The Allen Americans beat the Rapid City Rush 5-4 last night before 2055 fans at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to extend their winning streak to six games. To describe the game as a back and forth affair would be an understatement. Allen scored first just over five minutes after the opening puck drop and that is always a good sign for the Americans. They have won every game this season against Rapid City when scoring first (6 for 6) and their overall record when scoring first is 24-5-1-0.
- It is a credit to the Rush, who were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last night and are going to finish last in the division, that they work hard and never give up. Here is the scoring sequence in the game to prove the point. Allen took a 1-0 lead but Rapid City scored the next two goals to lead 2-1. Allen scored two goals in a 14 second span to take a 3-2 lead at the end of the second period which was another good sign for Allen fans since the Rush are 0-12 when trailing after the second period at home.
- Nobody bothered to tell Rapid City the game was over when they trailed 3-2 after the second intermission. The Rush tied the score 3-3 at the 2:47 mark of the third period, Spencer Asuchak put Allen ahead 4-3 on a power play goal but Rapid City answered to tie the game 4-4 with just over three minutes remaining. Allen finally took the lead for good with 74 seconds remaining in the game on a goal by J.C. Campagna, his first since joining the Americans last Friday.
- There are definitely some areas for improvement as the Americans head to Colorado to wrap up their six game road trip with two games against the Eagles this weekend. Giving up four goals is not a formula for success. Allen's record when allowing four goals this season is 4-21 but it just so happens three of the four wins have come in the last three games. Allen's old nemesis of full puck possession turnovers leading directly to goals bit them a couple of times last night.
- There was a lot more good than bad in the game and anytime you can come away with a road win in the ECHL it is a good night. Allen has now won four straight road games, their longest road streak all season by a factor of two. There were a lot of things that made the night a success for the Americans including scoring the first goal of the game, out shooting the Rush, scoring a power play goal which have been hard to come by, staying out of the penalty box and getting big contributions from the new guys. Thomas Frazee scored two goals and was credited with 12 shots on goal which was one third of Allen's total shots. J.C. Campagna scored the game winner with 74 seconds in the game and has a point in all three games he has played for Allen.
- Spencer Asuchak (goal and assist) and Alex Guptill (two assists) continued their scoring streaks which is now six games. Zach Pochiro had a goal for the third straight game and will be sad there are no more games against Rapid City this season. Zach was the leading scorer for Allen against the Rush this season (4 goals 8 assists) even though he only played in six of the eight games.
- Goal scorers for Allen were Thomas Frazee (12&13), Zach Pochiro (15), Spencer Asuchak (11), and J.C. Campagna (9). The video highlights are on ECHL Rewind: https://www.echl.com/
- Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-win-sixth-row-beat-rapid-city-5-4/
- Here is the game recap issued by the Rapid City Rush: http://www.rapidcityrush.com/news/?article_id=1003
- Tommy Daniels interviewed coach Martinson after the game. Here are some of Martinson's comments:
"I thought we had some guys that didn't play very well when we got the lead tonight. We kept getting back and that was good but we have to be smarter when we have a lead."
"The new guys played well. Frazee got a couple of goals and he has been overdue I thought. Campagna moves his feet well and has made plays and he was a little but snake bit the first couple of games so it was good to see him score."
"Right now we can't have any excuses because we need every two points we can get. You have to learn to play with the lead. We didn't support the puck very well on the breakout and we ended up with turnovers that ended up in the back of our net. I am going to have to show video to some guys to make sure they get how to play with a lead."
"We have had a lot of players out of the lineup this season with callups, injuries and suspensions." Getting some continuity and three lines that can score going down the stretch is important. We have a new player coming tomorrow and some more coming after the weekend."
"We are in control of our own destiny and that is what you want at this time of year."
"The good thing is we will get to Colorado early to get acclimated to the altitude. I think that will help for Saturday night."
- Martinson mentioned a new player will be joining the team today in Colorado. I know he has been working all week recruiting players that are just finishing their college careers. I would guess that would be where this new player is coming from. He also mentioned more players coming after the weekend. It could be new players or there might be players coming or going to AHL teams. Stay tuned.
- What has changed for the Americans during this six game win streak? After wading through all of the stats here is what I noticed. Allen is scoring more, averaging 4.5 goals per game but their shots per game have not increased. What has improved during the win streak is the shooting percentage (14.1% compared to the season average of 10.5%) and depth scoring. In the last six games 12 different players have goals and that list does not include Makowski or Chouinard who have not had a goal during the win streak.
- Special teams has also played a big part in the winning streak. Maybe the most important factor is Allen is taking fewer penalties averaging almost seven minutes fewer per game. The power play had a goal last night but has still under performed over the last six games at 12.5% (3-24) but the penalty kill has been a difference maker at 88.5% (3-26).
- The other change during the win streak is the goalie as Jake Paterson has been in goal for all six games. Jake has cooled off the last three games but came up with big saves at key times. His save percentage in his first three games was .958. In the last three games it was .880. Allen has given up four goals in their last three games and still won. When they play Colorado, the top team in the division, this weekend the Americans will have to find a way to reduce the goals allowed if they expect to win. Colorado's record this season when they score four or more goals is 27-4.
- With the win last night Allen is now just two points behind Wichita for third place in the division. They are three points ahead of fifth place Tulsa and six points ahead of sixth place Utah. The schedule for the weekend has Allen in Colorado (Saturday & Sunday), Tulsa has a home and home series with Kansas City (Friday & Saturday), Wichita is at Rapid City (Friday & Saturday) and Utah is at Manchester (Friday & Saturday) and Worcester (Sunday). Some critical games for these four teams fighting for two playoff spots.
- Fort Wayne won last night and joins the list of teams that have guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs. The others are Florida, South Carolina, Toledo and Colorado.
DID YOU KNOW: Sometimes players play well against certain teams and that has been the case with Zach Pochiro when Allen plays Rapid City. He was Allen's leading scorer (4 goals 8 assists) against the Rush this season even though he only played in six of the eight games. Zach has 31 points in 31 games this season and 12 of his points (39%) have come in his six games against the Rush. Pochiro has 16 assists this season and eight of them (50%) have been in the six games against Rapid City. Finally, Zach's plus/minus this season is +20 good for fourth on the team. He was +13 in the six games against the Rush so 65% of his plus/minus is courtesy of Rapid City.