, pounding in a rebound from right in front of the net.
- Allen had a 3-0 lead in the second period and looked to be coasting to a victory but to Tulsa's credit they came back to close within one goal twice (3-2 & 4-3) before Dalton Thrower scored an empty net goal with 35 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Colby McAuley (8), Zach Pochiro (10), Vincent Arseneau (13) and Spencer Asuchak (7). Here are the video highlights with all of the goals. A couple of things to look for in the highlights. Connor Reilly, who hadn't played in Allen's last five games, makes a great play on the Pochiro goal by dumping the puck in deep, intercepting the puck behind the net and making the pass to Zach. You will want to watch the Arseneau goal a few times because it is unusual to say the least. Vincent takes a shot which bounces off Tulsa goalie Jake Hildebrand and goes straight up in the air. You can see Arseneau tracking the puck and he drops his head at the perfect time to have the puck bounce off his helmet into the goal. Video highlights link: https://youtu.be/FNxq3vTQaaY
- Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-close-weekend-tulsa-5-3-win/
- When you score five goals per game as the Americans have done over this four game win streak it covers up issues that would normally be a factor. Last night Allen gave up 46 shots on goal, were 0-3 on the power play and gave up a goal on the penalty kill (1-5). When I touched base with coach Martinson after the game he gave two thoughts, "The good news is we are getting lots of offense and the bad news is we keep taking bad penalties in our offensive zone and giving up power play goals."
- The Americans made the 230 mile trek back to Allen immediate after the game last night but will turn right around tonight and leave for the east coast. They will play Atlanta on Tuesday, Florida on Friday and Saturday and then close the road trip with a Sunday afternoon game in Jacksonville. A total of about 2800 miles on the bus.
- During this four game winning streak nine different players have scored goals for Allen led by Alex Guptill with five. Zach Pochiro and Joel Chouinard each have three goals in the last four games.
- During this four game winning streak Allen has scored 20 goals on 135 shots for a shooting percentage of 14.8% which is extremely efficient. For the season the Americans shooting percentage is now 10.6%. Colorado leads the ECHL in shooting percentage at 12.0%.
- You don't win four in a row without good goaltending. Both goalies have played well during this win streak. The save percentages in the last four games have been .931, .929, .975 & .935.
- What a difference a few days make. Allen woke up Thursday morning in fifth place in the Mountain Division and outside of a playoff spot. Three days and three wins later they are now tied for third place in the division, just three points out of second place and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. While Allen was winning in Tulsa last night both Wichita and Idaho lost.
- Olivier Archambault scored the first goal of the game last night in a losing cause as Syracuse lost to Utica 4-2 at home. Archambault has two goals in five games since he joined Syracuse but just as important he has not had a minus game yet and is +3 over the five games. Per coach Martinson the report from Syracuse is not that Olivier is playing well but he is playing very well.
- Allen released defenseman Anthony Calabrese on Friday and he was claimed off waivers by the Worcester Railers.
- You may have heard about a relatively new startup company called "The Athletic" which focuses on local subscription based sports journalism. They started in Chicago in 2016 and have been expanding ever since to Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco and will launch in Dallas on February 12. They are also adding New York and Cincinnati. Here is a story from the Dallas Observer about the company and the details about who they have signed for their Dallas group. Among other things the article covers why unlimited access to ad free content for $59.99 per year is a good business model. http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-is-getting-a-new-paid-sports-journalism-site-the-athletic-10325639
- If you read the story above about The Athletic one of their goals is to write stories that appeal to specialized audiences through longer and more detailed articles. Here is one of those stories written by Scott Wheeler who is a national prospects writer and Toronto Marlies reporter for The Athletic Toronto. Scott recently spent four days with the Brampton Beast when they were on the road during some horrible weather. This is a must read for every ECHL fan. Through his words and photos Scott makes you see, feel and smell what it is like on the bus and inside the locker room. You will have even more respect for everyone that makes a living on the road in the ECHL after you read this story. Notice at the end of the story you can sign up for a free trial of The Athletic. Here is the story which has a great title, "In One: My four wild days trapped in minor-league hell with the Brampton Beast" https://theathletic.com/206515/2018/02/02/in-one-my-four-insane-days-trapped-in-minor-hockey-hell-with-the-brampton-beast/
DID YOU KNOW: Several times each year I get asked about nicknames for the players. I tend to call the players by the their first names so don't think about nicknames a lot. My impression is that hockey players aren't very creative when it comes to nicknames. In most cases all you have to do is add a "sy" to the last name or drop a few letters from the last name and then add the "sy" and you have the nickname. I did ask players during training camp what nicknames they have had in the past and what their nickname is in Allen. Here a few of the obvious ones and some you might not have heard before. Not sure of the spelling on nicknames but you will get the idea. I will save a few for a later blog post.
Mike Gunn - It has always been "Gunner"
Vincent Arseneau - Primarily "Vinny" in Allen but also "Arse" & "Arsey"
Eric Roy - It has always been "Roysy"
Spencer Asuchak - "Ass" or "Assman" and sometimes "Chucky"
Peter MacArthur - Peter had season ending surgery and isn't with the team but had the best response to past nicknames. His family called him "Poo Bear" because he loved the children's story, he was "Cotton" in college after Peter Cottontail because he could jump high but he admitted it is now just "Mac"
Stephon Williams - It has always been "Willy"
The Throwers - They have had the same nickname most of the time, "Throwsy" but that didn't work once they both signed in Allen. Older brother Dalton, who has also been called "Dalts" and "Salty" in the past got "Throwsy" and Josh who admitted to being called "Rocket" and "Joshy" in the past got a brand new nickname when he arrived in Allen, "J.T."
Casey Pierro-Zabotel - Primarily "Zabby" but also "CPZ"