Saturday, February 10, 2018

Americans Shutout by Florida 4-0, Game Recap, Martinson's Comment, Rematch Preview, Historical Road Game Records and a Throwback Allen Video

The Allen Americans were shutout 4-0 last night by the Florida Everblades before a crowd of 4765 at the Germain Arena. If this was a measuring stick game on how Allen would fare on the road against a top team they came up woefully short.

- It is hard to know where to start because Allen was subpar in every facet of the game. Maybe the best place to start is coach Steve Martinson's only comment to me in assessing the game when I asked him for a quote for this morning's blog, "We had a day off at the beach on Wednesday and the day off continued right up until the end of the game." At least he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

- Anything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Americans as they were outplayed and out worked 5-on-5, on the power play and on the penalty kill. They were outshot badly and even when Allen managed to get the puck in the net (twice) the goals were waived off. Here goes the bad news.

- Allen was 0-8 on the power play which has been struggling despite the Americans five game point streak prior to last night. Allen has now played five games in February and their power play percentage for the month is 4.8% (1-21). Three weeks ago Allen had the #4 ranked power play in the ECHL at 20.8%. After last night the power play is now ranked #11 at 18.2%.

- Maybe the most startling stat from the game was shots on goal. It is hard to believe you could have eight power play opportunities in a game and end up with only 19 shots. In the second period alone Allen had four power plays and finished with just four shots. The Americans were outshot in every period for a game total of 33-19.

- If your power play isn't going well and 0-8 is a good definition of not going well then the penalty kill has to be outstanding. That wasn't the case last night for Allen as the worst road penalty kill in the ECHL was 50% (2-4). The Americans penalty kill has been bad for a long time and isn't improving. After last night it was ranked #27 at 73.8%, a month ago is was ranked #27 at 74.6% and two months ago is was ranked #27 at 72.1%. Allen has given up the most road power play goals in the league (28). How bad is giving up 28 goals on the road? There are five ECHL teams that have given up 28 or fewer goals when you combine all of the goals they have given up on the road and at home!

- Allen did manage to get the puck in the net twice but both times the goal was disallowed. The first was ruled to have been knocked in the net by Colby McAuley's hand and the second was put in the empty net after Allen interfered with the Florida goalie behind the net.

- When you look at the highlights you will notice the first Florida goal was scored after Jeremy Brodeur lost his stick. The last three goals were all similar with rebounds being put in a wide open net. Lot's of defensive breakdowns. Here are the video highlights from ECHL Rewind:

- Here is the game recap from the Florida Everblades:


- It is a cliche but also true that the best thing about getting whipped like what happened last night to Allen is they can do something about it in less than 24 hours with a rematch against the Everblades. Game time tonight is 30 minutes earlier with puck drop scheduled for 6:00 pm CST.

- What does Allen have to do to get things turned around? Casey Pierro-Zabotel put it this way after the loss last night, "Florida is a good team and you can't make the mistakes we did tonight if we expect to win. We didn't put enough shots on net. We need to play harder and smarter. They out worked us all night. We need to come out tomorrow and play with an edge."

- As Casey said the team needs to play harder and that should be a given. You would think playing hard would not be an issue for a team that has the culture and expectations of an Allen Americans team. You would think with two days off to rest in south Florida and being in the unusual position of fighting for a playoff spot that motivation to be the harder working team would not be an issue.

- A quick start is imperative if Allen expects to win tonight. Florida hasn't lost all season with a first or second period lead so don't expect that to change. Based on their history this season the team that scores first tonight will win the game 81% of the time. The Americans need that first goal.

- Allen has to find a way to win the special teams battle. Easier said than done but both the power play and penalty kill need to improve tonight to have any chance of winning.  

- On three of Florida's four goals last night a player was left all alone in front to easily put an uncontested rebound in an open net. Fewer rebounds and clearing out in front of the net has to be a focal point tonight.

- The referee scheduled for the game is Andrew Wilk (#24) and the linesmen are Billy Gubelman (#36) and Logan Bellgraph (#52).


- Allen continues to get help as teams in the Mountain Division for the most part are not playing well. Rapid City and Idaho have won their last two games but everyone else has been losing.  Including overtime and shootout losses Colorado and Tulsa have lost five straight and Wichita has lost four straight. Allen and Utah have lost their last two games.

- Wichita has only played 46 games while Tulsa has played 51 so best to look at the standings by winning percentage rather than points. When you do this Allen drops to fourth place. Here are the current Mountain Division standings by winning percentage.

.713 - Colorado
.625 - Idaho
.576 - Wichita
.551 - Allen
.480 - Tulsa
.449 - Utah
.383 - Rapid City

- If you are tracking the Idaho vs Colorado series they played game two of six in a row last night and Idaho won in a shootout. It took eight rounds in the shootout before either team scored. It was a good night for the goalies who stopped 15 of 16 shootout attempts before Idaho's Brady Brassart got the game winner. If you took the over bet on the 16 penalty minutes from game one congrats as you won. Last night there were 24 penalty minutes and no fights. Game three is tonight in Colorado before they head to Idaho for three more next week. Double down and bet the over again on more than 24 penalty minutes in the game tonight.

- Olivier Archambault had an assist last night but his Syracuse Crunch team lost to Hartford 4-3 in a shootout. Archambault has played six games since joining the Crunch on January 24 and has four points (2 goal 2 assists) to go along with a plus/minus of +2. With those stats wouldn't expect to see him back in Allen any time soon. Syracuse plays at home tonight against the Laval Rocket. The game will be Archambault's 19th of the season in the AHL (Syracuse & San Jose) which is the exact number of games he has played for Allen in the ECHL.

- Here is a video from the early days of the Allen Americans where athletic trainer Jason Wallace gives you a behind the scenes look at what a trainer's day is like on game day. I think this video is from the 2010-11 season. Jason was the first athletic trainer in Allen (2009-10) and went on to the Texas Stars (AHL) for the 2013-14 season. Among other players you will see a young looking Bruce Graham in this video.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen has historically been an outstanding road team. In some seasons they have earned more points on the road than at home. Not the case this season as the Americans currently have a losing road record (11-13-0-1) and if that continues it would be the first time in franchise history. They still have plenty of time to improve with 11 road games remaining but they already have more road losses (14) than any other season except 2015-16 when the road record was 19-14-1-2. Here is Allen's road record for each year since starting the franchise. The Americans will have to win eight of their remaining 11 road games to avoid having the fewest road wins in any season in team history.    

2017-18:   11-13-0-1   (11 road games remaining)
2016-17:   24-9-2-1
2015-16:   19-14-1-2
2014-15:   24-8-1-3
2013-14:   19-12-2
2012-13:   20-8-5
2011-12:   19-8-6
2010-11:   23-8-2
2009-10:   19-12-1


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