The Allen Americans managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last night losing to the Atlanta Gladiators 3-2 in a shootout. It was an emotional roller coaster ride for the Allen faithful and it was a big roller coaster that went real high and real low. Steve Martinson has coached over 1500 games and still takes losing worse than any of his players. Martinson had a one word answer when I asked him to share his thoughts after the game, "PAINFUL."
- There was no scoring in the first period which was good for the Americans since they were out shot 13-6. The first goal of the game didn't come until midway through the second period and it didn't even take a shot. The puck went in the net off the skate of Atlanta forward Colin Jacobs who is from Coppell, TX. The roller coaster took a dip at that point because Allen's record when they don't score first was 5-14-3-0. When the second period ended with a 1-0 Atlanta lead it looked even more bleak for the Americans since their record when trailing after the second period was 2-10-2-0.
- All but one second of the third period was a high on that emotional roller coaster as Allen tied the game 1-1 just 56 seconds into the period. Alex Guptill took a nifty pass from Zach Pochiro and went in all alone to score his 19th goal of the season. Here is the Guptill goal from Sporfie: https://app.sporfie.com/video-clip/-L4hz7yXK9VCqDNMp4Yt?_branch_match_id=437552802470443106
- It looked like the game was headed to overtime until Vincent Arseneau made two great plays. He intercepted a clearing pass from behind the Atlanta net and then after fanning on the first attempt buried the puck high on the glove side of the goalie. This Sporfie video captures it perfectly: https://app.sporfie.com/video-clip/-L4i5j11FVJVo0CbZsTe?_branch_match_id=437552802470443106
- Arseneau's goal came with 22 seconds left in the game and it looked like a big win for the Americans. Allen was able to put their best five defensive players on the ice and it would be no problem to kill 22 seconds, wrong! I am sure when coach Martinson breaks down the last 22 seconds there are several mistakes from the faceoff to not clearing the puck down the ice from the side boards to letting a player circle behind the net for a wrap around. When you watch the replay notice that Joel Chouinard takes a puck to the face just prior to the goal. The Americans protested the goal was scored after time had expired but it was officially ruled to be scored with .4 seconds remaining.
- Both teams had several outstanding chances to end the game in overtime. Colby McAuley had a breakaway and rang the shot of the post, Atlanta also hit the post in overtime and both goalies had some great saves.
- Allen scored in the second round of the shootout when Zach Pochiro avoided a poke check by the goalie and roofed the puck. Atlanta went first in the shootout so had to score in the third round or Allen would win the game. The Gladiators's Darby Llewellyn scored to keep Atlanta's hopes alive. It took until the sixth round for the next goal as Lindsay Sparks scored for Atlanta. Allen had the opportunity to keep the shootout going but Vincent Arseneau missed and the Gladiators secured the most unlikely of wins.
- Here are the highlights from ECHL Rewind that has all of the goals plus some misses. https://www.echl.com/
- This is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-fall-atlanta-shootout/
- Here is the game recap issued by the Atlanta Gladiators: http://www.atlantagladiators.com/news/?article_id=3916
- Allen now has the worst (tied) record in the ECHL when games go to overtime. They have been in eight games not decided in regulation time and have lost six of the eight. The Americans have one overtime win, one shootout win, four overtime losses and two shootout loses.
- Talk about bad timing, Atlanta had a crowd of 10,052 on Saturday to see the Gladiators lose 6-0 to Orlando. It was the biggest crowd in four years. Last night a sparse crowd of 1914 showed up to watch what will likely be the most unbelievable game of the season in the Gladiator's 3-2 shootout win over Allen.
- Special teams didn't play much of a factor in the Allen loss. The Americans were 0-3 on the power play and Atlanta was 0-2.
- One bright note despite the outcome of the game was Allen out shot Atlanta 24-13 in the last two periods and held the Gladiators to just 26 shots in regulation time.
- Some may take the optimistic point of view that Allen got a point and they need to move on to the games against Florida on Friday and Saturday. My guess is the eight hour bus ride to Florida overnight was not the most joyous. It may be good the team has a couple of days to get over what was probably the most disappointing loss of the season.
DID YOU KNOW: Have you ever wondered how coach Martinson decides who he sends out on shootouts. There are many different factors that can be considered. Alex Guptill went first last night and he has certainly had the hot hand so that is a consideration but I am sure other factors such as experience and how players perform in practice are also considered. The team practices shootout attempts all of the time. Being a stats guy I thought it would be a good morning to look at the shootout records for the team and individual players. Here is Allen's shootout record since they joined the ECHL followed by the individual shootout records. The player stats are career records for games played in the ECHL.
Team Shootout Record
2017-18: 3-16 (18.8%)
2016-17: 5-9 (55.6%)
2015-16: 8-34 (23.5%)
2014-15: 9-39 (23.1%)
Player ECHL Shootout Record
The king of shootouts is Mathieu Aubin who has more shootout attempts than the rest of the roster combined. Mathieu is 24-60 over his career (dating back to 2006) for a 40% conversion rate. The only other player that has more than seven shootout attempts is Casey Pierro-Zabotel who is 4-21 over his career for a 19% conversion rate.
Here are the results when looking at the last four years only and just for games played in the ECHL. The goals and attempts are in parentheses:
50% - Joel Chouinard (1-2)
50% - David Makowski (1-2)
43% - Zach Pochiro (3-7)
33% - Vincent Arseneau (1-3)
25% - Spencer Asuchak (1-4)
25% - Eric Roy (1-4)
21% - Mathieu Aubin (3-14)
9% - Casey Pierro-Zabotel (1-11)
0% - Alex Guptill (0-5)
0% - Bryan Moore (0-2)
0% - Zach Hall (0-1)